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How Do Mulching Mowers Work, and What Makes Them Different?

How Do Mulching Mowers Work, and What Makes Them Different?

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If you have a backyard with a lawn, you know all too well how satisfying a neatly trimmed turf is. However, you also know the hassle of mowing your lawn to make it look good.

You may have heard of mulching mowers and how convenient they are for moving a lawn. This may have you asking, how do mulching mowers work? And how are they different from regular mowers?

Mulching mowers have blades that cut the grass multiple times to produce small clippings. Instead of bagging the clippings, a mulching mower deposits them back onto the lawn.

Read on to learn more about how mulching mowers work and the benefits you can get from using them.

What Is the Difference Between Mulching Mowers and Regular Mowers?

Mulching mowers are similar to regular mowers in a lot of ways. Both types need to be elevated above the grass so it remains upright as the mower’s blades slice through it.

The difference lies in how each type of mower deals with grass. Regular mowers cut through each blade of grass only once. In contrast, mulching mowers cut each blade of grass several times. As a result, the clippings from a mulching mower are much smaller.

Another difference is that mulching mowers don’t direct the clippings into a bag to be disposed of. Instead, they circulate the small grass clippings back into your lawn.

Advantages of Mulching Mowers

You may wonder why people use mulching mowers instead of regular mowers. The answer lies in the benefits that mulching mowers give.

Here are some of them:

They Give You a Healthier Lawn

When mowing your lawn, the objective is to have neat and healthy turf. Mulching mowers help you reach this goal when they return the grass clippings back to your lawn.

By doing so, they spread dead grass and leaves over the soil. When this organic matter mixes with the soil, it makes the soil richer with nutrients.

In essence, the clippings from your mulching mower act as fertilizer for your lawn, which makes for healthier, more pest and disease-resistant grass.

They Preserve Your Soil’s Moisture

Another advantage of using a mulching mower is that it keeps your soil moist.

The clippings produced by mulching mowers and discharged back into the lawn slow down the rate of moisture evaporation from the soil. This effect prevents the soil from drying up during spring and summer.

Mulching mowers are also beneficial during the colder months; the layer of mulch shelters the soil from frost, which preserves your lawn’s health.

They’re More Cost and Time-Efficient

People also use mulching mowers because they save time and money. Mulch mowing is less of a hassle because it doesn’t require you to frequently stop mowing and empty the disposal bag. This added convenience is a major trigger for using mulching mowers.

Additionally, the aforementioned added nutrients that mulch provides to the soil mean that you don’t have to buy fertilizers that often.

Once the mulch settles into the soil, it provides a significant boost of nitrogen for your lawn.

How Do Mulching Mower Blades Work?

While regular mower blades are known as 2-in-1 blades, mulching blades are often referred to as 3-in-1 blades. The name comes from the trio of functions they serve: bagging, discharging, and mulching grass clippings.

They’re able to do these things thanks to their curvature and sharper cutting edges. This structure allows mulching mower blades to slice through grass and then suck it into the mower. Next, the clippings are cut further multiple times and discharged back onto the lawn.

We recommend using mulching blades if you mow your lawn twice a week.

Do Mulching Kits Work?

A mulching kit is an attachment you can install on your regular mower to convert it to a mulching mower. It includes one or two mulching blades that can cut grass multiple times and produce smaller clippings.

Since mulching kits are relatively inexpensive, they provide excellent value for money because they save you the hassle of bagging and disposing of grass clippings.

In addition to the time it saves, a mulching kit also lets you benefit from the reduced fertilizer costs mentioned earlier.

However, there are cases in which using a mulching kit can be counterproductive, such as:

When Grass Is Wet

During rainy times, your lawn’s soil may not be able to absorb the excess water. This results in the grass getting too wet. If you try to use a mulching kit on grass that’s in this condition, you won’t like the result.

The mulching blade will get jammed with wet clumps of grass clippings, and this will clog up your mower. You’ll end up having to put mowing on hold and clean your mower before you can continue.

When Grass Is Too Long

Sure, a mulching blade cuts grass multiple times to make the clippings small, but there’s a limit to this ability.

If it’s been a while since you’ve mowed your lawn and the grass has gotten very long, we advise against using a mulching blade on it.

This is because the resulting clippings will be too big and make your lawn look unpleasant.

Do Zero-Turn Mowers Mulch?

Most standard zero-turn mowers don’t come with mulching capabilities. However, you can purchase mulching blades separately and install them as an add-on.

By doing so, you can benefit from the advantages of mulching, such as improved nutrition for your grass, and saving time and money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mulching bad for the environment?

Using a mulching mower to produce your own mulch is harmless to the environment.

However, you should avoid buying commercial mulches, such as shredded cypress. The companies that produce it damage massive amounts of cypress plants annually to produce it.

Does mulching have disadvantages?

Although mulching can have many benefits for your lawn, doing it excessively or incorrectly can harm your plants.

Excessive mulching can bury and suffocate your plants. It also provides pests with shelter and a place to hide.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering how mulching mowers work, the answer is that they’re very similar to regular mowers. However, there’s one major difference.

Regular mowers slice through blades of grass once and deposit the clippings in a disposal bag. On the other hand, mulching mowers cut each blade of grass several times and discharge the small clippings back onto the lawn.

These clippings mix with the soil and become excellent fertilizing material for your lawn.

In closing, we recommend using mulching mowers on all occasions, with a couple of exceptions. Don’t use a mulching mower when your grass is too long or too wet.


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