There are multiple ways to mulch grass and leaves, including bagging, side discharge or even composting. But which method is best for your lawn? Here’s how you can find out.

Mulching is a process in which the entire plant or grass clippings are mixed into the soil. Bagging is when you cut off the top of the grass and then let it dry out before putting it back into your yard. Side discharge is when you put all of your grass clippings on one side of your lawn, and then spread fertilizer on that side. Which method is best? Read more in detail here: can i use mulching blades with side discharge.

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To various individuals, lawn maintenance implies different things. For some, it’s just a matter of keeping the grass at a reasonable length. For others, it is upgrading the general appearance of their yard and customizing it to their specifications.

What to deal with grass clippings is a regular topic of discussion. The best technique to deal with them is a point of contention. Should you get rid of them? Is it necessary to mulch them?

You have the option of mulching, bagging, or side-draining your lawn clippings. Understanding the influence on the appearance and general health of your grass, however, is critical.


So, let’s take a closer look at the three options for dealing with grass clippings. This will assist you in determining how to effectively treat them and how they will influence the overall appearance of the grass.

The Advantages of Bagging

Bagging is a fantastic strategy to use if you have tall grass. This is especially true if you’re dealing with extremely huge weeds. You won’t have to worry about grass cuttings or weeds if you use a bag.

When freshly cut grass dries, it may stand out from the rest of the yard. It seems to be acceptable at times. Sometimes it simply appears like a clump of dead grass on your newly mowed yard. Looking at it might be aggravating.

By bagging it, you may also get rid of any sticks, weeds, leaves, or other debris. In most circumstances, you may just run over these objects with your lawnmower and let them fly into the bag.

So, if you’re searching for a quick approach to get rid of any garbage or anything you don’t want on your lawn, the bag is definitely the best option.

The nicest thing about the bag is how simple it is to use. Most mowers now come with a bag attached to the side or back of the machine.

As you mow, grass clippings fly up and into the bag, ensuring the cleanest cut possible.

You may also take that full bag and dump it into your compost pile for later use if you’re composting (more on that later). Overall, the bag makes things a lot easier.

The Negative Effects of Bagging

The only disadvantage of utilizing a bagger is that you must empty it. If you’re fortunate, your town will provide you with a container to dispose of grass clippings and other yard waste. The only thing left to do is dump the bagger into the container.

However, in most situations, you’ll have to empty the grass clippings from your mower’s bagger into a rubbish bag. Doing it yourself is usually good, but it does leave the chance of spilling grass clippings, which may be really aggravating.

Even yet, if you merely want to get rid of those grass clippings after you’re through, bagging is a guaranteed option. You’ll be able to admire your yard’s work without having to look at dead grass clippings all over the place.

Advantages of Side Discharge

Before modern lawn mowers, things were like this for a long time. This dates back to before the invention of powered lawn mowers. Simply mow the lawn and let the grass clippings fall where they may.

However, side discharge isn’t as prevalent as it once was. This is due to the previously stated grass clippings issue.

More and more people want their lawn to have a precise appearance, and grass clippings thrown about do not help them achieve that.

Professionals, on the other hand, will employ the side cut procedure unless a home client explicitly requests otherwise. This is due to the fact that they get greater strength and a higher overall cut quality.

Not only that, but they won’t have to deal with grass clippings or accumulation around the blades.


Because the blades will be elevated high and the speed will be increased, you will receive a superior overall cut quality. This implies that during cutting, the blades are blasting out the grass clippings, allowing the blades to move freely.

That bagger may be useful for your little piece of land, but owing to the suction of grass clippings, you won’t obtain as much power. That is why, instead of using a standard push mower with a bagger, homeowners with huge plots of land prefer a riding mower.

You may receive more electricity and an easier overall cut even if you’re a homeowner. The side discharge eliminates the need to deal with a full bag (which may rapidly fill up after a rain) or dispose of clippings.

Most importantly, you may have a continuous mowing. There’s no need to stop and empty the bagger. That means you can finish your mowing quickly and go on with the rest of your day.

The Negative Effects of Side Discharge

There’s no other way to describe it: side discharge is a shambles. When you’re finished, there’s the obvious problem of clippings flying all over the place. Dead, cut grass has a unique appearance that contrasts with newly cut, green grass.

This may result in an aesthetic that you don’t like. Not only that, but clippings may splatter on your driveway, walkways, paths, and any other concrete surfaces you want to keep clean.

There’s also the risk of making a mess all over yourself. All of the grass is kicked out when your mower side discharges. It may stick to your shoes and jeans as you walk through it, coloring them green as a consequence.

If you’re going to use a side discharge mower, wear clothing and shoes you don’t mind getting soiled.

Mulching’s Advantages

Mulching is quickly becoming a popular method of repurposing grass clippings for the benefit of your lawn. The grass clippings may really be used to improve your yard.

When given the opportunity to decay and break down, they will actually feed your grass.

You may achieve a lot lusher, greener looking lawn by giving your grass a little additional boost in terms of feeding and fertilizers. If you compost, you can even use grass clippings as a fertilizer.

Grass cuttings have a lot more uses than you would think. The best part is that you may reuse those clippings instead of worrying about how to dispose of them. That might be considered a win in and of itself.

Mulching’s Negative Effects

Mulching efficiently necessitates the use of specialized blades. That implies you won’t be able to mulch with just any mower. Or, at the very least, you could mulch, but doing so with a mower that isn’t suited to do so may be tough.

Mulching also need the right circumstances. You will have a problem if the grass is too long since the mower will have to work hard to crush it down into smaller, more manageable bits.

You won’t get the same degree of nutrients out of grass clippings if they’re crushed down too much.

Keep in mind that the state of your lawn might also have a factor. Mulching isn’t really an option to begin with if your grass has a lot of dead areas and is in overall poor condition. Before you can start mulching, you’ll need to worry about planting and restoring the grass to a healthy state.

Mulching also takes a significant amount of labor. Not only should you bag up the dead grass clippings, but you should also sprinkle them over your yard. This may be a lot more work than just disposing of your lawn clippings in the first place.

Modern mowers, on the other hand, feature a mulching mode. This is the best choice to go with if you can afford a new mower and are dead set on mulching.

However, as most of us do not have such mowers, alternative options must be considered.

Last Thoughts

In the end, it all comes down to how much attention you give your grass.

If you just need a fast cut, the side discharge approach is probably the best option. It won’t look as tidy as bagging, but it will take a lot less time and work.

Mulching may be the way to go if you want to give your lawn a new lease of life and get more vibrancy out of it. It takes a lot more time and effort than bagging, but it can make a big difference in the appearance of your lawn.

A mulching mower is a type of mower that chops up the grass and leaves it on the ground as mulch, which helps to conserve water and fertilize the soil. A regular mower simply cuts grass with blades at an angle. Side discharge is when you cut down your lawn and leave clippings on the ground. Reference: mulching mower vs regular.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to bag or mulch?

A: I recommend bagging to maintain a healthy compost pile.

Is mulching grass better than bagging?

A: Mulching is more efficient, but bagging can be more convenient.

Can you mulch with side discharge?

A: It is possible to mulch with a side discharge, but it will be more difficult. If you were to use the side discharge setting on your mower, make sure that there are no objects in the way of the grass like trees and fences.

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