Mulching vs. Bagging Grass Clippings: Which Is Best For My Idaho Lawn?

If you have a lawn, it needs regular mowing. And the clippings have to go somewhere.

Bagging clippings involves collecting the cut grass and either putting it in a compost bin or disposing of it in an approved yard waste container.

Or you can decide to mulch the clippings instead. Mulching means the grass clippings remain in the yard, where they decompose over time.

Mulching vs. bagging grass clippings: which is best? Here in Idaho, we need both methods.

Let's take a look.

The Case For Grass Mulching

Many experts say grass mulching is the best method. Leaving the clippings will save you time and energy, and it will return valuable nutrients to the lawn.

Lawns love to be fed, and grass clippings contain the same beneficial nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrients as fertilizer. In fact, clippings can provide as much as one-third of the annual feeding requirement for your lawn.

How Does Grass Mulching Work?

Grass clippings left on your lawn decompose. As the clippings break down, they add nutrients to the soil. Nitrogen, especially, increases with a mulched lawn. You’ll need fewer chemical fertilizers when the mulched grass clippings are left in place.

The Time Factor

Mulching the grass clippings saves time — especially if you have a large lawn.

When you bag your clippings, you have to repeatedly stop and empty the bag, load the clippings and haul them to a compost pile or out to the curb.

What about Bagging Grass?

Some homeowners feel that bagging the lawn creates a cleaner appearance and better curb appeal because no clumps of grass are visible.

If you tend to mow less frequently and your clippings are long, it’s best to bag them. Large clumps of grass left sitting on your lawn can rot, killing the live grass underneath it.

Grass bagging technician

Successful mulching requires that the grass is chopped into little pieces. So either mow often, cutting only a third of the grass blades, or bag your clippings.

Watch Out For Lawn Fungus

If you see signs of lawn disease, bag your clippings — don't mulch them. You don't want the disease to spread.

A Couple Grass Mulching Tips

If you decide to mulch your grass, keep your mower blade sharp and mow regularly so your clippings don’t get too long.

And avoid mowing when the grass is wet. Wet grass tends to clump more easily.

Why Lawns Need Mulching and Bagging

Here in Idaho, mulching lawn clippings works in the hottest summer months. But in other seasons, we don’t have the high temperatures and humidity needed to break down the grass clippings between mowings.

technician caring for lawn

In some cases, such as parks or recreation fields, it makes economic sense to mulch grass clippings year round.

But in a residential setting, the excess grass clippings can be a nuisance, sticking to your shoes or bare feet, staining your kids’ clothes and getting tracked into the house.

Bagging these clippings keeps everything neater.

Another Grass Mulching vs. Bagging Issue: Thatch

When grass clippings hang around on your lawn, unable to break down, a thick layer of dead grass, called thatch, builds up and blocks the flow of important oxygen and nutrients to your lawn. The grass will begin to get thinner.

Aeration helps by increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the root system. But the best defense in cooler seasons is to bag those clippings.

Trust Your Lawn To Outback Landscape in Idaho

At Outback Landscape, we’d love to answer any questions you have about mulching vs. bagging grass clippings.

In addition to mowing, we offer a full list of lawn and landscape services to keep your lawn healthy and looking great, including aeration; disease and pest control; fertilization; seeding; soil amendments and weeding.

Is your lawn ready for a new best friend?

In 2019, Outback Landscape Inc. acquired Idaho Falls based lawn care company, Lawn Buddies

Hundred of homeowners in Eastern Idaho have been counting on Lawn Buddies to provide reliable lawn care services since 2001. Think of it as a new friendly face with the same level of service you've come to expect from Outback Landscape.

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