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How to collect grass clippings after mowing

by Jackson White

So you are done mowing your lawn space, but you are now facing another question – do you leave the grass clippings all over the lawn, or do you collect them for further disposal? If you collect them, how do you even do it?

Believe it or not, grass clippings are good news for your lawn – and you should not always be collecting them, at least not most of the time. In particular, using a mulching lawnmower will cut the clippings to a very small size, which allows them to fall between the blades and act as natural fertilizers as they go through the decomposition process.

Grass clippings have a variety of nutritional benefits to the soil and plants, as they provide phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen – the most abundant nutrient though is the nitrogen. When you leave them on the ground, this will save you the cost of purchasing commercial fertilizers, especially the NPK ones.

Collecting the grass clippings can prove to be to a useful decision, especially if you want to reduce the thatch buildup on your lawn. There are several ways to do this, which are raking, bagging, collecting, and using a lawn sweeper.

When should I remove the grass clippings?

Sometimes, leaving the clippings behind is not the best choice for the lawn, and you will need to collect the clippings. Some instances of that include:

When the buildup of organic matter is too much

When you allow the grass to grow tall, and then you mow it low, this will leave excessive amounts of clippings behind – and it is even worse when the lawn is wet, like in the rainy season. The clippings will tend to clump together, which results in unattractive matting throughout your lawn, and you must rake these mats up. When you leave the matting to occur, they will eventually smother the soil, which starves it of nutrients and kills any plants and soil life in it.

When you are dealing with lawn diseases

If a disease has infested your lawn, then the clippings will prove to be a worthwhile source of spreading it out, as well as spreading the disease-carrying organisms and pests. Collecting these clippings will curb the spread of disease, and allow you to treat it at the source.

How to collect clippings

Bagging

This is the easiest method of collecting the clippings, and can work with almost any lawnmower that has a bagging capability – all you need to do is use the rear bagger.

The mower blade will cut the clippings, and then collect them in the bagger. You can then empty the clippings into a compost pile, a lawn refuse bag, or another appropriate place as you see fit.

Raking

If your lawnmower does not come with bagging abilities, then you will need to deal with the clippings it leaves on the lawn. Raking is the best chance to do this, as all you need is a rake of high quality that will pick up the clippings but not damage the lawn itself.

You can use it to pile up the clippings, and then pick them up using your hands or the rake after you are done.

Using a lawn sweeper

A lawn sweeper is another useful gardening tool, and you can think of it as a manual push mower type that lacks the ability to cut the grass – only to collect the clippings. You can push a lawn sweeper to pick up any debris, and it is as easy as the raking process. It can handle any debris, including leaves and grass clippings. A lawn sweeper will also include a bagger, which is attached to it, and you will empty this bagger when it is full.

In addition to the manual lawn sweeper, there are some models that you can attach to a lawn tractor, and the tractor pulls them as they pick up the debris.

Making multiple lawnmower passes

If the idea of collecting your clippings does not appeal to you, you can always use the mower to make several passes along the lawn. Each pass will continue cutting the clippings into smaller pieces, until at the point when you cannot notice them anymore. However, this method is time consuming and tiring, as it depends on the number of clippings you have on the ground.

What are the different ways to collect grass clippings?

Method
When you should use it
Bagging (using a mower)
The most versatile method, as you only need to make one or two passes with the mower. Most useful when you mow on dry ground.
Raking
An alternative to bagging if the mower does not have bagging abilities. Use a high quality rake to do so.
Lawn sweeping
Useful when you do not want to mow the grass again, although it can be expensive at times because of the equipment involved – especially if your lawn is very large.
Making multiple passes
When the clippings are not too much to deal with. It can be tiring and labor-intensive, so avoid it if the clippings are too many or too long.

 

Conclusion

Keeping your lawn in top shape involves dealing with grass clippings sustainably – and you will also need to know when and how you should pick the clippings rather than leaving them on the lawn.

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