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bag or mulch?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GLS, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. GLS

    GLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,174

    I know many of you will tell me that bagging is a waste of time/money, but other than that, does mulching make the lawn look better than bagging, or is bagging better? I know mulching is supposed to put nutrients etc. back into the soil. So bottom line: what looks better, mulched or bagged?
  2. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    99% of my clients request there lawns to be caught... we have a few that are cut without catchers, but overall appearance i would say bagged is better.
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    It depends on many factors including overall health of the lawn, fertilizing and irrigation. In general a lawn needs around 4# of nitrogen per year. Bagging reduces the available nitrogen to a lawn. If the lawn is mulched correctly then you should see no evidence of clippings. The lawn should be cut as needed and not mulched when there is excess top growth. When you see clumps its generally a bad thing.
    Heat is the big helper in mulching as the heat decomposes the clippings if they are in manageable size.

    Bagging does make the lawn look good. I do both and charge a premium to bag and remove. Usually its the people with the pools or the real old folks who have it in mind that it just has to be bagged.
    With proper fert and irrigation both can be managed profitably.
  4. MowJo

    MowJo LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 70

    If the conditions are right a mulched lawn can look just as nice as a bagged lawn.

    I have a Walker with 2 decks (the 48" catcher & the 62" side discharge).

    Many of my customers are high end residential who like their grass caught. What I discovered is that the 62" (with a mulch kit) mulches well enough that they can't tell a difference! Another cool thing is that the Walker has a permanent grass hopper and most customers just assume I'm catching! Sure sometimes I'll double cut a spot to disperse the clipping better, but the time & energy I save by not catching grass is a huge advantage.

    Anybody wanna buy a 48" deck!:D
  5. sheppard

    sheppard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 542

    I seriously looked at Walkers for a while- especially after I demo'd one on my worst yard. It looked fantastic. Problem was I read so much that mulching was by far better, long-term, for any yard.

    Here is something I do regularly on lawns that reguire and extra good look. I start a path down the middle of the lot and mulch to the outside of the lawn. At the end of the property I turn around and go back on myself and mulch to the other side(next to) the strip I just cut. Toward the end it is a bit non-effecient to make the 'cut acrosses' but any seepedge from under the deck is remulched this way. Man does it look good.

    Maybe everyone already does this. I thought of it a while back and decided to look for a post to toss this application out for consideration.

    Salter Lawn Care, Inc.

    BRIAN GALLO LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    If the lawn is kept nice and you can cut it often, mulching looks fine. However if the lawn is thick, wet or high, I think side disharging is the way to go. If you're not messy with it, side discharge looks every bit as good as bagged because you get a lot of lift which stands the grass up, mulching tends to flatten the look of the grass.
  7. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    All we do is mulch. If you keep your blades sharp, your decks clean, and stay away from extremely wet grass, mulching looks just as good as bagging. Most people could not tell the difference between a good mulch job and a bagged job. The downside is that in the Spring, it is often neccesary to double cut lawns to make them look their best. But it still saves time and money not to have to bag and remove the clippings. In extreme cases I will run over clumps with a 21" bagger. Thats only it very tall wet grass.
  8. I/we bag zero (0) lawns.

    With the ocasional little bit of thatch laying on top, just run over that area again and whala gone. Some times the deck has to be raise up a 1/2", but bagging has no real suggnifagant advantage over using commercial mowers on lawns.

    Now if it was a home howner using a craftsmen or snapper comet, the it would be a whole different story.
  9. keifer

    keifer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 320

    I think the bag looks better but does need more fert and TLC if it is bagged 100%.
  10. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    It depends on your mower and if you are using a real mulching kit. I run mulch kits on my eXmarks. On bermuda and zoysia, it looks just like it was bagged. No brag, just fact. Its unbelievable the way they mulch. 100% clean lawn after 1 time over.

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