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To bag or mulch... a different perspective

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by hoagie, May 25, 2002.

  1. hoagie

    hoagie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    I read alot of people preaching "mulching is better for the lawn, bagging is a waste of time" blah, blah, BLAH!

    I beg to differ... not only because it looks a hell of alot better, and I don't care if you quintuple cut w/ 4 blades on each spindle... unless you are mowing bone dry grass w/ an inch of growth, you CAN tell which one was bagged. Thats not the point though! I think it's almost pure lazyness.

    "It takes too long to bag". You can charge more! Yippie!!

    "Mulching is better for the lawn"

    Does the grass know the difference between ammonium sulfate, sulfur coated urea, or it's own clippings? Obviously not, or we wouldn't have companies like TG/CL. You don't see them spraying fresh clippings saying "it's better for the lawns you see".

    Bottom line: Mulching is better for the home-owners wallet and easier for their lawn service!!

    What is the whole idea behind "mulching better for the lawn"?
    Because you don't have to use as much "exogenous" nitrogen, so to speak? ****! If you're the one doing the fert... why not bag? It puts more $$ in your own damn pockets. Plus, half these people still juice up their lawns even if you leave clippings to decomp! Leaving the lawn to look like **** and build up a massive layer of thatch in no time because no one can possibly schedule their cuts to coincide w/ the infamous 1/3rd rule. OOPS, I forgot, you mulch... so that makes lignan decompose much faster... right.

    Why bag? Hmm... there's broadleaf and grassy sead heads all over the place.... lemme just return them to the turf so they can germ real quick and double by next cut!! Although, I may have just put my foot in my mouth... that would give all you full service fert guys more work, so... forget that. Spread the skank-weed.

    Sure, there's the whole issue of dumping and all that... but then again, composting has become a multi-billion $ industry, although all the herbicides don't help much, but thats another discussion- home owners blindly spraying chemical all over the country, yet I go to jail and get fined up the A** for putting down a little dimension.?

    Better yet... if clippings are so good for the lawn, why not charge the client for a bagged cut... then retain the clippings and spread them on your own lawn. Hmm, maybe start a natural fert company?
  2. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    Ummm, ok. Bag away.

    So I'm to understand if I don't bag my lawns they look like "****"? I sure hope my customers don't find out.

    Let me ask this, can you tell if this grass was bagged or mulched?

    PS: If you keep the weeds out of your lawn there are no worries about spreading any weed seeds.

    golf ball.jpg
  3. Have fun bagging buddy!! LMAO

    No way will I ever bag lawns. NEVER!!

    Thatch not on tall fescue, unless TGCL does it.

    I can't tell if a lawn has been bagged or dischrged, so how can you?

    I am with Ray here.
  4. Hey Ray, that lawn in the pic has to be bagged, cause I can't see any clipping.

    Yeah right.:rolleyes: Like you even have a bagger.
  5. hoagie

    hoagie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    I knew this thread would get some attention.

    Kirby, never did I say your customers lawns will look like **** if you don't bag... nor did I say that bagging was fun.

    First of all, how can I tell the difference? I come from 6yrs of side discharging in NY to the last 3 of bagging everything here. AND, I do have a 52 sd w/ a mulching kit, along side a 48 ghs deck for my walker, and do a few stripes alongside each other and you can certainly tell quite a difference. Stripes are very crisp and more reflective, not as hazy(best way to describe it)

    BUT LIKE I SAID, if you're cutting bone dry grass, w/ not a whole hell of alot of growth, no difference. Around here 90% of the high end are irrigated + lawn juice... which equals whole lotta growth.

    LGF, if you have never bagged, and never will, how do you know that you cannot tell the difference? From the street... it may be tough for the untrained eye. And from a pic like that? Please!

    You're missing my point fellas... on this site, everybody rags on people about bagging, and the only argument is that it's healthier for the turf. I'm not posting this to attack you mulchers... mulch away, have fun buddy.

    In my local area (wealthy burbs of Boston) if you don't bag, you cut the ca ca lawns. I pull in serious $$ for bagging, but mention it here and get flamed.
  6. I have bagged, to much time and labor involved.

    You can keep it.

    I cut not bone dry lawns and cannot see anything different.

    Bagging is slower less productive than dischrging.

    So this looks hazy?

    pic 2.jpg
  7. I can't do either one except for a little bit of bagging.
    Where's side discharge, rear discharge, discharge with double blades in these discussions?
    Are they all grouped in with mulching?
    Doesn't "mulching" mean no discharge? The clippings are kept inside until they're dust?
    Somebody help me out here.

  8. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    Not to argue but the general statement was "only because it looks a hell of alot better" (I assume better than mulching), and "Leaving the lawn to look like **** and build up a massive layer of thatch in no time". I read it as ****, if the **** didn't mean **** the I'm sorry. The lawn in the photo has always been mulched and has never been dethatched, like to see a photos of the thatch layer?

    If you are making serious $$$ for bagging who gives a **** or is that **** what I or anyone else thinks. I don't bash the people who bag, I just don't do it, and I have found no good reason to do it except for look as you say and weed seed removal (if that's your problem).

    I'll pass. What works here may not work there.
  9. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I can't stay out. First off ;

    "I think it's almost pure lazyness"

    was in the second paragraph of your initial post.
    So when you write;"I pull in serious $$ for bagging, but mention it here and get flamed". You can begin to see why people may be a little irritated.

    I have owned a Walker for 5 years now and I cut some estate lawns as well as small 5K lawns. I currently own a 42GHS deck and a 52 SD with doubles. I am also a licensed applicator in my state. A couple of years ago when I really became interested in lawns I used to bag and remove aprox 200 bushels per week. ( I was a 1 man operation WITHOUT a dump truck) I have more customers now and I still have the Walker and I now bag and remove about 5 bushels. Granted I do have 2 customers who have on site compost piles so in total I bag aprox 15 to 20 bushels.
    All other customers agree that it is OK to let em fly and I have yet to have one complaint. The lawns are healthier and the total fertilizer use is down but the bottom line is up.

    This is a business and it involves pleasing the customer but I am the professional in the business, not the customer. You have to sell what you are doing and know what you are selling.

    I have a customer that has a 15K sq ft lawn that wanted it bagged. For 2 years I would dread mowing there because TG/CL would bomb it in the spring and I would be there to pick up the mess.
    I had a Walker with a single tail wheel at the time and it made some turn ruts in some shaded poor quality areas of the grass and the homeowner mentioned this. My solution was to ask if it was OK to use my Toro WB and side discharge. They gave me the go ahead and I have never picked up another clipping on that lawn. I now have the Walker (dual tail wheels) set up to side discharge w/52 and I am in and out of there in 35 minutes. BTW the rate stayed the same and then increased the following year. The lawn looks great.

    The main push for me to drastically reduce bagging was when our city limited the hours of the FREE lawn waste dump site. It used to be open all day every day. That translated into a free dump site for whatever anyone had in the truck. I explained that if I had to bag and remove, I have to charge more. Not one complaint and still no complaints.

    Weed seed removal is not an issue in a healthy lawn. Weed seeds move by means other than being returned in the form of clippings. Most don't even germinate and others fly in from other sources. There are 1000's of weed seeds per 1 sq ft of soil. 99.9% of them never emerge thru a lawn.

    You discount the fact that composting and dumping are another issue as well as herbicide use by homeowners. These are big issues. Some areas charge to dump, as a business owner, you have to consider the total cost of removal. Vehicle, fuel, time, and fees all add up.

    I am not all against bagging and believe it has its place but it isn't the solution to every lawn. Its my business in my area of the country and this is what we do here.

    Just some friendly advice for you; In the future you may consider the facts of a discussion rather than a slap in the face to get the
    members to respond without you feeling like you are being attacked. There are over 7000 members here and I know there are lots of knowledgeable people that have many more years of experience than many of us here. I certainly wouldn't call them lazy to try and get their attention. Unless you want some negative attention in return . Good Luck.
  10. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    This guy has some suppressed rage he needs to work thru, BEFORE he gets on LS and takes it out on us.
    That is what we have customers for, is to stress us out without taking it from another LCO.

    But I say hey if this guy wants to do all the extra work of bagging, and then unloading the truck every night, let him have it. I for one have gotten a taste of mulching this year and will kick and fight if I ever have to go back to ALL bagging again. Maybe in a wet spring I might have to, but not this year.

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