Lest we forget

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    In fact, grass clippings contain valuable nutrients that can generate up to 25 percent of your lawn's total fertilizer needs. A hundred pounds of grass clippings can generate and recycle as much as three to four pounds of nitrogen, one-half to one pound of phosphorus, and two to three pounds of potassium back to the lawn. These are the three most important nutrients needed by lawns and commonly supplied in lawn fertilizers. The other good news is that grass clippings do not contribute to thatch (an organic debris layer between the soil and live grass) since grass clippings are 75-85 percent water and decompose readily.

    This comes from: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1191.html

    While we are focussing so much on inputs I thought it might not hurt, to remember some of the advantages of an active soil. :)
    This is one. I believe there were others...
  2. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,227

    Thanks for the info :waving:
  3. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,162

    Good post . I think mulching is probably the best thing we can do in a natural program. The three to five percent N from grass clippings is from dry clipping weight. Just having effective mulching mowers goes a long way in itself to improving turfgrass quality before we even start talking about other inputs. I have spent hundreds of hours working with mulching blades-decks deck pitch etc. and have come up with what I think is great mower configurations for mulching cool season grass. When you have customers telling you that their lawn has never looked better and you are competing in a area where it is status quo to bag, I think that this is a substantial achievement. Mulch on!
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Do you think many of the mulching mowers are fairly equal?
    What should we be looking for in a properly pitched mulching blade?
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,162


    The deck is pitched, IMO zero pitch is best for mulching.
  6. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,734

    I have been pushing my customers to mulch instead of bagging. Less work for them, returning nutrients and OM to the soil, etc... For the homeowner that mows himself, what mulching blade would you recommend. Just curious because I have many customers that ask for this advice.
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    I would suggest a mulching blade made for that specific mower by the manufacturer, or a gator blade.

    just my .02

    What other suggestions do people have?
  8. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,734

    Thanks JD. I think there is another called Ninja. I figure the makers of these "aftermarket" blades probably manufacture them for a broad range of mower types. I just have no experience with them and I thought someone with experience might know which was best. I let my clippings fly out of the chute on my personal lawn.
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I may get blasted for this, but I personally think "mulching mowers" are over rated. They fall into the laziness of our society. If you follow the rule of thumb that dictates NEVER removing more than 1/3 of the plant in a single mowing pass, I don't believe you get that much benefit from chopping the clippings that much more. If a residential lawn is kept at 3" for mowing height (actually, 3" turf doesn't look that bad if it is healthy and thick, just don't need to find a golf ball in it!) you just have to mow before it gets to 4.5" tall. That isn't that hard to do unless your in a climate where spring rains can prevent you from making the scheduled mowing. Then, you raise the mowers and make an extra trip back by in a day or two when you lower the mower back down. Many LCO's want to buck this step. They say its "to much work". You should be getting paid by the trip. If you missed a trip for rain, you owe the customer a mowing.

    All that being said, if mulching is your desire, we have great luck with gator blades. I wish they made gators for my JD rough mower.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Do you mean in the sense of slicing and dicing the grass blades, extra times before it hit the ground, isn't that much extra benefit?
    I don't like mulchin myself, I typically side shoot. I believe it disappears into the grass and starts digesting just as quickly.

    Bagging on the other hand is just removing everything the plant put into growing that grass. Even at 80% water that is still a lot of dry matter per week. I have 2 lawns that fill up the full sized pickup bed every week. Each!!
    One I can use to mix in the mulch pile, the other is a Chemlawn special, so I seldom take anything there for personal use. Except to suffocate the weeds around my horseshoe pit.

Share This Page