Garden friends keep asking themselves: mulching or catching? Should they chop up the grass clippings and spread them over the area, or should they be disposed of on the compost? The answer to this question is tending towards mulching because it offers numerous advantages.
Table of Contents
- What does mulching mean?
- So you mulch properly
- Mulch or mow the lawn?
- Which material is suitable for mulching?
- When should you mulch?
- How often do you have to mulch?
- Mulching saves time
- Why is it useful to mulch the lawn?
- Which devices are suitable for mulching?
- Frequently asked Questions
What does mulching mean?
When mulching, the lawn is covered with a layer of non-rotted organic material. For this, the vegetable residues that are obtained when cutting the grass are used. The shredded blades of grass remain on the mown surface and fall on the top layer of soil over time. Here they are decomposed by microorganisms, beetles and earthworms so that humus is created.
With a mulching mower, you can do two steps in one step. The device shreds the blades of grass and then spreads them over the surface.
So you mulch properly
To properly mulch the lawn requires regularity in addition to the appropriate preparation. If you consider the sequence of measures within a season, you can enjoy a lush green lawn throughout the growing season.
Preparation for mulching
Wait for the lawn to slowly wake up from hibernation. The blades of grass should be seven to eight centimeters in length by the time you mow it. If you do this too soon, you will endanger the health of the lawn. The stalks can easily be damaged and no longer grow healthy.
You shouldn’t wait too long with the first mowing either, because then the mower will no longer come through the lawn, even at the maximum adjustable cutting height. The period between March and April is ideal for the first mowing. The clippings are disposed of so that the lawn gets enough light.
Scarify and fertilize
You can scarify the mowed lawn so that it grows faster. This will remove weeds and thatch so that the turf will be better ventilated. Sprinkle some fertilizer on the lawn to cover the nutritional needs of the freshly growing plants. If necessary, you can add lime to the lawn if the pH is no longer in the optimal range.
Spread every two to three years:
- 200 grams on sandy soils
- 400 grams on loamy soils
- 150 grams on acidic soils
As soon as the blades of grass have again reached a length of between six and eight centimeters, you can drive on the lawn with a mulching mower. Then adjust the cutting knife so that the plants are reduced by a third of their height. If your lawn is six centimeters high, you should shorten it to three to four centimeters.
Never cut the grass shorter than three centimeters.
The mulched lawn also has to be watered every now and then. However, the lawn sprinkler should only be switched on once a week so that the mulch layer does not get too wet. If there is no rain for a long time, so that the soil dries out slowly, you should water the lawn two to three times a week depending on the intensity of the heatwave. To ensure that the soil is properly moistened, you should let the sprinkler run for at least half an hour.
Mulching later in the year
After the first mulching in the year, the grass should have grown back to a certain height before the next maintenance measure is carried out. The location plays an important role in this. The more sun shines on the lawn, the lower the blades of grass can be before cutting again. As a rule of thumb, an optimal height of six centimeters applies to heavily sunbathed areas. The blades of grass should have grown about eight centimeters high on shady lawns.
Mulch or mow the lawn?
Some hobby gardeners swear by mulching. Other nature lovers stick to the lawn and will never try mulching. There is no general answer as to which method is more suitable. The question of yes or no depends on the respective location and the nature of the soil. The lawn itself also decides whether mulching or mowing is more suitable.
While mulching is proving increasingly positive for the vitality of the lawn, mowing with a normal lawnmower has to assert itself against numerous disadvantages more and more frequently. When mowing the lawn, the clippings are collected in a collecting basket and composted. This removes valuable nutrients from the area, which later has to be supplied by expensive fertilizers. If you do not regularly fertilize, the grass can no longer develop magnificently. The turf becomes patchy and unwanted mosses and plants spread across the area.
These are the advantages of mowing:
- The time required: larger mowing interval when doing without mulching
- Appearance: Lawn appears clean and well-kept
- Suitability: only mow heavy and sandy soils, not mulch
- Natural fertilizer: grass clippings can be composted
Which material is suitable for mulching?
For the lawn, the lawn cut is ideal for mulching due to its nature and ingredients. If leaves have accumulated on the surface, you do not necessarily have to remove them. When mowing with a suitable device, the plant parts are cut up with the lawn cut and distributed over the area. This combination improves the nutrient balance in the soil. Falling branches and pieces of bark and straw are not suitable for mulching lawns.
|straw||dried leaves||Bark, branches and twigs||grass clippings|
|degree of decomposition||medium||high||low||high|
Be careful when picking up leaves from the street. The leaves can contain toxic heavy metals that accumulate in your lawn.
When should you mulch?
The lawn is mulched for the first time in spring. It is important that the blades of grass have reached a certain length so that they do not damage the plants unnecessarily and can sprout them again. The weather is also important. Choose a cloudy but dry day to work the lawn. This will save the plant’s stress from heat.
Why a wet lawn is not mulched:
- the clippings clump together when it rains
- Putrefaction processes can arise
- Lawn becomes bald
- Reseeding is necessary
How often do you have to mulch?
After the first mulching, regular maintenance measures are required. If you mow and mulch the surface at irregular intervals, too many clippings remain on the surface. Lumps of grass can quickly form, which in some places negatively affect the growth of the plants. It is, therefore, necessary to mulch the lawn at least 21 times in spring, summer and autumn of the year. The ideal interval between the care measures is seven to eight days.