What is a Mulching Lawn Mower?

Lori Kilchermann

A mulching lawn mower is a machine that mows grass without leaving large clippings behind. The design of the mulching lawn mower utilizes a special type of blade that chews and cuts the lawn clippings into a very fine mulch, which is simply deposited back into the lawn. The result is a cleaner lawn as well as healthy grass due to the continual application of mulch at every mowing.

Almost any riding lawnmower can be turned into a mulching machine.
Almost any riding lawnmower can be turned into a mulching machine.

The typical mulching lawn mower does not have a discharge chute. Instead of discharging the clippings, the blade whips the clippings into the air to be repeatedly cut by the spinning blade. In kits which turn a regular lawn mower into a mulching lawn mower, a block-off plate is included to cover the discharge chute. Some models include a catch bag that uses a discharge chute to direct the mulch into a collection bag, which can then be emptied in the location of the user's choice.

Lawn scraps can be used as compost.
Lawn scraps can be used as compost.

With growing concern over the use of chemicals and man-made fertilizer on the average lawn, the mulching lawn mower fills a need for an eco-friendly lawn maintenance machine. By turning grass clippings and leaves into mulch, the average lawn can become self-sufficient and healthy. The homeowner is able to better manage the care of the lawn by deciding when to cut the grass and when to allow it to grow.

For lawns with an abundance of trees, the mulching lawn mower is able to turn the falling leaves into a fine mulch that can be easily vacuumed and placed in a compost pile or container. This saves valuable time over raking the leaves into a pile. With more and more US cities cutting back on funding for programs such as leaf collection, the mulching lawn mower can be a valuable tool for the homeowner.

Many people with allergies prefer to use a mulching lawn mower, as the mulching action prevents the mower from discharging pollens into the atmosphere. This self-containing action allows the operator to breathe cleaner air as he mows. Dust is drastically reduced by the enclosed mowing deck and noise is reduced by containing the whirling sound of the mower blades.

The cost of a mulching lawn mower is comparable to a non-mulching mower. Also, conversion kits are available to turn almost any push or riding mower into a mulching machine. Often, the cost of a new mulching mower can be less than the price spent on yard care services, making the move to mulching a money-saving idea.

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