5- Mulching vs bagging; what’s the best method?

Let’s start by going through the options and explain a bit how each method works and the benefits of each.


Side Discharge:
Side discharge is the simplest way to cut your grass and requires less care and attention than mulching or bagging. This method consists of cutting the grass and letting the mower deck shoot the grass clippings from the discharge chute found on the right hand side of the mower deck. It does the job and does it quickly; however there are some disadvantages do this method. To start, if the grass is too long, the clippings will lie on top of your lawn, dry up and yellow. This is usually not very esthetically pleasing. The second disadvantage to side discharging is that the mower deck shoots the clippings at a very high speed and at a fair distance. This can cause some trouble around buildings and fences as the clippings shoot up against the structure, creating a build up on the ground next to it. If windows are involved, they can get dirty or damaged by the discharged content of the mower. If the grass is cut regularly and caution is used around buildings, structures and flower beds, side discharging is the fastest way to cut your grass.


Contrarily to a side discharging mower deck, a mulching deck holds the grass clippings around the mower blade longer to repeatedly cut them into smaller pieces. The fine clippings then fall to the ground and disappear within the lawn. This method is an excellent way of naturally fertilizing your lawn, as the fine clippings will decompose, hold moisture and supply nutrients for the live grass. It also does a cleaner job than a side discharging deck as the clippings are smaller and fall to the ground rather than accumulate on top. This method does take a bit more care however. After years of mulching, an excessive amount of mulched grass can accumulate on the ground. At that point, it will have to be dethatched (removed with a piece of equipment that attached to the lawn tractor). This method also required frequent cutting. If the grass gets too long, clumps of grass clippings will form and fall to the ground. (It’s usually not a great look)


Bagging is the cleanest method of them all yet requires the most time and equipment. In order to bag, a bagging system must be installed on your John Deere lawn tractor. This system consists of a chute, a hopper and bags that hold the grass clippings. The mower blades will cut the grass and shoot them into the chute, which is connected to the right side of the mower deck. The chute then directs the grass clippings into the bags behind the driver of the tractor. Once the bags are full, they must be emptied. The main benefit to this method is its cleanliness. It almost looks as though your lawn has been vacuumed. A good bagging system, such as John Deere’s Power-Flow bagger will even pick up leaves in the fall.
Now which method is the best? Really, it comes down to personal preference. Some people alternate between methods and some stick to the easiest solution for them. A good quality John Deere lawn tractor can offer all three cutting methods in a single machine with just a few attachments. In the end, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
For more information on John Deere lawn tractors, click on the link bellow.



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