Lawn care can be a dreaded task for many homeowners. The old saying "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" may take on new meaning as conscientious owners try valiantly to make their yards greener and more attractive to keep up with the neighborhood. Mulch kits can turn your ordinary lawn mower into a mulching machine, helping your lawn stay healthy, green and lush.
What Are Mulch Kits?
A mulching kit is basically a way to convert your tractor or push lawn mower into a mulcher. By changing the mower's standard blades into mulching blades, the mulch kit essentially recycles the lawn clippings as you mow, spreading them back onto the yard with each pass. This eliminates the need to rake, collect and bag your leftover lawn clippings.
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Mulch kits are available in models that are suitable for both riding or tractor-style mowers as well as standard push mowers.
Benefits of Mulch
Mulch helps your lawn retain the necessary moisture that keeps it healthy and strong. It's usually preferable to bag your clippings since those clippings can be turned into useful fertilizer to keep your grass uniformly strong and healthy.
The combination of simultaneous mowing and mulching saves time and effort in unnecessarily overtreating these tasks as separate processes. The mulch kit essentially chops and re-chops the grass blade cuttings into even-finer particles that can barely be seen. Your lawn stays clean and trimmed in appearance while still reaping the nourishing benefits of mulch.
Mulching also helps you save time when mowing because you're skipping the step of bagging the clippings. Because there's no bag to stop and empty out periodically, homeowners with large lawns will especially appreciate the efficiency of this method. What's more, you'll save money by reducing your reliance on fertilizers.
How Mulch Kits Work
Normally, your lawn mower's deck (the part of the mower that covers the blades) is equipped with a side chute that expels the mown grass clippings back out onto the lawn or into an attached bag.
The mulch kit changes this slightly by altering the standard blades to operate as a mulcher. In essence, the mulch blades chop the grass clippings up into much smaller pieces than the standard blades. These smaller pieces decompose faster than larger clippings would. This helps release nutrients back into the soil, nourishing your grass into a healthier state.
Mulch kits include a set of blades, a plug and the requisite hardware for attaching the kit to your mower. The blades pull the grass into the mower's deck and chop the grass into finer particles. The plug closes the mower's discharge opening. This confines the clippings under the deck instead of being expelled outward as they usually are.
Kits can be purchased for a variety of mowers, both standard and tractor style, for a variety of deck sizes, from 42 to 54 inches.
Mulching Kits Versus Mulching Mowers
The main advantage of a mulch kit over a mower specifically designed to perform the mulching function is flexibility. You can always remove the mulch kit hardware if you need to revert back to your original configuration and operation for whatever reason.
Of course, the other key advantage is cost. If you already have a standard mower that doesn't need to be replaced, it's much less expensive to purchase a compatible mulch kit for it than to buy a brand new lawn mower.
However, once the kit is attached, most users don't report any significant difference or performance deficits over a mulching mower.
Mulching Versus Bagging
Mulching isn't advisable if your grass has grown too long. For example, if it's been several weeks since the last time you cut your lawn, mowing your grass may easily result in cutting more than one-third of the blade's total length. In that case, you'll want to bag the clippings instead of using a mulcher. Larger clumps of long clippings are unsightly but, more importantly, will also smother your lawn unless they're distributed evenly over the entire lawn.