Mulching Lawn Mower Guide

Maximising Lawn Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Mulching Lawn Mowers

Mulching Mowers – Grass Benefits

Mulching transforms lawn maintenance by finely chopping grass clippings with a specialised mulching mower or a conventional mower equipped with a mulching plug, then scattering them back onto the lawn. This approach eliminates the need for collecting and disposing of clippings, providing a time-efficient, eco-friendly solution. As the clippings naturally break down, they release nitrogen and essential nutrients into the soil, organically fertilising your lawn. Given that grass is 80% water, the decomposed clippings also contribute to your lawn’s moisture levels. Consequently, a mulched lawn is not only healthier and greener but also thicker and more resilient to drought.

Introduction to Mulching

Lawn mowers that Mulch

What exactly is mulching, and why should you consider it when choosing a lawn mower? Mulching mowers, which finely chop and redistribute grass clippings back onto the lawn, are gaining popularity in the UK due to their eco-friendly and lawn-enhancing benefits.

The UK’s unique weather patterns, with frequent rain and damp conditions, play a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of mulching. Despite recent dry spells, preparing your lawn for variable weather is essential, and a mulching mower can be instrumental in maintaining a lush, healthy garden.

I’ll explain how mulching mowers can transform your lawn care routine, ensuring your grass thrives in any British weather.

In light of the increased desire to become more environmentally friendly by using organic methods in our gardens, and the way in which mulching can help you achieve this, I have written this article that I hope will help you decide if mulching your lawn is a feature worth considering when purchasing your next mower.

In this blog post I will cover topics based on mulching questions, I am frequently asked, specific to conditions and mowers available here in the UK. In summary, I will cover the following:-

  • What is Mulching?
  • How Do Mulching Mowers Work?
  • Is Mulching Good for The Lawn and Why?
  • When Should I Mulch My Lawn (And When Not To)?
  • Are Mulching Mowers Good for The Lawn?
  • Do I Have to Cut More Often with a Mulching Mower?
  • Are There Any Downsides to Mulching?
  • What Are the Best Mulching Lawn Mowers – What Are the Options?
  • Multi Purpose Mowers or Dedicated Mulching Mowers?
  • What Is A Mulching Kit and Can I Add One to My Mower?
  • Who Are Mulching Mowers Best For (And Who Are Not)?
  • Common Myths About Mulching Lawn Mowers
  • Pro and Cons of Mulching & Mulching Mowers
  • Best Mulching Mowers
  • Mulching FAQs

What is Mulching?

Mulching is a method of cutting your lawn without collecting the grass clippings but allowing them to return to the soil where they will quickly decompose. This method returns valuable nutrients (i.e. nitrogen) and moisture into the soil and promotes a more healthy, greener and more dense lawn. You will need either a mower with a mulching option (more on this later) or a dedicated mulching mower. I will cover both these options later in this article.

What is Mulching?

Mulching may not always be appropriate and I will cover why this is later, but if you do mulch your lawn you will gain the following benefits:-

  • Healthier, greener and more dense lawn
  • Reduces thatch and moss
  • Helps to prevent weeds and lawn disease
  • Less likely to dry out in hotter periods
  • Saves time emptying the collection bag (up to 30% quicker)
  • Environmentally friendly – uses less fertiliser, water and reduces landfill waste

With all these benefits why would anyone not mulch the lawn? This is why interest in mulching has become a hot topic over the last couple of years and the demand for mowers that mulch is steadily increasing.

Before you rush out to purchase a mower that mulches, there are a few things you need to consider as mulching may not always be the best option. Continue reading to learn more about mulching and some of the issues and circumstances when cutting-and-collecting the cuttings may be a better option. It’s my opinion that having a mower that can mulch and also cut-and-collect is the best option here in the UK due to the wetter weather conditions (you can then choose what is best depending on your circumstances). That’s not to say that a dedicated mulching mower does not have its advantages and a role to play. I will discuss more about the types of mulching mower options later in this article.

So now you know what mulching is and the benefits it offers, let’s take a quick look at how it works.

Understanding the Role of a Mulching Plug in Lawn Care

A mulching plug is an essential accessory for converting a standard lawn mower into a mulching mower. It is a simple, yet effective device that is inserted into the discharge chute of the mower, blocking the exit path for grass clippings. With the mulching plug in place, clippings are kept within the mower’s deck, allowing the blades to cut and recut them into finer pieces. These tiny, mulched clippings are then dispersed evenly across the lawn, decomposing quickly to act as a natural fertilizer, enriching the soil with nutrients and helping to retain moisture. The mulching plug is an invaluable tool for those seeking a healthier lawn and a more environmentally friendly mowing practice.

Mulching Blades: The Key to Efficient Lawn Nutrition and Waste Reduction

A mulching blade, often referred to as a 3-in-1 blade, is a specially designed lawn mower blade that serves multiple purposes: bagging, discharging, and mulching grass clippings. Unlike standard blades, mulching blades feature a more curved style and additional cutting edges. This design allows the blade to create a circulating airflow, which lifts the grass clippings and cuts them multiple times. As a result, the clippings are finely chopped and then dropped back onto the lawn as a fine mulch. This mulch decomposes quickly, providing the soil with valuable nutrients and helping to maintain moisture levels. Mulching blades are an excellent choice for eco-conscious gardeners looking to promote a lush, healthy lawn while reducing waste and the need for additional fertilisers.

How Do Mulching Mowers Work?

As the name would imply, a mower that has the ability to mulch is optimal for mulching your lawn. It is built in such a way as to allow grass clippings to filter back into the base of the turf, instead of collecting them in a grass collection box. The best mulching mowers will cut the grass more finely and push it back into the soil more effectively. This allows you to maintain a continuous mulch cycle and completely organic lawn care maintenance regime which, as we’ll see, is highly beneficial for your lawn.

Why Mulch?

When using a traditional cut-and-collect mower, the grass is cut once and forced through the grass collection chute into the collection bag. Now, imagine the chute is blocked using a mulching plug and the cuttings are spinning around and around in the deck of the mower. This cycle continues until the grass cuttings are so small they are pushed out from the bottom of the mower and deep down into the lawn. That’s basically it! A mulching mower is like a big kitchen blender chopping the grass cuttings into increasingly smaller pieces. Why is this important? The smaller the cuttings, the quicker they will decompose down releasing the nutrients and moisture into the lawn. Having small cuttings also ensures that they are able to find their way deeper into the lawn and are not picked up on shoes or bare feet and transferred to paths and into the house.

Remember, the longer the grass the more work the mower has to do to cut the clippings into smaller pieces. Therefore, always follow the “one third” rule. Only ever cut one third off the length of your lawn to ensure your mulching mower is not given too much to do and starts to clog up and push clumps of grass cuttings into the lawn, as with all lawn mowers regardless whether you are mulching or not. Not letting your lawn grow too long and following a frequent cutting programme is always a good idea when mulching any lawn. It is worth noting that even if you are cutting and collecting, this rule will also apply in order to maintain a healthy lawn.  

The goal of mulching is to improve soil quality. It is able to do this in many ways, ranging from keeping the soil cool to adding nutrients back into the soil, retaining moisture during hotter periods and keeping it fertile and healthy during wetter periods, the latter of which is obviously quite important for UK lawn owners.

Take a look at the video below to see how mulching works.

Are Mulching Mowers Any Good?

The simple answer is yes! For decades golf clubs have been cutting the fairways and greens without collecting the grass cuttings. This is the same method as mulching your lawn. We would all love a lawn that looks as good as a golf course green, so what better recommendation for mulching than this?

Mulching Explained

Obtaining a green lush lawn can be time consuming and costly. Many gardeners have given up and have outsourced the task to a lawn maintenance company who will periodically treat their lawn with chemicals. This is not ideal as it’s expensive, not environmentally friendly and it’s still down to you to cut the lawn regularly.

Mulching allows you to cut your lawn as normal (but saving time collecting and emptying the grass cuttings) whilst organically fertilising (feeding) and protecting your lawn from dry periods, moss, thatch, pests and disease.

The small particles of grass are forced deep down into your lawn where they decompose within a short period of time and release nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate. These nutrients are then transferred into the soil via micro-organisms organically fertilising your lawn without you having to use expensive lawn services or costly synthetic fertilisers. Mulching is also pet and child friendly unlike synthetic fertilisers.

A blade of grass is 80% water, so this moisture is also released into the soil providing much needed water reserves during the drier and hotter periods of the summer.

There are myths suggesting that mulching can cause thatch or moss in your lawn; this is simply not true. More information about this can be seen below in the “Common myths about mulching” section.

So yes, there is no disputing it, mulching is extremely good for the health and condition of your lawn.

When Should I Mulch My Lawn in the UK (And When Not To)?

Knowing when it is the right time to mulch your lawn is important. We need to remember what we have learnt about mulching so far to know when it is the best time to mulch. As I said above a mulching mower is like a big kitchen blender and needs the grass cuttings to fly around the deck to cut them smaller and smaller.


Mulching RainIf the lawn is wet or very damp, the mulching mower, and any mower for that matter, will start to clog up and will NOT be able to freely disperse the cuttings resulting in clumps of grass being deposited on the lawn (not good). In this situation it would be best to let the grass dry out for a day or two, or simply cut and collect the cuttings on this occasion.

This is the main reason I believe a mower that can both cut-and-collect and mulch is a better option for gardeners here in the UK. You will have the ability to adjust your cutting method based on the weather conditions.

Mulching is best carried out when the lawn is relatively short and dry. This means you will need to follow a regular mowing schedule as you are only ever going to cut one third of the grass at any one time (more about how often you need to mulch later). If you let your lawn grow longer for several weeks before cutting, then perhaps mulching is not the best option for you.

Having said that, we know that cutting the lawn too short also contributes to issues. Blades of grass need to absorb as much light and nutrients as possible to keep in reserve for more challenging growing conditions such as dry periods.

Your lawn doesn’t need to be as short and tidy as a golf course. That’s unrealistic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that golf courses have far more natural and financial resources at their disposal to aid that end.


Mulching Weeds

Other times when mulching may not be the best method, is when you have weeds in your lawn that are seeding such as dandelions and/or crabgrass. It would be better to deal with the weed issue first before mulching as you are simply going to spread the weed problem, alternatively use cut-and-collect until the weed issue is resolved. The same is true if you have a thatch or moss issue in your lawn, mulching may exacerbate the problem, so again, resolve the issue first before mulching.

So by having a mower that allows you to both mulch and cut-and-collect gives you the best of both worlds and ensures you always have a great looking lawn. At the end of this article I have listed my top mowers that have the added ability to mulch the lawn.

Here’s a simple table indicating the general best times to mulch grass cuttings throughout the year in the UK:

Season Best Time to Mulch Grass Cuttings
Spring Weekly, as the grass begins to grow more rapidly
Summer Weekly to biweekly, depending on growth and weather conditions
Autumn Biweekly to monthly, as growth slows down
Winter As needed, if the grass is still growing and ground conditions allow

Please note that the exact timing can vary based on local climate, grass type, and weather conditions. It’s important to adjust the schedule as necessary for your specific lawn care needs.

Are Mulching Mowers Good for The Lawn?

Mulching Lawn Mower

Since you don’t have to empty the grass collection box, a mulching lawn mower can also be a good choice for cutting down on the total amount of garden waste and time spent cutting your lawn. You also won’t have to worry about constantly replacing the bag or making your way to the compost heap if you are tasked with cutting a large lawn.

Another benefit about modern mulching mowers is that they push the freshly cut grass right back into the turf. If you have ever tried to mulch before, you know that two potential downsides are the possibilities for unsightly clumps of grass and a lack of aeration if mulching in wet conditions. The former can make your lawn look a bit messy and patchy, while the latter can block the air flow to the soil and roots of your grass, which can harm your grass’s health and potentially promote rot.

Using a mulching mower correctly and at the right time is the key to successful mulching, resulting in a lush, green and healthy lawn that’s the envy of your neighbours. Not only this, mulching your lawn while you’re mowing will cut down on the time it takes to cut (no stops to empty the grass box), while simultaneously providing all the benefits to your lawn explained above.

Mulching mowers are especially important in the UK due to our wet and changeable climate. Excessive rain can make mulch heavier and cling together more, making it harder to move and separate, so choosing the right time to mulch is important (see “When to Mulch” above).

Do I Have to Cut More Often with a Mulching Mower?

Mulching Schedule

The frequency of lawn mulching depends on your mowing habits. Regular mowing is essential for effective mulching; if the grass grows too long, it won’t mulch well. In the UK, the norm is to mow weekly during summer, adjusting for growth rates and climate in other seasons. This can vary, with some areas needing biweekly cuts.

For those with large areas and infrequent mowing schedules, mulching may not be suitable. But for the average UK garden, maintaining a consistent mowing routine is feasible. Many gardeners mulch weekly or biweekly, made easier with mulching mowers that work as you mow. For hands-off mulching, consider a robotic mower that trims and mulches daily, offering the full benefits with minimal effort post-setup.

The fact that your mower mulches as well as it mows does not mean that you’ll need to cut your lawn more often, simple once a week lawn-care is the rule, and mulching mowers are perfect for that. What’s more, part of the point of a mulching mower is to streamline the process.

Are There Any Downsides to Mulching?

Simply put, there are no real downsides to mulching. As long as you follow a cutting schedule and mulch when the conditions are correct as explained above, then there is no reason why mulching will not provide the benefits I have discussed.

You may pay a little more for a mower that has the ability to mulch, but the benefits far outweigh the additional cost. For example, if you were to purchase a Bosch Rotak 37 LI Ergoflex mower, the optional mulching plug would cost around £15 extra and is readily available on Amazon. To give an example of a corded mower that has the mulching ability built in, the Mountfield Princess34 mower costs around £100.

You can see why the demand for mowers that mulch are becoming more popular; there really are very few downsides to mulching your lawn if done correctly.

The Best Mulching Lawn Mowers – What Are the Options?

When choosing a new lawn mower, already many decisions need to be made such as – do I go for a petrol, corded, cordless or even a robotic mower, and what deck size do I need?

Well the good news is that mulching mowers do not need to add to the stress of choosing the best suited lawn mower, they are available in all of the above types. Robotic mowers by design only have the ability to mulch the grass cuttings and are ideal as they are mowing for long periods on a regular basis, so the grass never has a chance to grow too long.

Multi Purpose Mowers or Dedicated Mulching Mowers?

What Type Of Mulching Mower Is Best

As stated earlier, there are dedicated mulching mowers that do not have the ability to collect the grass cuttings. Then there are mowers that come with the ability to block the grass collection chute with a mulching plug turning it into a mulching mower.

Naturally the mower designed only for mulching will be more efficient and precise at mulching, but you then lack the ability to switch to the cut-and-collect method if needed, say during wetter periods.

A dedicated mulching mower will also allow for a side discharge, this means it is able to mulch longer grass as the deck does not get clogged with clumps of grass.

Remember, it’s not just about blocking the grass collection chute, the blade on a mulching mower needs to be designed in a way that blows the cutting around the deck just like a blender. This specially designed blade does not negatively affect the normal cut-and-collect method of cutting, and actually helps the collection of the clippings. Any mower is NOT going to collect 100% of the grass cuttings anyway, so for me, it just makes sense to have a mower that is capable of both.

At the end of this article I have listed what I believe are the best mulching mowers available to the domestic UK market today. So as you will see, it does not matter if you prefer a petrol or electric mower, there is always a mulching option available to you.

To help with choosing the best mower for you and your lawn, I have created a complete guide to buying a lawn mower that can be downloaded here – A Helpful Illustrated Guide to Buying a Lawn Mower.

My guide covers everything you need to know about choosing a lawn mower, and which is best for you and your lawn. Everything from what type of mower (petrol, electric, cordless etc), power, self propelled, deck size, features and so much more.

Mulching Plug

What Is A Mulching Kit and Can I Add One to My Mower?

A mulching kit is an add-on that can be attached to certain mowers if you wish to convert them for mulching purposes. They usually contain a mulch plug, mulching blade, and sometimes additional deflectors to deflect the clippings outward so as to make them easier to re-cut before they are pushed back into the soil. However, they are not compatible with every type of lawn mower, so you’ll want to make sure that any kit you purchase is compatible with your lawn mower’s model.

Who Are Mulching Mowers Best For (And Who Are Not)?

As mentioned earlier, mulching is best for those that can, more or less, stick to a regular cutting schedule for the reasons stated above. If you are the type of person that will only ever cut the lawn when it’s sky high and overgrown, then mulching is not suitable for you.

If however you want to have a lush and healthy lawn, want to do your bit for the environment and save some time and money in the process, then you should seriously consider the option of a lawn mower that can mulch. Yes, you will have to cut the lawn weekly during the summer, but hey, this is what you would do anyway if you wanted a well tended and usable lawn.

Common Myths About Mulching Lawn Mowers

Common Myths About Mulching Lawn MowersThe following are common myths about mulching your lawn that have been going around for years:-

Grass cuttings everywhere

Not true, the grass cuttings are so fine and rot down so quickly that this will not be an issue. Remember cut-and-collect only collects 80% of the cuttings, so it is more likely to leave grass cuttings on your shoes than mulching.

Causes thatch and moss

Absolutely not. If you have a thatch or moss issue, then this is not as a result of mulching. Resolve the issue and resume mulching as this will help to prevent a re-occurrence of the thatch or moss.

Mowers that mulch cost too much money

Not the case, as detailed above, an electric mulching mower can be yours for under £100.

Mulching does not help improve the condition of the lawn

It’s a scientific fact that mulching and the microbial activity helps improve your lawns health and appearance.

Pros & Cons of Mulching & Mulching Mowers

Lawn Mowers for MulchingWhat are the benefits of a mulching mower?

  • Healthier, greener and more dense lawn
  • Reduces thatch and moss
  • Helps prevent lawn disease and pests
  • Less likely to dry out in hotter periods
  • Saves time emptying the collection bag (up to 30% quicker)
  • Environmentally friendly – uses less fertilisers and water
  • Cost savings on lawn care, fertilisers and water
  • No garden waste produced

What are the disadvantages of a mulching mower?

  • Regular mowing schedule is required
  • Not suitable for long grass – cut and collect first then mulch
  • Sometimes need to be purchased as an optional extra


I hope this article has enlightened you to the benefits of mulching, what’s involved in getting started and making it a success on your lawn. If you do have any questions, please ask using the comments box below and I will be happy to answer.

Please also let me know your experiences of mulching the lawn and any tips or tricks you would like to share with my visitors.


To see more in-depth reviews of the best mulching lawn mowers please see my article – Best Mulching Lawn Mower – UK Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Mulching FAQs

Does mulching cause thatch or moss?

No, mulching does not cause thatch or moss, in fact it will help prevent it. The issues of thatch and moss are caused by a variety of factors including poor soil conditions, over watering, over fertilising, too shady areas etc so you will need to address separately.

Can I mulch when the grass is wet?

You can, but I would not recommend it as this could cause the mulched clippings to bind together forming clumps of grass.

What about leaf collection?

Your mulching mower should be able to mulch leaves and force them back into the soil along with the grass. Leaves are also a good source of organic matter. Just make sure not to over-do-it with large quantities of leaves.

Do I have to cut more often with a mulching mower?

Not more often, just on a regular basis to ensure that the lawn doesn't grow too long.

Lawnmower Product Expert, Reviewer and Author at | 01284 615144 | | Website | + posts

As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.

Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.

With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.

18 thoughts on “Maximising Lawn Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Mulching Lawn Mowers”

  1. Just a couple of points.Mulching regularly,if the grass is damp,and a bit long,will leave a build up of dead grass,resulting in small brown patchs,and an annual scarify will be needed.A good idea,to scarify,in any case.Some mowers are mulching only,with no side discharge or collect option.I use a Stiga SA55.

  2. George Basnett

    Love your very informative website that seems to almost cover every possible lawn maintenance need, but have you considered just to ‘complete’ the picture, articles related to the preparation, seeding and growing of the various types of lawn in all types of growing conditions ?
    Just a suggestion with my thanks again : George B

    1. Thank you George for your positive feedback and the suggestion. Planning to do more articles and even videos shortly and will cover this area.
      Thanks again

    1. Hi David, to be honest I have never tried one, there are a few models available on the market. Do you have one that you have seen in mind, that I could take a closer look?

  3. I have a petrol Mountfield with a mulching plug. It leaves a much neater job when mulching than when using the grass box!

  4. Excellent and very helpful article. Thank you.
    I would like a powerful cordless mulching mower as suggested by the article but I also want traditional stripes from a roller. There seems to be a tendency for manufacturers to force you to trade-off between mulching function for the roller (in other words the bigger cordless mowers seem to be designed for one or the other and not both), is there a specific lawn-care reason for this?

      1. Charlotte Capps

        Thank you for such a useful article. Do you have a suggestion for a petrol mower with a roller and mulching option for a large lawn. I’m struggling to find anything suitable as they seem to ask you to choose between one or the other.

        1. Hi Charlotte,

          Yes, this is going to be a difficult find a mulching mower with rear roller.
          The only mowers I am aware of are the Honda HRD536 QX and the Webb Supreme WERR17P. With the Honda you will need to purchase and optional mulching kit, this is a professional mower and is reflected in the price.
          The Webb Supreme has been out of stock for some time, sorry can’t be of any further help. All the best.

  5. Hi,

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing some great info.
    I was wondering if I could ask a question.
    I have recently moved to the house with a backyard lawn and considering buying a mower.
    There is a choice between mulching mower and mower with a collection bag. I know mulching is good for the grass, but I have a big dog that likes to go and roll in the grass (garden is really for him).
    I was wondering if mulching will just make my dog green (rolling in freshly cut grass, etc.) and I should just collect cut grass, so he won’t bring it back home? And, keeping the dog out of freshly cut grass is out of question :) Also, I live in Brussels, so rain is a question.

    I would appreciate your response.


    1. Hi Lex,

      There are many benefits to mulching, I would recommend that you purchase a mower that has the ability to collect the grass cuttings as well as mulch. You will then have the additional option.

      A good mulching mower will cut the grass clippings very finely, and as a result will be lower down in the turf. I know this reduces significantly the amount of grass picked up on bare feet, but not sure about a dog rolling in the grass. In summary, I would purchase a mower that does both and then you have a choice.

      For my best mulching mowers, please see the link below –

      Many thanks

      1. Hi Mark.
        I bought a Mountfield SP53H a couple of months ago, and as our grass has only recently started growing, I’m unfamiliar with the quality of its cutting. Can you tell me please, if cutting the lawn with the mulching plug fitted, results in a longer scruffier cut? I’ve got the mower set on it’s lowest setting and the grass is still a but too long, and it looks a bit chopped.

        1. Hi Paul, thanks for your message. The mulching is highly beneficial to your lawn, it doesn’t affect the cut quality. When you cut the grass was the grass damp or wet? What happens if you try cutting on a higher setting, only 2/3 of the length of the grass should be cut, and then reduce to a lower setting? Do you get the same result if you use the cut and collect method? Let me know how you get on. Mark

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