Understand Difference

Mulching vs Side Discharge: Choosing the Best Lawn Care Technique

Introduction to Mowing

Mowing is a routine lawn care activity that involves cutting grass to maintain its height and appearance. It may seem like a simple task, yet it has several crucial benefits, including stress reduction, disease prevention, and improved overall lawn appearance.

Choosing the right type of lawn mower for your lawn can make the task less strenuous and help create a uniform and healthy lawn.

Importance of Mowing

Mowing is not only important for maintaining a neat appearance, but it is also significant for the health and well-being of your lawn. Regular mowing can reduce stress on the grass, making it more resilient to drought, insects, and diseases.

It also helps to prevent the growth of weeds and to keep your lawn looking fresh and healthy. Cutting your grass too low can have a detrimental effect on its health, causing it to become stressed, and weak, so it is essential to choose the optimal height.

The right mowing height varies depending on the type of grass in your lawn. For warm-season grasses, the height should be kept between 1-2 inches, while cool-season grasses require a height of 2-3 inches.

Mowing at the right height will ensure that the plant maintains a healthy root system and can better tolerate environmental stress.

Types of Lawn Mowers

Choosing the right mower for your lawn requires a careful consideration of several factors, including the size of your yard, mowing requirements, and your personal preference. Lawn mowers come in different sizes and styles and can be classified into three primary categories: reel, rotary, and robotic.

Reel mowers are ideal for small, flat lawns and use a manual cutting mechanism. They are energy-efficient, quiet, and produce a high-quality cut.

Rotary mowers are the most popular type of lawn mower, and they come in different sizes and designs, including gas-powered, electric, or battery-powered. These mowers use a horizontal blade that rotates to cut the grass and are best for larger lawns.

Robotic mowing technology is gaining popularity among homeowners. They can be programmed to cut the grass automatically, and they produce high-quality cuts using multiple blades.

However, they require significant upfront investment costs and may not be suitable for steep or challenging landscapes.


Mulching is a lawn care technique that is gaining popularity as it helps to maintain soil moisture, improve soil quality, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. It involves shredding grass clippings into fine pieces and redistributing them on the topsoil.

As the clippings decompose, they release valuable nutrients back into the soil, promoting healthy plant growth. How

Mulching Works

Mulching works by reducing water loss through evaporation and increasing soil moisture retention. As the grass clippings decompose, they release nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium, providing a natural fertilizer for the soil.

Mulch also helps to deter the growth of weeds by adding an extra layer, blocking their access to sunlight. Benefits of


Using mulch as a lawn care technique offers several benefits.

One of the primary benefits is that it reduces the build-up of thatch, which is a layer of dead grass and other organic matter that accumulates on the soil surface. This excessive layer of thatch can block water and nutrients from reaching the roots of the grass, leading to slow growth, and can cause a range of lawn diseases.

Mulching also eliminates the need for cleanup after mowing as the grass clippings remain on the lawn surface, providing another layer of protection to retain moisture and reduce heat stress on the grass. Furthermore, mulch is environmentally sustainable and helps to reduce the carbon footprint of lawn care practices.


Keeping your lawn healthy requires regular maintenance, including mowing and mulching. Understanding the importance of proper mowing techniques and choosing the right type of lawn mower for your lawn can make a significant difference in its health and appearance.

Adopting mulching as a lawn care technique can promote soil health, save time and effort, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. By using these strategies, you can create a lush and healthy lawn that you can be proud of.

Side Discharge

Side discharge is a lawn mowing technique that involves directing the grass clippings from the mower deck through a discharge chute located on one side of the mower. This technique is typically used for larger areas where mulching or bagging may not be practical.

Operation of

Side Discharge

The side discharge chute on a lawn mower is typically located on the side of the deck and is covered by a flap or cover when not in use. As you mow, grass clippings are lifted by the rotating blades and thrown up into the mower deck.

The clippings are then funneled towards the discharge port and expelled from the mower through the side chute. This allows you to avoid the messy cleanup associated with bagging while keeping the grass neatly trimmed.

Benefits and Drawbacks of

Side Discharge

One of the primary benefits of side discharge is that it allows for faster mowing times as there is no need to stop and empty clippings as you would with bagging. Additionally, the side discharge technique is often preferred by landscaping professionals for its cut quality, which is often regarded as superior to mulching or bagging.

This technique allows for a more even look and efficient cut across the turf. However, one of the significant drawbacks of side discharge is that it results in loose grass clippings that can quickly accumulate, becoming an eyesore and tripping hazard.

The clippings can also lead to thatch build-up that can negatively impact the health of your lawn. With the side discharge technique, grass clippings become waste and must be cleaned up to maintain an inviting appearance.

Difference between

Mulching and

Side Discharge


Mulching and side discharge are two common ways of managing grass clippings, but their methods of operation differ.

Mulching mowers use specifically-designed blades and an enclosed deck to chop the grass clippings into very small pieces, which are then left on the lawn as a layer of natural fertilizer.

In contrast, side discharge mowers direct the clippings to a side chute without breaking them down, leaving them on the lawn to be cleaned up later.

Natural Fertilizer

Mulching offers several benefits to the underlying lawn as it ensures that the clippings are chipped into small enough pieces that they can return to the ground and become a natural fertilizer. Due to the fine cut, mulching helps to boost soil health, prevent weed growth, and adds essential nutrients back for a healthier lawn.

On the other hand, side discharge provides little to no benefit to the underlying lawn as the grass clippings remain bulky and tend to come in large clumps.


One of the most significant advantages of mulching is that it produces little to no waste, thus reducing the need for cleanup. The finely cut clippings break down and form a natural layer of compost on the soil.

This not only saves you the effort of cleanup but also provides benefit to the environment. On the other hand, the discharge chute in side discharge mowers produces loose and bulky clippings, which can make cleanup both time-consuming and laborious.

The clippings must be gathered and disposed of, which increases the amount of yard waste in your trash.


The choice between mulching and side discharge depends on personal preferences, lawn size, and mowing requirements. If you are looking to save time and effort and do not mind the additional cleanup, then side discharge might be the best option.

However, if you value the health of your lawn, and want to benefit from a natural fertilizer source, then mulching should be your preferred option. It is important to consider the unique needs of your lawn while making a choice between the two so that you can be sure that you are caring for your lawn in the best possible way.

Comparison between

Mulching and

Side Discharge

If you are looking for an alternative to bagging, mulching, and side discharge are two lawn care techniques that you can employ. These two methods are similar in that they produce renewable resources while you mow; however, they differ in their operation and benefits.

Pros and Cons

Mulching and side discharge offer several advantages.

Mulching is environmentally friendly, saves time and money, and provides natural fertilizer, weed deterrence, and thatch reduction.

Side discharge allows for faster mowing times, improves cut quality, and requires little maintenance. However, mulching and side discharge also come with disadvantages.

Mulching requires strict mowing height control, and side discharge produces large amounts of clippings that must be cleaned up, causing additional energy and work.

Ideal Situations for Each Method

The choice between mulching and side discharge depends on various factors such as lawn size, homeowner preference, and professional requirements.

Mulching is the best choice for small to medium-sized lawns where homeowners can avoid cleanup and want to benefit from natural fertilizers and weed protection.

Landscaping professionals often prefer side discharge for its cut quality, which is often regarded as superior, and for larger lawns where cleanup may not be an issue.

Mulching Mower Benefits

One of the significant advantages of mulching is the reduction in thatch build-up. Thatch is a buildup of non-decomposed grass blades, straw, and leaves that accumulate to the point where water and essential nutrients can’t reach the roots.

Mulching allows the shredded blades to decompose quickly, so thatch doesn’t build up and subsequently harm the lawn.

Mulching also helps prevent the growth of weeds by creating a thick layer, reducing the amount of sunlight that can penetrate.

The process also adds significant amounts of natural fertilizer to your lawn, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.

Side Discharge Definition

Side discharge is a lawn cutting technique that involves blowing grass clippings to the side of the mower for collection. Some mowers have options to change the direction of the discharge to either side by adjusting components.

The mower cuts grass as usual, and the clippings are then forced out to the side by the deck’s design while cutting. The loose clippings can accumulate on your lawn and, depending on the mowing frequency, adding organic matter to the soil.

Mulching Blade Benefits

Mulching blades are all-purpose blades that allow for the mulching, bagging, and side discharge of grass clippings, making them highly versatile. They typically have two cutting edges and unique serrations on the blade, designed to accelerate the mulching process.

The unique design of the blade produces a finer and more even mulch, allowing grass clippings to decompose more efficiently without creating thatch buildup. Recommended

Mulching Frequency

Mulching should be done regularly, depending on the growth rate of your lawn and mowing frequency. Mowing your lawn 1-2 times per week will create a healthy lawn that requires less maintenance and fertilizer.

When mulching, you want to make sure that you do not cut the grass too short, which can stress the lawn and leads to stunted growth. The best time to mulch your lawn is early in the morning when the grass is dry.

This way, the mulch will break down quickly and allow water to reach the roots of the grass.


Mulching and side discharge are lawn cutting techniques with advantages and disadvantages. Both methods produce renewable resources and help save time and money on lawn maintenance.

Choosing which technique to use depends on several factors such as homeowner preference, lawn size, and professional requirements. However, mulching is ideal for small and medium-sized lawns, while side discharge is often preferred for larger lawns.

With the right cutting techniques, using both methods ultimately benefits the health and appearance of your lawn. In conclusion, understanding the differences between mulching and side discharge techniques is crucial for effective lawn care.

Mulching offers benefits such as natural fertilization, weed deterrence, and reduced thatch buildup, while side discharge allows for faster mowing times and improved cut quality. The choice between the two depends on factors such as lawn size, homeowner preferences, and professional requirements.

Regardless of the method chosen, it is essential to maintain a proper mowing height and frequency. By applying these techniques and considering the unique needs of your lawn, you can achieve a healthy and beautiful lawn that is well-maintained and sustainable.

Happy mowing!

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