How To Keep Grass Clippings Out Of Mulch Beds When Mowing

Growing a thick, lush lawn is quite the process, especially if you start from scratch with compact soil. While you wait for the grass to grow, perhaps you meticulously planted beautiful flower beds, with mulch beds skirting the blooms to ward off unwanted plants. 

Unfortunately, as much as you want your grass to flourish, you probably want it to stay where you put it. So, no creeping into the mulch beds. When you mow, keeping the grass clippings out of the mulch beds can be challenging. 

How are you supposed to keep the clippings out of your mulch beds? Stick around to find out. 

How Do You Mow Without Clippings?

Clippings that contain weed seeds can transport them to other parts of your yard, allowing weeds to grow all over your yard. One way to prevent the spread of these seeds is by collecting the clippings. If you don’t want the grass clippings from mowing left behind after the job is done, there are a few things you can do. 

Bag The Clippings

Some mowers come with a bag to collect grass clippings as you go. In some cases, the bag is required for operation, so you don’t have much of a choice. Other mowers come with an optional bag. 

If yours comes with an optional bag, attach it before you start mowing, then empty it as necessary. This is a great way to easily collect the grass clippings as you go without much of an issue. 

Use A Lawn Sweeper

Lawn sweepers are handy devices that make cleaning up your lawn much easier. You can find them in push or tow-behind variations. If you have a push mower, consider investing in a push lawn sweeper. Or, if you have a ride-on mower, buy a tow-behind lawn sweeper to collect clippings as you mow. 

The sweeper features a brush that is connected to the wheels, so as they turn, the brush rotates. As the device moves, the brushes comb through the grass, collecting grass clippings, leaves, and other debris from your yard. The sweeper deposits the clippings into the hopper. 

Once the hopper fills up, simply remove it and discard of the debris however you want. 

Rake The Clippings

Raking Grass Clippings

If you don’t have a discharge cover and your mower doesn’t come with a bag, you can always rake the clippings after you finish mowing. This job takes more time than the others, but it’s always an option. 

Mow the yard in even sections, directing clippings in the same direction. Then, once you’re done, rake each row of clippings and collect them in a bag or box. You can dispose of them or use them as fertilizer for other areas of your yard. 

How To Keep Clippings Out Of Mulch Beds

Collecting clippings altogether is one thing, but keeping them out of your mulch beds is a different story. Luckily, keeping the tiny bits of grass out of your flower beds isn’t as hard as you might think. Here are a few easy ways to keep your mulch beds free of grass clippings:

Use A Catcher

If your lawn mower comes with a required or optional bag, simply use it to collect clippings as you mow. This is possibly the simplest option for keeping grass clippings out of your mulch beds. 

Empty the bag as it fills up, then continue mowing. This might not be the ideal choice, especially if you want to recycle the clippings, but it’s a great way to keep clippings out of your mulch beds. That said, you can always return the clippings to your lawn if you want to recycle them. It’ll be an extra step, but it’s doable. 

Bagging Grass Clippings

Mow The Opposite Direction

If you have a side discharge mower, grass clippings will be blown a few feet away from the side of the mower. So, to avoid getting the clippings in your mulch beds, mow in the opposite direction. 

For example, if the mulch beds are on the left side of your lawn, make sure you mow in the direction with the discharge facing right. Or vice versa, depending on the layout of your lawn. 

This is a great option for keeping clippings out of mulch beds if you want to recycle them back into the lawn. If you want to remove the clippings, this might not be your best option, as you’ll have to rake the clippings up later. 

If you want to clean up the edge between the lawn and flower or garden beds, use an edger. You can find manual and power edgers, or use a string trimmer to create a definitive edge around your lawn, separating it from the mulch beds. 

Should You Remove Grass Clippings After Mowing?

Ultimately, the answer to this question is up to you. For example, you might detest the look of the columns of clippings left behind after mowing. Or, maybe you don’t want your kids covered in clippings after playing in the grass for a while. 

Either way, you can certainly remove grass clippings after mowing. However, you don’t necessarily have to. The clippings hold valuable nutrients, which will be returned to the lawn if you leave the clippings there. 

So, it’ll save you time and money if you just leave them there. Bonus: it’s good for your lawn, as the organic matter adds essential nutrients to the soil as it decays. 

That said, when you haven’t mowed in a while and the grass is extremely tall, it might be better to collect the clippings. When you mow tall, thick grass, you’ll probably end up with large clumps of clippings. In this case, you’re probably better off removing the grass clippings. 

If you stay on top of mowing, the other rule applies. As long as you mow frequently enough that the grass doesn’t grow overly tall, you can recycle the clippings back onto the yard.