If you’re like most people, you probably invest considerable effort into having a healthy lawn, and sustaining one is hard, particularly if some weeds exist.
Lawn maintenance demands regular mowing, which in turn produces lawn clippings. Some weed development is inevitable in most lawns; numerous homeowners desire to have as few as possible.
Although numerous solutions exist when it comes to eliminating or decreasing weed development, this piece will examine the impact of grass clippings on the spread of weeds. Should you bag clippings if you have weeds? Let’s take a look.
Bagging grass clippings involves collecting cut grass and placing them in a compost bin or permitted waste container. Essentially, it means discarding your clippings and ensuring proper disposal. Rather than simply picking the clippings manually and placing them into a bag, you can utilize bagging mowers that make the task easier.
If you lack a bagging lawnmower, you can obtain a push lawn sweeper for sweeping up the clippings on the lawn after mowing. It’s inexpensive and very easy.
Should You Bag Clippings If You Have Weeds?
Does bagging reduce weeds? Yes. Bagging clippings can decrease the number of weeds. When you bag clippings, you don’t just collect grass blades. You equally collect weeds along with their seeds — the potential for spreading weed seeds decreases.
Just keep in mind that bagging won’t eliminate the spread of weeds completely. The mower doesn’t gather every weed or glass blade it mows over. Some are left behind and can cause weed growth.
The deck, blade, and other components of the mower can gather weed seeds too. These seeds can contaminate your lawn when you use a mower later.
If you want a neat and tidy lawn, you might want to consider bagging. Bagging also prevents rot, which takes place when excess clippings exist on the lawn and the grass beneath can’t grow any longer.
Is Bagging Necessary When Mowing?
Bagging is important when mowing under the following conditions:
- When the grass is extremely tall, and the lawn is covered in clippings, preventing the grass from accessing the nutrients beneath.
- When too many leaves litter your lawn during fall, bagging the clippings together with the leaves will save you time in terms of raking.
- If there’s a disease in your lawn, for instance, brown patch fungal disease. Bagging will prevent the disease from spreading in the lawn, particularly when mowing wet lawns.
If you have a healthy and weedless lawn, leave the clippings while mowing. This increases nutrients in the soil.
Do Weeds Spread When Mowing?
If you ever wonder do weeds spread when mowed, here’s the answer. Mowing can potentially spread weeds as the blade propels weed seeds 5-10 ft away from the cutting area.
Consequently, the seeds can fall and sprout in other areas of the lawn, spreading faster. Weeds could equally spread through runners.
If you use an unclean lawn mower that has been used on lawns containing weeds, it could quickly introduce weeds from a different property to yours.
Factors that Determine Whether to Mulch or Bag
The decision whether to bag or mulch depends on these factors:
1. Whether the weeds have set seeds
The life cycle of weeds is relatively predictable, and several rely on seed spreading to reproduce. These seeds aren’t housed throughout the weed stem. Instead, you’ll mostly find them in the seed heads.
If your lawn isn’t that big, it’s possible to examine it and take out the seed heads manually as you discover them. You won’t get them all, but getting a decent proportion will decrease the likelihood of the weeds spreading considerably.
2. Weed type
The word “weed” is extremely vague and describes plants from various families. It’s important to identify the type of weeds that are especially vulnerable to spreading to take the necessary measures. Weeds that are likely to spread include:
If you have crabgrass infestation on your lawn, you’ll want to bag the clippings. Although the weed’s reproduction can occur through seeds, minced pieces of the stem can take root as well. The weed will develop and spread throughout warmer seasons, but you risk quickening the process through mulching.
This weed tends to spread through the stem fragments, so you want to avoid mulching.
One ragweed can generate 60,000 seeds per season. Mulching could quickly cause a significant weed problem.
When to Mulch with Clippings
Mulching with clippings should take place between late fall and early spring. Generally, mulching helps increase nutrients and organic matter in the soil. Here’s why you should mulch the lawn:
- It saves money and time spent for bagging, raking, and handling clippings
- Mulching retains soil moisture and prevents water evaporation by offering shade from surplus sunlight to the soil.
- It decreases water run-off throughout rainy seasons.
Fungus on the Lawn
If you observe any indications of lawn disease or fungus, don’t mulch the clippings. Bag them instead. Beware that mulching them could spread the disease to the remainder of your lawn.
The fungus can also arise within damp conditions when microbes start feeding on your mulch. In this instance, begin bagging your lawn immediately and resume mulching only when the fungus has cleared.
Mulching vs. Bagging
Regular mowing maintains a healthy lawn, but disposal of the clippings poses a dilemma. In the mulching technique, the clippings usually remain in the yard for decomposition. Bagging entails gathering the cut grass and putting it in a compost bin or disposing of it in a waste container.
The following factors will help you decide which technique is best.
Clippings that are mulched into your lawn settle onto the ground for decomposition. As the clippings disintegrate, they increase soil nutrients. In particular, nitrogen increases with mulching. You require fewer chemical fertilizers when you leave mulched clippings in place.
If you bag the clippings, you might have to include chemical fertilizers to enhance the nitrogen levels. For optimum results, you must only eliminate 1/3 of the grass’s height. If you cut off more of the blade, the grass could stunt and leave bigger clumps that don’t disintegrate as well.
The appearance of a bagged versus mulched lawn is frequently subjective. Some believe that lawn bagging enhances curb appeal and gives a cleaner appearance because grass clumps are invisible. If you allow the grass to grow extremely long, bagging longer clippings maintains a clean-looking lawn.
If you decide to mulch, mow often and cut 1/3 of the grass blade to prevent stumps.
Pulling vs Mowing Weeds
Is it better to pull weeds or mow them? Hand-pulling weeds can help, particularly if your lawn is young. You’ll simply pull a weed when you see one and obtain as many as possible. Just try pulling the weeds before they flower.
When mowing to control weeds, ensure there’s a clippings bag joined to the mower. This technique is ideal for young weeds that spread through seeds. Keep in mind that mowing to eliminate weeds can be a long process.
Should you kill weeds before mowing? Yes, because mowing won’t work in cases where weeds spread through stolons or runners. In this case, you should use a suitable herbicide.
Killing Weeds Before Mowing
If in doubt about whether it is better to pull weeds or mow them, just note that you should rake weeds before you mow. This ensures you remove seed stems in a straight position. After cutting, dispose of the seeds. Take care not to rake if there are dropping seeds; otherwise, there’s a risk of spreading them.
Weed eradication isn’t an easy task. It demands persistence and observation. To identify the best technique for killing any weed, you must understand when it develops, how it develops, and the best period to attack it.