If you're thinking of buying a new
gas mower, a few decisions will
have to be made.
There are several types of mowers on the market
including Mulching Mowers, Side Discharge Mowers, Bagging Mowers
and even a combination of all three lawnmowers are available.
Mulching mowers have specially designed decks to improve the
flow of grass cuttings under the deck. Once the grass blades have
been cut the deck routes the blades of grass to be cut over and
over again by a specially designed mulching blade. The mulching
blade cuts and re-cuts the grass blades until they become very small
pieces of grass that can easily fall down to ground level and be
used as nutrients.
When buying a mulching mower you'll
want to keep in mind that all of this cutting and re-cutting as
you move over your lawn will require more horsepower than a
bagging / side discharge mower that simply cuts the grass blade
once and discharges it. There's no replacement for displacement as
they say, so try to buy a larger displacement, higher torque motor
if you want a great mulcher.
Mulching is generally easier than
bagging as you're not constantly trying to find a place to dump
or compost your clippings. The mulching mower doesn't get heavier as you
mow because there is no bag to fill up and weigh your mower down.
Purpose made mulching mowers generally do a great job at getting
the grass cut down to a size that falls into the lawn instead of
leaving clumps on
top of the
lawn. The extra nutrients being dropped into the lawn will save
you a small amount on fertilizer costs as well.
mowers show weakness is in long wet grass. There may be times,
often during the spring, where your lawn is growing out of
control and the rain just won't allow you get out and mow it. When you're
finally able to get out and mow the mulching mower is going to
have a fight on it's hands with long damp grass. You'll hear a
fair amount of banging and clanging as clumps of wet grass bang
around under the deck. These clumps will usually not get mulched
enough to fall into the lawn and will be left on top of the
bag/mulch/side discharge mowers are better at the above scenario. If your lawn
has grown out of control or you often need to mow it when it's
wet, the bagging mulching mower will do the job with ease either
by collecting the grass or simply discharging it out the side
until you can get back and mulch it on a dry day.
combination type gas mower will not do as good a job at mulching
as a purpose built mulching mower (although there are some that
come extremely close). Look for a combination mower with a good
mulching blade, or consider buying an aftermarket mulching blade
– it will make a big difference even if the deck is not
purposely built for mulching.
A bagging mower will, in most
cases, leave your lawn looking nicer than a mulching mower. Many believe that a purpose built mulcher can come so close
in after cut appearances that
it's just not worth the extra work of emptying the bag as
required on a bagging mower.
A combination type mower with a good or aftermarket mulching blade is
seen by many to be the best of both worlds. Bag or side
discharge when your lawn is damp those first few times in the
spring and use the mulching feature during normal mowing months.
Then, at the end of the season, vacuum the fall leaves up with the bag attachment
and put them in your compost.