Should I bag the lawn clippings every time I mow the lawn? My short answer is no.
Back in 1999 I started working for a small lawn care company. We mowed lawns all day long, and I spend quite a lot of time bagging clippings, and finding places to dispose them. The reason we did that is, because all the lawns we moved were chemically treated. Like 99% of the lawn care companies, we were forced to bag clipping, aerate, thatch, and apply chemical fertilizer. There was another company that did the different applications of pesticides, because we did not have a pesticide license. So, why do I say not to bag the clippings, while back then we were collecting them? The reason is simple. All those chemical lawns were addicted to chemicals.
If you follow the so called 5 step program, you will be doing all those things. Weed control, fertilizer, aeration, bagging clippings, and some times de-thaching. Thatch is the build up of living and dead roots, stems, stolons and rhizomes.
In the past 12 years I have bagged grass clippings 4 or 5 times, only because the grass was so tall, bagging was the only reasonable thing to do. I choose not to bag for several reasons. The main is because it is perfectly fine to remove the bag from the lawn mower. Grass clippings is a good source of nutrients for the lawn. It produces enough Nitrogen in one season for the grass to grow healthy. Clippings does not cause thatch, since it will be decomposed by the microbes in the soil. Besides, it saves me time and money because the clippings on my lawn means I can cut back in fertilizer applications. It saves me time, because I don’t have to send those lawn clippings to the landfill.
Do you bag your lawn clippings every week? Why do you bag them?