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Lawn Mower Choices: Should You Buy a Mulcher or a Grass Catcher?

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

If all you had to do each week was mow your lawn, life would be simple. But you've also got to decide what you're going to do with those grass clippings. Let's take a look at mulching and catching and discuss what they mean for your lawn.

If you're in the market for a new lawn mower during the winter months, you're not alone. Thousands of homeowners will take advantage of the off-season months to save some big money on this essential machine. But should you buy a lawn mower that mulches or one that has a grass catcher? Not much difference, you think? On the contrary, the machine you purchase will dictate your lawn strategy throughout the year. Here's a comparison.
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Using a Grass Catcher

  • Extra Effort. One of the biggest drawbacks of using a grass catcher is the extra effort required to stop, unload grass clippings onto a mulch pile, reattach, and keep going. It could extend your cutting time by nearly an hour on large lawns.
  • Extra Maintenance. Because a grass catcher has several parts, you'll have to provide maintenance to it every so often. This includes tightening screws, treating rust, and other time-consuming steps that keep the catcher working properly.
  • Cleaner Lawn. The major advantage to using a grass catcher is that you'll love the look of a clean, smooth, lawn. Today's catchers are great at collecting unsightly clippings and removing them from your yard.

The bottom line on grass catchers is that, if you're willing to put out the energy and time, catching your clippings will improve the look of your lawn tremendously. But as you'll see, mulching has its own benefits that you'll want to know about before making that lawn mower purchase.

Using a Grass Mulcher

  • Bigger Expense. Most mulching lawn mowers are considerably more expensive than their catching counterparts.
  • Healthier Lawn. Mulching your grass clippings will provide rich nutrients that your lawn desperately needs to stay greener throughout the year.

While this issue isn't the most taxing decision you'll ever make, it is one that you'll need to consider when the summer months roll around. It all depends on how far you're willing to go to have a pristine lawn.

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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