Golf & Turf

Top tips to improve drought tolerance with mulching

Whether you’re maintaining your residential lawn or providing the landscaping for a commercial property, everyone knows that the grass is always greener where you put the work in. That may not be the standard quote, but it tells the truth about lawn maintenance.

One of the best ways to fertilise and feed your grass is to let your grass clippings do the work for you.

We’ve gathered some of the top tips for understanding and using a mulching mower or mulching kit for your lawn mower, along with some ways that John Deere can help you achieve the best mulch for your lawn.

  1. If possible, make sure your grass is dry when you are using your mulching mower.
  2. Make sure you sharpen your mower blades before cutting. The sharp blades will give you the quality cut you need.
  3. When looking to fertilise with mulch clippings, raise your blades to take no more than the top third of the grass blade. This means that when the seasons are such that your grass is growing more quickly, you will need to mow more often.
  4. Using your lawn mower for mulching will help feed your lawn and reduce the amount of fertiliser you will need to apply. Each blade of grass or piece of leaf is full of nutrients that when left in place, can improve the overall health of your soil and even help reduce weeds. This combination of the coverage of mulch and the health of the soil increases the soil’s ability to hold more water. This allows any water applied through irrigation or rain to be more likely to stay put, making your soil or turf more resistant to swings in temperature and drought conditions.
  5. The nutrients will be good for your soil, and by leaving your lawn clippings and leaves in place, this practice eliminates the process of needing to bag and carry your clippings to the curb or compost pile.
  6. Mulching is good for the environment because it keeps grass clippings out of landfills. Grass clippings account for two-thirds of all yard waste.
  7. If you have tall or wet grass conditions, it is best to use a side-discharge model, like the MulchControl™ Kit from John Deere to mitigate unsightly clumps of grass.
  8. Leaves should be mowed frequently as they fall to keep them from smothering your lawn. To finely chop leaves as you mulch, you should make two or more mowing passes with your mower each time you mow to speed up the composting process.
  9. While lawns benefit from clippings, they don’t want to be smothered by them. Using best mowing practices can leave grass with room to breathe and looking as clean as it would with bagging. Using a mulching lawn mower that is designed for mulching will give you the best results.

What is a mulching lawn mower?

A mulching mower is a machine where the mowing deck and blade will chop the grass multiple times before the grass falls to the lawn. This will provide more finely cut grass that can decompose and provide nutrients for the soil.

If you have or want to purchase a standard lawn mower, you can also convert your equipment into a mulching lawn mower with a mulching kit.

What is a mulching kit?

The standard lawn mower deck, where the mower covers the blades has a side chute that pushes grass clippings onto the lawn or into an attached bag. A mulching kit will alter the blades to chop the grass clippings into the smaller pieces needed for decomposing. Each kit will include a set of blades, a plug, and the hardware you will need to attach the kit to your mower.

John Deere MulchControl™ Kits include pull-of-a-lever technology and are available on Select Series™ Mowers, Signature Series Mowers, and all Residential ZTrak™ Mowers. Each kit includes mulching blades for best grass mulching results.

Interested in learning more about mulching mowers? Check out our S100 Series or our Z300, Z500 or Z700 Zero-Turn Mowers and commercial mowers, PLUS you can purchase selected models online from the RDO Online Store.