Should I Bag my Grass Clippings if I Have Weeds

Most homeowners put a lot of effort into maintaining a beautiful lawn, but it can be challenging, especially when you have weeds.

Mowing regularly will help you maintain your lawn, but this will also produce grass clippings that need to go somewhere.

Should I bad my grass clippings if a have weeds? The answer is yes. Bagging your grass clippings can help to prevent the spread of weed seeds like crabgrass on your lawn.

What is bagging?

Bagging involves collecting the cut grass and putting it in a compost bin or an approved yard waste bin.

Some mowers have the bagging function that makes it easier to bag instead of picking the grass clippings manually.

If you don’t have a bagging mower, instead of using a rake, you can opt for a push lawn sweeper to help you sweep up the clippings after you’re done mowing. 

When to bag grass clippings

Mulching is great, but it’s not always the best option. There are several reasons why you would decide to bag your clippings.

  • The most common one is if the grass on your lawn is several inches tall and the clippings cover your lawn with a thick layer of dead grass called thatch. This prevents the grass below from receiving any nutrients.
  • During fall when the leaves start to fall and cover your lawn, you should use a bagger that will save you the time for raking.
  • If the grass on your lawn has been infected with a fungal disease or has weeds, you should collect the grass clippings to prevent spreading.
  • Excess grass clippings can be a nuisance, especially when they stick on your bare feet and shoes or if they stain your kid’s clothes when they’re playing in the yard and the clippings also get tracked into your home. To keep everything neat, it’s better to bag the clippings.

When to leave clippings

Leaving grass clippings on your lawn is an easy way of helping to return their nutrients back into your lawn.

Clippings also encourage microorganisms and earthworms to break them down in just a few weeks.

Provided you mow your lawn regularly, and the clippings on your lawn aren’t more than 1 inch tall, you can let them fall on your lawn.

This will help to release nitrogen back into the soil which promotes green growth since grass clippings contain 4% of nitrogen so they can provide about 25% of the annual nitrogen your grass needs.

This will save you money and the amount of nitrogen fertilizer you’ll need to use on your lawn in the long run.

Clippings are also a natural mulch that will protect the soil’s moisture so your lawn doesn’t get so dry during the dry period.

Why you should mulch clippings

Mulching grass clippings means you keep them in your lawn and allow them to decompose over time and eventually become the top layer on the surface of your lawn.

This will save you both time and energy because the mulch will add nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous to your lawn.

These nutrients are commonly found in fertilizer, but clippings can provide you with up to 1/3 of the nutrients needed by your lawn to grow healthy and strong.

Mulch also helps the soil to retain moisture and improve the health and density of that area. Most people like mulching because you get to save some money and don’t need to use chemical nutrients.

You also get to save on the time you would have used picking the clippings after mowing.

When should you mulch?

The best time to mulch your lawn clippings is during the hot summer months because they need high temperatures and humidity to break them down.

Mulching is even a greater option if you mow your lawn every 4 days or so.

You may also want to mulch if your lawn is thin and it looks like it needs more nutrients.

Mulching will naturally return nutrients to the soil and you don’t have to buy expensive fertilizer to add to the soil.

Weeds can very easily get out of control if you don’t maintain your lawn properly. To prevent weeds from invading your yard, you need to keep your grass thick and healthy.

Eliminating weeds

To help you improve your lawn and eliminate weeds, you need to know the type of weed growing so you can know whether to bag or mulch.

First, you need to know if it’s annual weed-like crabgrass. Crabgrass self-seeds itself and grows when it’s hot.

If you mow your lawn regularly, the weed will not grow large enough to form any seed heads, so in this case, you can mulch your lawn.

If you can see the seed head, you can pull it out and dispose of the seed head before bagging, however, if you can’t contain the weeds in your lawn, you should bag.

If you can’t mow your lawn every 4-5 days during the summer when the weeds are growing, you should bag instead.

Types of weeds

Weed

Type

Features

Nutsedge

Perennial

Superficially resembles grasses, but it’s V-shaped and it’s thicker and stiffer. Have leaves in sets of three from the base.

Buckhorn plantain

Perennial

Common in lawns, pastures, and meadows. Has narrow leaves and spreads by seeds

Crabgrass

Annual

Spreads by seeds and hugs the ground. Germinates in spring and can easily take over an unhealthy lawn

Quackgrass

Annual

Has long wide leaves that are rough and burr-like. The roots form a heavy thick mat in the soil

Shepherd’s pulse

Annual

Forms heart-shaped seed pods after flowering. Likes cool weather and has yellowish-brown seeds that live long in the ground

Conclusion

If you have weeds in your lawn, you should only mulch if you can pull the weeds out or their seed heads.

If you have time to bag your clippings or have someone to do it for you, you should generally mulch in summer and bag in winter.

FAQ

How do you dry out grass clippings?

If you have more clippings than you need, you can spread them out on a roofing metal and leave in the sun to dry.

How long does it take for grass clippings to decompose?

Grass contains 80% water so it will take a few weeks for the clippings to decompose and enrich your soil with valuable nutrients.

Also read

How to Mulch Leaves Without a Mower

Mulching vs Bagging vs Side Discharge – Which one is the Best?

Does Mulch Decompose?

Can You Fertilize on Top of Mulch?

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