Why should you bag grass clippings?

Some lawn care customers can be real picky about what they want. That can translate into more work for you. If you find yourself spending a lot of time bagging grass clippings, take a moment and think why you are doing it. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear the reasons why some landscapers bag grass clippings.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am curious, while I’m going from one job to the next, why do I see all these guys emptying bags of grass clippings into their landscape trucks instead of mulching?

Do their mowers simply not do a good job mulching? Do they enjoy stopping every 4 passes to empty a bag? Is there a hidden benefit to having to drive all that crap to the dump and PAY to dispose of it?

I’m specifically talking about push mowers here. I carry my bag with me just in case, but except in early spring when the grass is growing like mad, I don’t bag, I just can’t find a good reason for it.

Am I missing something?

Until I get a larger walk behind mower or something, I really have no need to drag a trailer around with me unless I’m using it to haul grass clippings - and I rarely bag, so the trailer sits at home.

As I go about my day, I will notice these larger landscape companies with dump trucks and I see them dump their grass clippings in the back. Maybe when you have 3 or 4 guys hauling butt on a property, you can take the time to empty bags, but I truly can’t see the need to bag. My mower’s mulching blade works beautifully, so why bother bagging? Maybe I’m cutting different types of lawns/grass than those guys?”

A second lawn care business owner said “there is only one reason I might need to bag grass clippings. Sometimes a fertilizing company will blast the lawn with more than a pound of N per 1,000 sqft. It causes surge growth so any company mowing the lawn will need to bag up all the clippings and lower the mowing deck to strip out as much of the nutrients as possible. That causes the fertilizing company to blast it again and it starts the whole cycle all over.

I wanted to add that I only bag two lawns and one is for the reason mentioned above. It seriously gets 12+ inches of growth in 7 days (except in the really hot summer months) and the customer will not allow more than one cut per week.

Unless it’s really tall, I mulch, except if it’s the fall/spring to pick up the leaves. I have another customer that refuses to let me mulch the clippings. I said I can cut it on a day you are home and if you don’t like it I will do it again bagging it but she didn’t want to hear it. There is nothing left behind. My blades cut up the clippings so much there’s no trace. She also only has me cut it when she calls. About every two weeks. So I bag it and she said because there’s issues with disposal just dump it into her garbage can.

Customers telling me how to do my job is a pet peeve. Worse yet is when a customer’s neighbor starts bossing me around.”

A third shared “90% of my clients I either just side discharge or mulch with the tractor. I do however have one client who just requested I bag the front yard only (it’s a waterfront home) every 3-4 weeks. Regardless of amount of rain and how hot it is, the front always grows like its on steroids. Since it’s next to the water and the water table is right there, it always gets enough water. It’s always mildly damp when I mow it. If it rains that week, I am screwed because the growth is a nightmare.”

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