How to Mulch and Bag Leaves with a Lawnmower

How to mulch and bag leaves with a lawnmower

Before winter kicks in, there is always the need to take a few steps to winterize your yard so that when spring comes, it will be tidy and fresh, ready for green grass and blooming flower weather. One of the most essential aspects of winterizing is the removal of fallen leaves.

There are many ways to get around this including raking and vacuuming them away or even leaving them to degrade, but they’re all meant for the same thing: maintaining the yard.

When leaves fall in abundance and left where they fall, they pile up, cause moisture, and get dirtier. Since the sun will not reach the ground or rather the grass, the rotten mucky mess will suffocate your lawn by depriving it of light and air, which will end up attracting more critters.

But you don’t want that; you need to get rid of those leaves before the snow falls. While there’s no one perfect way to deal with fallen leaves, methods vary by site, features, and volume of leaves. You can use a leaf blower, rake them by hand or mulch them up with a lawnmower.

On that note, mulching leaves with a lawnmower proves to be the most efficient and least strenuous method for the homeowner. It helps to maintain a healthy protective mulch for the grass while cleaning up unsightly leaves and keeping the leaf litter from suffocating the yard.

So in this article, we will discuss how to mulch and bag leaves with a lawnmower, which proves to be the most efficient and least strenuous method for the homeowner.

Besides, the majority of homeowners already have a mower, and this eliminates the need for other new costly equipment. Leaf mulching can be a great practice for lawn care.

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Leaf Mulching Explained

Leaf Mulching Explained

Mulching leaves with a lawnmower can help reduce loads of leaves to about one-tenth of the entire volume. This method also mixes the leaf particles with grass clippings. The combination of the carbon-rich leaves and nitrogen-rich grass composts quite faster compared to when they’re separated.

Mulching leaves with a mower also brings the advantage of combining grass clippings with the leaves. You can choose to leave the clippings in the garden for composting purposes, but whether you leave them or collect them is entirely up to you.

Mowers that can mulch, bag, and side discharge are particularly proficient at removing leaves. You can get a mulching kit for the mower, although this isn’t always necessary.

The side discharge technique is usually ideal for mulching the leaves back into the grass, or when you’re planning to collect them later with a mower and bag. It is a good option when the grass is wet and tall, or when the leaves are notably moist.

How to Mulch Leaves With a Lawnmower

How to Mulch Leaves With a Lawnmower

Leaf mulching can be as easy as grabbing your mower and pushing a few passes. A mulching mower or a special mulching blade might be a viable investment, especially if you have a thick layer to clear. Check out the steps below to mulch your way to a clean, fresh yard.

Use Your Mower to Mulch the Leaves on the Lawn

There are a lot of lawnmowers with mulching capabilities on the market and it is easy to outfit a regular mower with a high lift mulching blade specially designed for mulching leaves. But that’s not always necessary.

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You can chop up the leaves with any kind of lawn mower, although you might have to perform a few passes for a job well done.

Irrespective of what type of lawnmower you have, remember to set the mower height or mulching blades to the highest setting for leaf mulching. Then take out the leaf bag.

If the layer of the leaves is particularly thick, you might want to scatter them across or clean up some from the top. Note that bagging leaves are suitable when the leaves are dry to slightly wet. Else, your mower will be clogged.

Connect the bag with the mower and after collecting the leaves, bring a trap to a part of the garden, and dump the particles onto it, to make it easier to move them at once.

You can dispose of the mess in the woods or leave it at the curb for pick up. You can also dump the clippings into the leaf bags if you are using collection bags.

Shred the Leaves into Pieces

Next up, mow the lawn just like you normally do. The point here is to shred the leaves into small pieces- about half an inch in diameter. Depending on the volume and size of the leaves, it might take a few more passes to achieve such dime-size pieces.

After that, the leaf shreds will start resting between the grass blades to reveal most of the lawn. It’s possible for someone to think you used a rake rather than a lawn mower, so for utmost neatness, mulching would be a good idea.

Use Your Mower to Bag The Excess

It is advisable to mulch leaves every week during the pick of the season to prevent the leaves from accumulating exceedingly.

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For instance, you can leave the mowed, diced leaves in place for one week. The next week, bring the bag collector and go over the leaves in line with the previous pass. Then clean up the mulched leaves and remains on the garden bed to enhance your lawn care practices.

When you are done but still are unable to see the grass- probably due to the shredded leaves that are scattered all over the lawn, simply add the leaf bags to the lawn mower and make one more pass over the grass.

This will help to remove the leaves completely and make it easier to collect loads of mulched leaves, which you throw into your compost pile or your garden beds.

Mulched Leaves Decompose and Fertilize the Lawn

Decomposing leaf particles provide the soil with helpful nutrients that graze the worms and microbes present in a healthy garden. Possibly, the nitrogen boost associated with mulching leaves may be rich enough that you won’t even have to fertilize the yard when the fall comes.

That means leaf mulching is more lawn-friendly and straightforward than raking. It is also less costly as you can save both time and money spent on fertilizing and bagging leaves.

It’s a shame to have leaves on your lawn during fall or piling them by the curb all wrapped up in plastic papers, when you could use them to nourish and maintain your grass and garden beds.

Alternative Methods to Mulch Leaves

Alternative Methods to Mulch Leaves

Although mulching leaves with a lawnmower is probably the most common solution, there are still other options. Check out the following leaf mulching methods for your lawn care.

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Handheld Mulcher

These are the most common types of leaf mulchers and they resemble the shape of leaf blowers. They might have an electric cord, battery power, or gas. Most of them are designed to chop the leaves and collect them in a leaf bag.

String Trimmer

If you can manage to protect your eyes and are ready to tackle a little dust, a string trimmer (sometimes referred to as a weed whacker) can be a great option worth considering.

Simply throw the leaves into a trash can or large bucket, and attach the string trimmer. You’ll have the leaves mulched in a matter of minutes. you might want to use some dust-blocking gear.

Stand-alone Mulcher

Made for shredding, this tool sits in a spot on your lawn, with a design like that of a wood chipper. Simply dump the leaves into the hopper and take out the attached collection bags to carry the mulched leaves to another area of the garden.



Getting rid of all the leaves on the lawn during fall can sometimes be a bit daunting. However, it is important to keep in mind that leaf removal is essential to the health of your yard.

A thick layer of leaves on your yard can prevent the grass from absorbing nutrients, sunlight, and air, which can cause flooding, diseases, or even attract pests. Hopefully, the above tips on how to mulch and bag leaves with a lawn mower will come in handy for a healthier lawn.

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Emily Grice

Emily Grice

Em Grice is a content writer specialising in horticulture and botany who combines her respect for the natural world with her love for the written word. A regular contributor - with a First Class Honours BA in Politics and Sociology and MA in History - to a range of international publications and organisations, she is most at peace when pottering in her own little garden in the north of England

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