This is a common question and the answer is – it depends. But generally, it’s better for your Central Florida grass to leave the clippings (mulch) on your lawn.
Mulched grass provides more nutrients for your lawn, particularly nitrogen which is an essential ingredient that makes your lawn look green and healthy. In fact, natural clippings left behind can provide about 25% of your lawn’s annual nitrogen needs. Clippings also act as a natural mulch that helps preserve soil moisture and protect your lawn through drought stress during the hot Florida days.
However, there is a catch! You need to mow your lawn regularly. Your lawn should generally be an average of about 2-3 inches tall depending on the type of Central Florida Sod you installed. That is the optimal height for absorbing the mulch or fertilizer nutrients effectively. And you should not cut more than a third off the top of your grass (about an inch or less) to prevent injuring your lawn and keep it from going into shock.
If your grass is high, it’s better to take a bit off at a time. No more than about a third of the grass blade height and bag your clippings. Then give it a couple of days and mow it again to bring it down to an appropriate height. Although the natural mulch of grass clippings is generally good, if it’s too long or there is too much of it, it can clump and smother your lawn denying it of sunlight and its ability to absorb the nutrients. If you are faced with this situation and you don’t have a bag on your mower, you can use a blower after you mow to remove the excess from your lawn.
It’s also important to mow your grass when it is dry. Wet grass will easily clump and cause the same problems as grass clippings that are too high or thick. One last tip: keep your mower blade sharp. A clean cut on the top of your lawn as opposed to being ripped off by a dull blade is not only healthier for your lawn but will keep it looking better and prevent clumping.
So, If you were thinking that not bagging your lawn clippings was lazy, it’s not. It’s actually smart and better for making your lawn green, beautiful, and the envy of your neighbors. All you have to do is mow regularly and maintain your mower.