What is mulching in gardening and what are the benefits of doing it? Lawn expert Andy Wain explains all

This is everything you need to know about mulching

 If you've ever heard the term mulching but aren't 100 per cent sure what it is or why you should be doing it, you've come to the right place. We've asked garden experts and friend of the site Andy Wain for the lowdown on mulching. Andy is Head Gardener at Euridge Manor in the Cotswolds, where he spends many a day tending the lawns.

Learn how to take the best care of your outdoor space with more tips and garden ideas 

'One way to achieve a lush lawn is through regular fertilising,' says Andy. 'However this doesn’t need to mean using chemical treatments – mulching is a great natural alternative.'

What is mulching?

'Mulching is basically the process of cutting the grass and chopping the clippings into tiny pieces, with one pass of the mower,' Andy explains. 'These clippings are then returned to the turf containing all the essential nutrients the lawn needs for healthy growth.'

How do I mulch my lawn with a lawn mower?

lawn mower machine

(Image credit: Stihl)

'Mulching can be achieved by using a special mower that has been designed to mulch,' says Andy. 'These mowers are often not able to collect grass. Instead, they have a special profile in the cutter deck and a specially designed blade.'

“However, there are some mowers out there that offer the best of both worlds. They collect the clippings in a grass box but can also be converted into a mulching mower with an accessory kit.'

'The Stihl RMA 339 C, RMA 443 C, RMA 443 TC and RMA 448 TC are all good examples of cordless mowers which can be fitted with a mulching kit. Most Stihl 3 series mowers through to 7 series can be converted to mulching mowers, too.'

Related: Best lawn mowers 2020 – the top models for cutting the lawn and clearing leaves

'For those who want a perfectly manicured and fertilised lawn but without the labour, then it is worth looking at robotic mulching mowers, too. As well as doing all the hard work so you don’t have to, you can control the mower from wherever you are simply by using an app. The STIHL iMow mows little and often, so that fine clippings are constantly returned to the lawn on a regular basis.'

Discover more: iMow robotic mower, from £999, Stihl

Is the length of my grass important?

'Check the length of your grass – if it is too long the clippings can clump together and won’t break down. It can also cause problems with the performance of the mower.'

How often should I mulch?

healthy lawn with flowers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

'Mulch up to three times every fortnight,' suggests Andy. 'Whilst this might seem a lot, it will help to maintain a healthy lawn, especially throughout the key growing season.'

Can I mulch when it's raining?

'Avoid mulching when it’s wet,' advises Andy. 'Damp clippings can build up under the mower and won’t break down on the lawn.'

Related: Lawn care tips – great ideas for healthier grass

You can follow Andy and more of his gardening exploits on Instagram @_andy__w

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.