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So I heard from a big-box hardware store that before I lay down fall food, its best to mow with the bag on. Otherwise, I've always heard that I should avoid bagging except in very wet conditions. That said, I can see the logic in letting the chemicals penetrate into the soil instead of sitting on the layer of mulch. Is it advisable to bag prior to fertilizing?

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    Yes, bag the clippings - for the reason you've alaready worked out, you want the fertlizer as close as possible to the roots, not sitting on top of drying out lawn clippings. – Bamboo Sep 11 '16 at 11:58
  • I agree with Bamboo. I always bag clippings. They are a great source, easy to decompose organic matter spread very thinly on plant beds. I have yet to meet a TRUE mulching mower. And I've tried them all. Why would someone say to leave clippings in very wet conditions? When you fertilize you should always water right after. That gets the chemicals into the soil and root profile. Check out the new organic lawn fertilizers! I've used Dr. Earth's Lawn Fertilizer and was amazed! They also come with thatch eating bacteria and other good goodies for lawns. Slow release is better than fast. – stormy Sep 12 '16 at 19:44
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Your fertilizer would have to be sitting on some pretty impervious muck not to wash in the first time it rained. I think Mr Big Box was just trying to sound like the knowledgeable salesperson the TV promised you. Truth be told, the fertilizer will actually help the clippings break down faster.

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Also known as Grasscycling.

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Grass clippings are 80% water and a time releasing organic fertilizer.

There are only 2 main reasons not to Grasscycle.

  1. If you see signs of lawn disease, to avoid spreading the fungus.

  2. You recently applied a weed control product to the lawn.

Left on the lawn, grass clippings rapidly decompose being 80% water and serve as a time-release fertilizer, helping to promote steady growth.

According to experts with the Missouri Botanical Garden, you'll need 25 percent less fertilizer if you grasscycle. As the clippings add humus to the lawn soil, you'll also have more earthworms and other microorganisms that help break down plant particles even faster.

No need to worry about either, since you will be basically adding the same two things, water and fertilizer.

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