What is a mulching plug? The mowing essential you need

What is a mulching plug?

A lawnmower with a mulching plug
(Image credit: Getty Images / User2547783c_812)

We're well into the mowing season, and if you're looking to improve your lawn game, you may have come across mulching plugs. 

If you're new to mowing, it's not always obvious what a mulching plug is or why you'd need one. However, a mulching plug is the unsung hero of a healthy lawn. 

I've tested plenty of the best lawnmowers, so I know firsthand just how useful a mulching plug can be. I spoke to a lawn expert about the many benefits of mulching plugs as well as the minor issues you need to bear in mind. 

A lawnmower with a mulching plug mulching lawn clippings

(Image credit: Getty Images / owngarden)

What's the point of a mulching plug?

Lawncare expert Taylor Olberding told me 'A mulching plug is something that you put in the chute of your mower to help assist with mulching your grass clippings and leaves.' It's an incredibly simple mechanism. The plug does exactly what it says; it plugs up the back of your mower so that grass can't escape. 

This means that the grass clippings remain in the cutting deck. The wind generated by the blades keeps the clippings inside the deck, and the grass is cut into incredibly fine pieces. These pieces eventually fall onto your lawn for easy, homemade mulch.

Most lawnmowers come with mulching attachments, but you may have to buy a mulching plug separately. They're brand- and model-specific, so make sure you buy the plug that fits your mower. 

It's easy to fit a mulching plug. You just plug it into the back of your mower in the same place as the grass box. 

A headshot of lawncare expert Taylor Olberding
Taylor Olberding

Taylor is the Co-Owner of Heroes Lawn Care, a lawn care services company. A lawncare expert, Taylor has a degree in turf and landscape management from the University of Nebraska. 

What are the benefits of a mulching plug?

A cordless lawnmower in a garden

(Image credit: Getty Images / welcomia)

Mulching is a vital part of gardening, and your lawn is no exception. There are huge benefits to mulching your lawn. 

The first benefit is nutrition. Grass mulch breaks down over time and enriches the soil with nutrients, feeding your grass plants and keeping them healthy. 

Grass mulch also helps to keep weeds at bay. The mulch acts almost like a seal, covering the space between your grass plants and stopping weeds from growing in between. 

There's also a huge benefit if you live somewhere dry: mulching helps to keep your grass watered. The mulch stops water from evaporating from the surface of the soil.  The living grass plants also reuse the small amounts of water in the grass clippings. If you live somewhere prone to drought, a mulching plug can be the difference between a green, healthy lawn and an ugly yellow thatch. 

Mulching means that all the grass clippings which would usually go into the composter or the trash are immediately reused. Lawn expert Taylor Olberding agrees. 'Mulching your grass clippings is recommended when you mow as it converts your mower into a mulching machine, recycling grass clippings to nourish your lawn and help to improve soil health.'

What are the drawbacks of a mulching plug?

mowing a lawn

(Image credit: lutavia / E+ / Getty Images)

There are basically no drawbacks to using a mulching plug on your lawn. The only potential issue is aesthetics; you may not like the sight of tiny clumps of grass on your lawn. If your kids play sports out on your lawn, they're likely to track some grass clippings back into the house, but this is also likely after mowing with a grass bag, and it's a pretty minor inconvenience. 

A mulching plug may also set off allergies because the clippings are left on the lawn rather than sucked into a grass box. However, mowing of any kind is likely to cause this problem, so it's not a drawback specific to mulching.

The only real issue is if you misuse your mulching plug. Lawn expert Taylor Olberding told me that 'If your grass is really wet or long your mower may clog up when trying to mulch, so you may need to clean and maintain your mower more frequently.'

Mulching plug FAQs

Do I need a mulching plug for a robot mower?

No, you don't need a mulching plug for a robot mower. Robot mowers don't use grass boxes; they mulch as standard, so there's no need for mulching plug. 

For more advice on lawnmowers, check out my coverage of corded mowers vs cordless mowers, or whether or not your lawnmower blades can be too sharp.

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.