Mulching leaves into the lawn with the 20 inch steel deck mower and high-lift blade

  • 7
  • Praise
  • Updated 2 years ago
Several months ago I read some articles about the benefits of mulching leaves into your lawn with your mower rather than removing them with a leaf-blower, rake, or even bagging them with your mower. Here are links to the the articles:

Since I read these articles I've been eager to try this out. Well, the leaves have started to come down here in northern New Jersey. They're not falling heavily yet, but they're coming down. I've been using the 20 inch steel deck mower with the 20 inch high-lift blade to mulch the leaves (as well as the grass clippings), leaving them on the lawn. I'm just thrilled with how it's working out so far. After I'm done mowing, it almost looks to me as though I had bagged the leaves. The lawn looks almost like a green carpet that's just been vacuumed. The mower and blade combination is really sucking the leaves up, chopping them into much less visible pieces, and leaving them on the lawn (where eventually they sift down into the grass and decompose). I took two photos of the lawn before mowing, and two photos of the same areas after mowing to give you an idea of what this mower and blade can do.

Here is one area of the lawn before mowing/mulching:


And here it is after mowing/mulching:

Here's another area of the lawn before mowing/mulching:

And here it is after mowing/mulching:

Certainly if I had bagged there would be less visible leaf debris, but I'm REALLY impressed with how well it chops up the leaves, making the pieces barely visible. Of course, when the leaves really start to fall heavily, I don't expect the lawn to look like that after mowing/mulching. I expect it'll look like there's a whole lot of chopped up autumn leaves in the grass. But, given the benefits mentioned by those articles, I don't mind if the lawn looks like that.

When the leaves start to fall heavily, I'm thinking of posting some more photos.

With regards to using the mulching blade vs. the high-lift blade, I think the mulching blade probably cuts what it sucks up into the deck into smaller pieces than the high-lift blade does. But because the high-lift blade sucks up a lot more into the deck, specifically leaves lying on the lawn, it winds up doing a much better job at leaf mulching, in my experience.
Photo of John


  • 2,056 Points 2k badge 2x thumb

Posted 2 years ago

  • 7
Photo of szwoopp

szwoopp, Champion

  • 108,300 Points 100k badge 2x thumb
Thanks for the article and your personal report John.  Keep the pictures and updates coming as fall progresses.  Very interesting topic.
Photo of Craig E.

Craig E.

  • 1,966 Points 1k badge 2x thumb
Same experience here. Very pleased.
Photo of Tom M

Tom M

  • 60 Points
I mulch a couple of times a year.
Over mulching tends to build up thus thatching is required every year, if not twice.
Tom M.
Photo of szwoopp

szwoopp, Champion

  • 107,312 Points 100k badge 2x thumb
I used to think that too, but that is not where thatch comes from.

They consist mostly of water and the remaining tissue is broken down through microbial activity. Grass clippings may add to an existing thatch problem but as long as the lawn is mowed regularly and a mulching mower is used, mulching lawn clippings into the lawn will not cause thatch buildup.
Learn More About the Benefits of Mulching - The Spruce
Photo of Tom Jacques

Tom Jacques

  • 844 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
I stopped bagging over 15 years ago after attending a John Deere owners orientation after I bought a new JD mower. Mulching if done right makes total sense. But I wasn't aware the EGO High Lift blade was a mulching blade. At least not the 21" blade that I would need. Hopefully our EGO rep will enlighten us. Cheers. USAF Retired
Photo of szwoopp

szwoopp, Champion

  • 107,312 Points 100k badge 2x thumb
The HL blade is designed to improve bagging not mulching.  But some have found the additional lift to result in a better mulch as well.

Depends on the grass type, height, and thickness.  The only way to know for sure is take one for a test drive on your lawn.

Personally, I found the HL to be great for bagging and the standard blade to be better for mulching.
Photo of Jacob


  • 65,090 Points 50k badge 2x thumb
Nice lawn bud. Looking good!!
Photo of bloomz


  • 14,622 Points 10k badge 2x thumb
I don't care what they call it - This High Lift blade is a mulch blade for me!