Should I Slash or Mulch?
Simply put slashing is the older method and form of technology. Mulching involves more modern methods and machinery. Both machines are used to cut grass or pasture in order to control height and, density.
Slashing initially leaves long lengths of grass, often in windrows, on top of the crop rather than on the soil surface. At this point it is adding no value in terms of organic material (mulch) availability to the soil. It is also affecting growth of plants directly underneath. In the case of a grazing pasture, it compromises availability of premium grass for stock to graze on.
Slashers are sometimes purchased for grazing properties where affordability of the machine is the primary driver. Another factor is that the benefits of mulching are not truly understood. Usually slashers are around half the cost of a mulcher. In this case it is accepted and understood that the result is a compromise as compared to mulching.
However in problem areas that have become overgrown, where grazing is not a consideration, a slasher is an effective machine for gaining control and getting the grass back into a manageable state.
Mulchers: generally categorised into two types of machine.
High body with a Y flail.
Useful with managing tall grass or crops especially in a grazing situation. As compared to a slasher blade, the mulcher flails will cut/shred the grass into much shorter lengths. Most mulchers are fitted with a shredding bar to retain the grass inside the machine until it has been shredded to the shortest possible length. This means it falls to the ground where it breaks down as mulch. It also overcomes long lengths of grass lodging in the canopy of the pasture which affects stock grazing habits. High body machines are also useful for mulching crop residue such as cereals and cotton. Machines fitted with Y flails can also cope with light prunings.
Low body with a hammer flail.
Can be used both on grass and in orchards, parks and gardens. In the case of parks and gardens, where neatness is a primary consideration, a hammer flail will produce a flatter more even result in terms of height. These machines are also useful for problem scrub areas and roadside maintenance. They tend to leave a coarser result than Y flails but they cope more easily with heavier prunings.