What do You do with Grass Clippings?
For many years, property owners in search of more manicured lawns have been bagging lawn clippings and putting them on the curb for pick up. This process has become such the “norm” that property owners cannot see the forest for the trees.
What would happen if you started leaving those grass clippings on the turf after you mowed? You would be helping your turf, your wallet, your time, and the environment if you just left the grass clippings on the turf – this process is called Grasscycling.
Grasscycling refers to the process of leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. This act allows the clippings to return a large quantity of nutrients to the turf thus too valuable to throw away. One study found that lawns where clippings were removed needed up to 35% more nitrogen to maintain the same level of green color as lawns that performed grasscycling. Did you know that grass clippings left on the turf can cover up to 25% of your lawn’s fertilizer needs?
Regular mowing is necessary to make this process work. If you mow often enough, the clippings quickly disappear into the lawn. You may end up mowing the lawn a few more times each season, but you will eliminate time handling and bagging clippings.
You will have an instant impact on your local landfill problem by grasscycling. Grass clippings and other yard wastes are filling up landfill space so finding alternate ways of disposing of yard waste is an important way to help the environment.
Grasscycling is a “no brainer” for property owners. Don’t you want to save your time, your money, feed your lawn, and aid in the nation’s landfill problems?
Two common misconceptions surround grasscycling: that it causes thatch and spreads lawn diseases.
- Thatch is caused by the parts of grass plants that are decay-resistant: things like roots, stems and shoots. Grass clippings are roughly 75–80% water and decompose quickly.
- The spread of lawn disease occurs when conditions are favorable for the disease organism and the lawn is susceptible due to poor health. Most diseases develop when lawns are improperly watered and fertilized.
When Not to Grasscycle
When something prevents you from mowing and grass grows excessively long, do not grasscycle. Instead gather and recycle clippings by:
- Composting grass cuttings.
- Using as mulch around perennials or vegetables.
- Sprinkling over dirt garden paths.
- Mixing into soil in new planting areas.