Add Them To Your Compost
What to do with lawn clippings if you dont want them on your lawn?
The next best thing to do with lawn clippings is to use them in your compost. They provide a ton of nitrogen so are a super nutrient boost to your compost pile. Just make sure you add equal amounts of dry matter like dry leaves, cardboard or shredded newspaper to balance it out.
If you dont have a compost yet, its really easy to get going! Using a compost tumbler is a great place to start as it contains your compost and provides the right amount of aeration while making it super easy to turn over no heaving a pitchfork and doing your back in!
What To Do With Lawn Clippings
There are two trains of thought when it comes to lawn clippings either leave them on the lawn to return to the soil or take them right away. But which is truly the right option?
A natural lawn generates oxygen for us to breath and it creates a cool surface to sit or play on. It also produces lots and lots of clippings over the course of a year. What is the best way to deal with lawn clippings?
Do Grass Clippings Cause Thatch
The first myth we need to dispel is the thatch myth. Many homeowners, and even some professionals, incorrectly assume that leaving clippings will contribute to thatch. However, thatch and grass clippings are not related.
Thatch is a layer of undecomposed organic material between the top of the soil and the actively growing vegetation. While too much thatch can cause problems, grass clippings do not contribute to that. Cut grass is made up of water and easily-decomposable organic material. Under normal circumstances, cut grass decomposes quickly and does not contribute to thatch.
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Using Clippings As Mulch
In general, putting mulch around flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees helps reduce weeds, conserve moisture and moderate soil temperatures. Grass clippings are a good mulch option with a few conditions:
- Do not apply more than 1 or 2 inches of grass clippings at one time.
- Use dry clippings. Wet grass clippings can mat down, reducing reduce oxygen and moisture from getting down into the soil.
- When oxygen is limited, anaerobic decomposition of the clippings may take place, leading to the production of offensive odors.
Why Does The Borough No Longer Accept Grass Clippings With Yard Waste
As of January 2019, the Borough stopped accepting grass clippings with yard waste. In the past, Public Services took residential grass clippings to a facility in Upper Merion for disposal. This facility no longer accepts grass clippings from other municipalities. Unfortunately, there are no other nearby facilities that we can take our grass clippings to without significantly increasing operating costs.
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The Case For Leaving Lawn Clippings On The Lawn
Some people like to let clippings fall back onto the lawn. The dead plant material is pulled into the soil and broken down by minibeasts and microbes to make plant food. Its recycling just as nature intended.
Returning clippings to the lawn only really works well if you are only cutting a very little bit of the grass blade off and if the grass is relatively dry.
I remember sitting in a classroom watching a tractor and gang mowers cut the school playing field. It smelled divine but it did leave a lot of debris behind. Huge clumps of clippings and if the weather was wet, it would be huge soggy lumps that congealed and gradually turned brown leaving dead patches on the surface of the grass. On grass cutting day, the boys couldnt wait for play time so they could run outside and throw grass at each other.
That was OK for a primary school field. It wouldnt work on a stadium or on an ornamental lawn.
On a garden lawn, its really for you to use your discretion. Theres a rhyme to remember here If its dry, let them fly
In other words, short dry clippings on a hot day wont do any harm if you let them fall onto the lawn. In fact some say they help to conserve moisture. If the grass is long or wet its better to remove the clippings. Either rake them up after mowing or pop the grass box on the mower.
Bagging Your Grass Clippings
One option is to bag your grass clippings. In some cases, a mower may require a bag. If that is the case, you dont have much choice. Never try to remove the bag from a mower that is built for one. The result can be dangerous. However, even if the bag is optional on your mower, there are some good reasons to bag your clippings.
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Remove Grass Clippings From Your Lawn
This will decrease the amount of clipping you put in your compost pile and allow more room for other, non-grass-related items. Make sure to never include diseased plants or parts of plants since this can prevent your composting efforts from being successful. If you want to avoid grass clipping recycling completely, you can simply wait for your clippings to decompose in the lawn or mow more often.
It is important to do grass clipping recycling correctly because leaving too many clippings on the ground will cause them to mat down and restrict water absorption by your plants roots. This could potentially kill your plants if their water intake is decreased by too much. If you dont want to compost your grass clippings, then consider using them as mulch in place of the standard black or gold material used around flowers and bushes.
This can also help prevent weeds from growing, leaving more room for your gardens natural beauty to shine through!
How To Grass Cycle Your Lawn
Grasscycling is an easy way to harness the natural fertilizing power of your grass clippings. To get the most out of grasscycling, follow these tips when you mow:
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Is It Bad To Water Your Lawn On A Hot Day
Rather than settling on blades of grass as scorching magnifying glasses, water droplets evaporate quickly when the sun directly hits them and heat is high. To avoid this evaporation, water your lawn in the early morning. In other words, dont let the sun scare you from watering your lawn when its at its thirstiest.
Giving Them Out To Friends Family And Neighbors
Those grass clippings you see or consider useless can be useful to someone your friends, family, or even that next-door neighbor. Before you think of tossing the clippings into the dumpster, donating to the nearest agribusinesses or farms, enquire whether or not your neighbor might need some.
They can also spread the clippings on their lawn, and save it from the beating by elements. They can also use it for mulching plants in their backyard, or better still use it in their composite bins.
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What Should And Shouldn’t Be Put Into The Compost Pile
Put in the compost pile:
- Grass Clippings
- Twigs, leaves and weeds except ones that have gone to seed, or spread by runners, such as Morning Glory or Buttercup
- Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
- Egg Shells
- Fruit and vegetable scraps and
- Shredded newspaper. Do not add the glossy newspaper inserts, as they contain chemicals in the colored inks and coated paper that might be harmful to plants when you apply compost at its completion.
Don’t put in the compost pile:
- Diseased plants
- Destructive, stalky weeds
- Twigs, leaves and weeds that have gone to seed, or spread by runners, such as Morning Glory or Buttercup
- Animal or human waste
- Meat, fish, or scraps and bones
- Oils and other fatty food products or
- Milk products.
Is It Ok To Leave Grass Clippings On The Lawn
Lets imagine two scenarios.
Scenario 1: If the lawn was grown too high before the mowing, then leaving the grass clippings on the lawn can pose a problem.
This can hinder the growth of the lawn especially if the grass clippings stick together. Sticking together can be caused by rain or when you are watering your lawn with your sprinkler. In this case, it is advisable to remove the grass clippings.
Scenario 2: If the grass isnt grown too high, then you can leave it on the lawn. However, theres something important you should do.
Stand afar off 2 to 4 houses away from your own and look at your lawn. If the grass clippings make the lawn look scrawny, then you need to remove some if not all of it.
It is important to know that by leaving grass clippings on the lawn, you are returning quite a handful of things into the lawn.
Jessy K of GreenActionCenter shares the same view. In fact, Jessy is of the opinion that leaving the grass clippings on your lawn adds moisture and nutrients.
These are two important things needed for the growth of your lawn.
Now heres the answer to the question we asked at the beginning of the article.
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Make Into A Liquid Feed
Liquid organic fertilizers are seemingly more popular year on year in the store but you can make your own liquid plant feed by steeping a couple of handfuls of cut grass in a bucket of water. Keep the water indoors to reduce mosquitoes or use an organic mosquito control option.
After about 2 weeks, it look like the image above and will smell pretty terrible, but the plants will love adding a dash of this to the watering can as you water. You can also use the same technique for perennial weeds.
Tips On What To Do With Grass Clippings After Mowing
Did you know that grass clippings have loads of beneficial uses and shouldnt be thrown in the trash?
Well, youre in the right place!
Grass clippings are a really valuable form of garden waste. You just have to know what to do with them!
Im going to list the best ways to put your grass clippings to good use and explain why you should definitely be recycling this precious resource.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you shop through the links on YardThyme, we may earn an affiliate’s commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. For more information, read full disclosure here.
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Uses For Grass Clippings
If you choose to bag your clippings instead of leaving them on the lawn, you might be wondering what to do with the grass clippings. Clippings can be used as compost for your garden. Dont use grass clippings as mulch if you recently used a weed killer on the lawn.
Note: Grass clippings are good for your lawn as they will offer healthy nutrients to your lawns soil, and it is still fine to leave them behind after mowing. Longer grass can invite lawn pests, which often hide in shady areas of your yard. If you prefer the look of a shorter lawn, or wish to keep your grass short for pest prevention purposes, it may not be advisable to grass cycle at the recommended height of 2 ½ to 3 inches.
So consider keeping your grass clippings and using them to help your lawns overall health.
Add Grass Clippings To Compost
An alternative to leaving the clippings on the lawn is to bag them and then add them to your compost pile or bin. They will break down very quickly in the pile and will enrich your compost with a boost of nitrogen, along with a number of other essential nutrients. They also help to heat up the overall temperature of the pile, which speeds up the decomposition of the other materials in the compost.
You can either add your clippings to an open compost pile or to an enclosed compost bin. If youre new to composting or want to know more about the process, read through our guide on How to Compost where we have gone through the benefits along with a how-to guide on composting at home.
Method: Composting Grass Clippings
1. Add Clippings with Brown Materials
Add the grass clippings to your compost pile or bin along with your choice of brown materials. When building a compost pile, you should aim to have a balance of about green materials to brown materials in order for the matter to break down properly. Along with the clippings, add shredded paper, cardboard, straw, dry leaves, or alternative fibrous compostable material. As a note, if the grass has dried out and turned brown before being added to the pile, its then considered a brown material.
2. Mix Clippings into Pile by Turning
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Grass Clippings: What To Do With Them
When you leave grass clippings in the yard, does that make you a lazy groundskeeper? No! It makes you a pro at grasscycling and the king/queen of innovative nutrition for your lawn. Here’s what to do with grass clippings on your property.
The experts at The Grounds Guys have a few tips on how you can be the next Grasscycling Guru, protect your lawn, and help the environment all at the same time. All you have to do is leave the grass clippings where they lie.
What is Grasscycling?
Grasscycling, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery , is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. It is considered eco-friendly because it cuts down on water use, reduces the need for fertilizers, and eliminates un-necessary waste in dumping sites. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency , yard waste accounts for 18% of the waste that is dumped into landfills, and can rise to as high as 50% during the growing season.
Four steps to grasscycle properly
Seems almost too easy! Grasscycling adds nitrogen to the soil as the grass decomposes and releases the water stored in the stem to feed and water the freshly cut grass. By leaving the clippings alone, you also eliminate unnecessary work of gathering and bagging the clippings in the yard.
Keep Your Container Garden Happy
Ilove the ease and convenience of having all sorts of vegetables and herbsgrowing in containers on my back patio my kitchen is just inside the patio door.
WhatI dont like is lugging heavy watering cans from the other side of the housewhere the spigot is to water them every day.
To keepthis little exercise routine of mine down to a minimum, I put a good layer ofgrass clippings in my containers on top of the soil. Thislocks in moisture and provides a bit of fertilizer.
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Finally Keep This In Mind
Grass clippings do not cause thatch: shocking, right? Leaving grass clippings on your lawn will not cause thatch. Clippings are mostly water and will decompose after a while as long as you mow regularly.
When to bag clippings: I know I said you could use your clippings for many other things, but when you notice your grass has some diseases, it is best to bag them and have waste disposal take them out. This will prevent the spread of the disease.
Grass clippings can be used extensively in your home, saving you money and time in the process.
Healthy Lawns Start With Quality Turf
If you want a beautiful lawn, there is no question that properly dealing with your clippings helps, whether you bag or you dont.
For that ultra-manicured, professional-sports-field look, you need to bag your clippings. Theres no way around it. You just have to figure out what to do with the grass clipping. If you can, compost or recycle them. There are many recycling centers that specialize in yard waste. Avoid sending clippings to a landfill, and never burn them.
If you want a more natural way to keep nutrients in your lawn, leave your clipping to decompose and recycle their minerals. As long as you keep your grass mowed, the small clippings wont show too much, and you can naturally boost your turf. The result is a healthy green lawn that you can be proud of.
No matter what you do with your clippings, if you want a beautiful, thick, lush lawn, you need to start with the right turf. Growing turf is part science and part art. The Turfgrass Group sells turf that has been scientifically developed to withstand stress and grow thick and healthy. We know that your turf may sometimes not get everything it needs. Soil conditions, weather, and foot traffic can conspire to harm your turf. Thats why its important to use a turf that was developed to take a beating and grow lush and beautiful. You can find a grower for any of our turf grasses right here.
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