Recycling Grass Clippings

Grass Cycling As You Mow

Not only do 50% of American homeowners routinely collect grass clippings and spend extra time bagging them and putting them curbside on trash day, but they also then go to the garden center and buy fertilizer to spread on the lawn to make the grass grow better. By "grasscycling", or reusing those clippings by leaving them on the lawn to fertilize the grass, the costs for fertilizer are significantly reduced. Time, and of course, tax dollars spent for landfill maintenance are also saved. . A again, by recycling your grass clippings in some fashion you reduce the volume of trash being picked up from your house by about 1/3.
Reduces fertilizer needs
Improves soil
Saves 30% in time to mow
Note - Grass clippings DO NOT cause thatch!
See the file “Mowing The Lawn” for much detail about the benefits of recycling grass clippings as you mow. The key to success is using a “mulching” type lawn mower. These mowers are design especially to cut grass blades three or four times before they are thrown back to the turf level. This action eliminates the problem of mown grass clumping up on top of the lawn after mowing. For more information about mulching mowers see Choosing A Lawn Mower.

Grass Clippings As Mulch

While we strongly recommend grasscycling, leaving grass clippings on the lawn, there are some instances where it may be necessary to collect the clippings. If you do not own a mulching mower and your mower tends to leave serious clumps of grass blades after mowing, then maybe you should continute to collect the clippings as you mow, BUT DON’T THROW THEM AWAY! If you do own a mulching mower, you still may need to collect the clippings if the grass has gotten terribly long because of illness or vacation. Usually in the fall when leaves begin to fall, you may wish to collect the clippings and the chopped leaves for a few mowings.
The point here is that grass clippings and chopped leaves make an excellent mulch around garden beds, under shrubs and trees, or under hedges. See the file on Mulching The Landscape. Spread grass clippings in thin layers--no more than an inch thick--so that the air can dry them before they decay and become putrid. Because grass clippings break down and disappear quite quickly, use them in conjunction with an existing mulch of chopped leaves, rather than as the sole mulching under a plant so the mulch will last longer. Be sure never to use grass clippings that have herbicide residue which may harm tender ornamental plants. Grass clippings that have been soaked by at least 1/4 inch of good rain fall after an application of herbicide is usually free of any dangerous levels of the chemicals.

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