Grass Clippings: What Are They Good for?

Grass Clippings…Nuisance?

One of the most important aspects of Lawn Maintenance is mowing your lawn. Mowing your lawn is one of those chores that can seem daunting, especially when you think about all those grass clippings left behind by your mower. Those little pieces of chopped up grass can be such a nuisance to clean up once you’re done mowing. Some people rake these clippings up and throw them in the garbage; other opt to burn them, but neither of these methods of disposal are very environmentally friendly.

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…Nutrients!

You may not realize it, but you are throwing away a fantastic source of nutrients. These nutrients can be so beneficial to your lawn and gardens. You can do a world of good by simply leaving grass clippings on the lawn where they fall. No extra work necessary.

Since the grass is over 80% water, the clippings decompose and turn to healthy nutrients quickly. This means that leaving your grass clippings on your lawn after mowing is actually very beneficial. Depositing those nutrients back into your lawn can give you a healthier lawn overall.

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A modern lawn mower cutting through the grass.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Clippings that are too thick and long will not decompose quickly enough. This will create a buildup of thatch. Thatch is the layer of stems and roots that develops between the soil surface and the grass blades. A thick thatch layer can block nutrients and water from the soil and grass roots. (If you are dealing with thatch buildup, check out this blog from Greenhorizons Sod Farms for tips on getting it under control). In order to be sure the clippings will break down quickly enough and avoid that layer of thatch, mow your lawn more frequently.

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Other Options for your Grass Clippings

If you aren’t sure about leaving your clippings on your lawn, here are some other options for you to dispose of them:

  1. Gather the clippings into one pile to decompose. It will eventually break-down into compost so you can recycle the nutrients from your lawn straight to your garden.
  2. You can use the clippings as mulch! By placing a thin layer of the grass over your flower beds or vegetable gardens, you are allowing the plants to soak up as much nutrients as possible. This creates a better growing environment for your plants overall.
  3. Dispose of the clippings properly with a local recycling center. Many cities now have a yard waste recycling program that collects and disposes of waste like grass clippings, leaves, or dead branches in an environmentally friendly way.
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Though grass clippings can seem like a nuisance, there are many different advantages to be gained by using your clippings the right way. By leaving those clippings on your lawn and allowing them to decompose, you are depositing some great nutrients into your lawn. If you don’t love the look of the clippings on your lawn, look into other options. No matter what you do with them, don’t let those nutrients go to waste!

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