Is it a good idea to leave the grass clippings on the grass or not? And why?
Great question Andrea! One of my favorites. I’m on a mission to get people to stop bagging grass clippings and start grasscycling (recycling or mulching clippings).
It is always better to leave clippings on the lawn – if you can. Grass clippings are 90% water and 4% nitrogen by weight. When you mulch clippings you return organic matter and nutrients to the soil. ¼ of the nitrogen applied to a lawn is recycled when clippings are returned.
If you mow frequently and when the grass is dry, the clippings will disappear back into the yard – leaving it looking as good as a lawn that was bagged. Long and wet grass will leave clumps of clippings that need to be cleaned up. Clumps left on the lawn will smother the grass underneath and they look ugly. I use a leaf rake or blower to disperse grass clumps left by my mower.
Where I live, the city will pick up yard waste and haul it to a compost site – at the expense of the taxpayers. Yep…the city gets charged by the ton. It’s a good service. However, it encourages residents to bag their clippings. 90% of the people in my neighborhood collect their clippings every week and send them off to be composted. Silly and wasteful. At least they are going to a compost site and not a landfill…
Sometimes it is helpful to collect them. For example, it’s quick and easy to clean up debris from a storm with the mower bag attached. At times the grass is too long or wet to mulch. I will bag grass when mowing around a swimming pool to reduce the chances of clippings blowing into it.
I have a couple of clients who prefer that I bag clippings. They get charged extra to cover my hauling and dumping fees. And then…when I buy compost to use on their lawn, I buy it from the same compost site they paid me to haul their clippings to.
Yes! Leave your clippings on your lawn or compost them if you need to bag them.
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