Lawn Care Tips

Recycle Your Lawn, Don't Bag

Mark Leonard

We humans produce a lot of trash. Our landfills are running out of space. It is estimated that up to 18% of trash hauled to the landfill each year is yard waste, and 75% of it is composed of  grass clippings. One thousand square feet of lawn area can produce 200 lbs of grass clippings per growing season. That's a lot of trash, not to mention all the plastic bags used to put it in.  We are filling our landfills with material that can be 100% recycled!

Grasscycling is the practice of leaving your grass clippings lie on the grass after mowing. Grass clippings are almost 90% water and are very high in nitrogen. That's a lot of valuable nutrients that could be utilized by the grass instead of being thrown away. Not bagging your grass clippings, and returning them to the soil, is a natural way to fertilize your lawn.

A big misconception about Grasscycling is that grass clippings cause thatch build up. Thatch consists of dead grass stems and roots of the grass plant itself. Grass clippings break down quickly and are recycled back into the lawn, providing additional nutrients to promote growth.

Effective recycling of grass clippings does require more frequent mowing. In order for grass clippings to decompose properly they must be cut into small pieces. This means setting mowers to a higher mowing height and never cutting off more than 1/3 of the grass blade when mowing. Mowing more often and leaving the clippings actually takes less time than mowing weekly and bagging.

If the grass becomes too long between mowings, additional time and effort may be required to rake the clippings before bagging. Mulching mowers are designed for the purpose of grass recycling, but any mower will do the job if the grass is mowed frequently enough to keep it from getting too long.

Leaving your grass clippings will return vital nutrients back to the soil, promoting a healthier lawn and reducing the need for additional applications of fertilizer.

Don't bag. It's time to mow it high and leave it lie.