Grass Clippings For Lawn Care

by Nate on October 3, 2010

Grass Clippings For Lawn Care

There are two schools of thought when it comes to this issue – neither of which is definitive.

Some people say leave the clippings on the lawn after you mow. This not only saves time and energy, but the clippings decompose quickly and add vital nutrients back into the soil.

In fact, recycling grass clippings has recently taken on a movement of its own. Proponents call this practice “grass-cycling” and advocate that leaving those clipping where they lay saves time, landfill space and nurtures the soil.

The Professional Lawn Care Association says that About 20 percent of all waste that goes into a landfill is landscape debris and about half of that is simply grass clippings. With yard waste bans in place in many areas of the country, “grass-cycling” offers you an alternative, and at the same time increases the health and beauty of your lawn.

Grass clippings are 85 percent water, decompose rapidly, and return nutrients to the soil with no thatch buildup. They actually return 20 percent of their nitrogen to the soil to feed the lawn’s root system. And grass-cycling can be practiced year-round with most mowers.

On the other side of the spectrum, others say that leaving clippings on your lawn is not only unsightly, but it can cause damage to your lawn as well. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn becomes a problem only if they are too thick. If you mow the lawn before it gets overly tall, the mass of the grass clippings will not be sufficient to warrant raking.

When cut grass lays in large clumps, it could be preventing the grass below it from getting the sunshine and water that it needs to grow. This could leave behind unsightly brown patches of dead grass.

A good way to obviate having to rake grass clippings is to mow with mulching lawn mowers. When you have a mulching mower, the clippings are gathered in a bag and can be used in compost piles for fertilization.

Using mulching mowers can not only cut down on your yard maintenance, but also makes your grass greener. Otherwise, you may end up either raking or bagging your grass clippings — which in turn mean disposing of those grass clippings or recycling them – all of which means extra work.

The bottom line is that as long as you are mowing on a regular basis and you don’t leave behind clumps of clippings, it won’t cause any harm leaving those clipping right where they are.

Fall leaf removal is not only necessary from an aesthetic perspective but also from an agronomic perspective. Although turf grass growth slows or ceases this time of the year, the plant will continue to photosynthesize as long as the turf is green.

Energy in the form of carbohydrates captured and stored from photosynthesis will go to enhance root growth and accumulate in the storage compartments (nodes, crowns, etc) to be used the following year. Leaves left on the turf grass shade the turf grass leaves reducing the turf plants ability to photosynthesize. Thus, the full potential to capture sunlight is greatly diminished when leaves are left on the turf. Additionally, if the leaves get wet, a microclimate under these leaves promote disease development.

The primary diseases that are favored by this environment are (also known as pink snow mold or fusarium patch) and powdery mildew. Thus, blowing or raking those leaves off the turf is an important fall agronomic practice. Owning and taking care of a lawn mower is similar to owning and taking care of a car. If it is neglected, performance will suffer.

It doesn’t matter that you’ve neglected your lawn mower well into the season. Start caring for it now! First, install fresh spark plugs. They’re inexpensive enough to replace rather than clean or gap.

If your mower has a paper air filter, give that a complete replacement, too. For foam air filters, buy new mower replacement foam and soak it oil before installing.

Dull blades harm lawns. Ripped out chunks of grass are highly vulnerable to a myriad of lawn diseases. Either remove the blade with a socket wrench, hone it with a file (following the existing cutting angle), or take it to a lawn-care shop for professional sharpening.

It’s just good sense before doing any of this work to run the mower until it runs completely out of gas. Turn the mower filter-side up (to prevent clogging) and drain the oil. Be sure to remove the plug or plug wire to keep the mower from firing up while you’re up to your elbows in machinery. Be sure the tires are fully inflated – especially with riding mowers. Under-inflated tires on a riding mower can cause what we, in our family, usually refer to as crop circles – unevenly mowed patches that resemble that otherworld phenomenon that some people think exist.

Find tips about fertilizing lawn and lawn weeds at the Lawn Tips website.

Article from

Related Lawn Care Articles

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: