Forget those long-held beliefs that grass clippings left on a lawn smother the grass, or cause excessive thatch buidup. Grass clippings are actually good for the lawn. From now on, don't bag your lawn clippings — "grass cycle" them.
Grasscycling improves lawn quality when grass clippings are allowed to decay naturally on the lawn, they release valuable nutrients, add water-saving mulch and encourage natural soil aeration by earthworms. For those concerned about our landfills, grass cycling cuts down on the volume of material making that trip. According to to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, bagging grass clippings from just 1000 square feet of lawn can generate 300 pounds of waste that would be deposited in a landfill.
When done properly, clippings quickly decompose and return the nutrients to the soil naturally. Not only does it make caring for your lawn easier, but it can also reduce your mowing time by 50% because you don’t have to pick up afterwards. Leaving clippings on the lawn also slows water loss through evaporation and reduces the needs for fertilization. To grass-cycle properly, cut the grass when it’s dry and always keep your mower blades sharp.
Here are a few more tips to help maximize the advantages of grass cycling clippings on the lawn:
Remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf surface area with each mowing.
Mow when the lawn is dry.
Use a sharp mower blade. A dull mower blade bruises and tears the grass plant, resulting in a ragged, tarnished appearance at the leaf tip.
Aerate your lawn. In the spring, rent an aerator which removes cores of soil from the lawn. This opens up the soil and permits greater movement of water, fertilizer, and air by increasing the speed of decomposition of the grass clippings and enhancing deep root growth.
Water thoroughly when needed. During the driest period of summer, lawns require at least one inch of water every five to six days.
Grasscycling is a simple, easy opportunity for every homeowner to do something good for the environment. Grasscycling is a responsible environmental practice and an opportunity for all homeowners to reduce their waste. And the best part is, it takes less time and energy than bagging and dragging that grass to the curb.