After mowing your lawn, you may decide to put those grass clippings into a bag for pickup by your city. However, did you know that you can use grass clipping in your garden as a fertilizer? Lawn clippings have valuable nutrients like nitrogen and can work great as a mulch option, including limiting weeds and reducing landfill waste. Your yard’s waste via lawn clippings can be a great addition to your soil and vegetable garden beds, saving you money on fertilizer.
So, what are grass clipping, and what do plants and vegetables need to grow healthy and strong? How often do homeowners cut their grass, and what happens to grass clippings when the city picks them up? What are the pros and cons of using grass clippings in your gardens?
Here is the complete breakdown of using grass clippings for gardens and mulch.
What are Grass Clippings?
Grass clippings contain water, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These clippings come from cutting your lawn grass with a lawnmower. Depending on the height of the cut, more or fewer amounts of the grass will go into a lawn bag.
You can either dump that excess grass into a bag or preserve it for your garden soil or your flowerbeds. It tends to take about a week or two for lawn clippings to decompose on the soil. Also, the thicker the layer of grass will tend to take longer than two weeks to decompose.
If you choose to have your town or city pick up your grass clippings, the chances are that they are going to a landfill.
How Often Do People Cut Their Lawn?
According to Garden Seeker, an average lawn gets cut every 7-10 days. In addition to that, the calendar for cutting your grass goes from the early spring to early fall.
Why is Grass Clippings Good for Plants?
Plants and vegetables need proper sunlight, water, soil, and nutrients to grow healthy and strong. Some of those nutrients in grass include water, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which plants and vegetables desire. That means that putting the cut grass, or fresh grass clippings, on your garden mulch will be beneficial in multiple ways.
What are the Pros of Using Grass Clippings on Your Garden and Mulch?
There are numerous pros to using grass clippings on your home garden’s soil. Here are some of the pros to be familiar with when using this organic fertilizer method.
Cheap DIY Organic Fertilizer
Your grass trimmings are the perfect answer if you need an affordable DIY fertilizer for organic gardening. Grass contains water, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which are all elements that raised bed gardens, vegetable gardens, and plants in soil and mulch need. In addition to that, you can put grass clippings into a compost bin, which can then be part of nutrient-rich DIY fertilizer.
Reduces Landfill Waste
There are multiple studies for universities and government websites detailing how much grass clippings go into landfills yearly. Here are some reflections of grass clippings and landfills to be familiar with.
- According to EPA.gov, about 10.5 million tons of lawn clippings went into landfills in 2018.
- NY Department of Environmental Conservation states that 10% of the garbage produces comes from lawn clippings.
- The University of Idaho says that 10-20% of waste collection by communities goes into landfills.
- Connecticut State Website says that not picking up your grass can reduce your lawn care cutting time by 40%.
- Lawn Nation says that most grass clippings in landfills decompose with other materials. However, it is not 100% decomposable, contributing to landfill mase.
Reduces Additional Waste
When you use dry grass clippings on your vegetable crops or lawn, you also reduce additional waste that you would otherwise use on your lawn care. For example, if you leave some grass clippings on your property, then you don’t have to invest in buying fertilizer from a store since the grass clipping will act like that. When you don’t need to purchase chemical fertilizers from a store, you don’t have to water your lawn to allow the fertilizer to get into the soil, reducing additional waste from chemicals and water.
Provides Valuable Nutrients to Plants + Lawn
Since grass contains water, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, grass-clipping mulch on your garden and lawn is an intelligent choice to fit your fertilizer needs. It provides valuable nutrients, and grass clippings can also regulate the soil temperature in your garden and mulch. Plus, leaving lawn clippings on your grass won’t create thatch, so you don’t have to worry about making that problem with the lawn clippings.
What are the Cons of Using Grass Clippings on Your Garden and Mulch?
What are the “grass clippings as mulch pros and cons” to know about? Below are some of those cons to be familiar with when putting lawn clippings on your soil.
Lawn Weed Killer Treatment Can Negatively Impact Your Garden and Flowers
You don’t want to put lawn clippings on your garden mulch if you treat your lawn with herbicides or pesticides to battle weeds and dandelions. Those chemicals in the pesticides can damage your garden and vegetables, so be careful when using those mowers and clippings in your garden.
Can Increase Weeds
If your lawn has a weed problem, it is best not to use the clippings in your garden or mulch. Dumping the weed seeds on the garden will only spread weeds into your garden, so only use clean and healthy grass. Also, putting down grass clippings on your mulch might decompose quickly, which means that weeds can sprout in those areas soon after the grass is gone.
Too Much Can Weigh Down Plants
A thick layer of grass on your mulch or vegetable garden will do more harm than good. A thick layer of grass, for instance, tossed onto plants can cause structural damage to the flowers and vegetables. It is best to lightly spread a thin layer of dry grass clippings on your mulch and see how that works before putting more on.
Can Attract Pests and Mold
You can risk getting pests and mold if you put too many dry grass clippings on your mulch. Pests and mold can occur when the grass clippings become wet, and it traps water, which doesn’t allow water evaporation to escape. The damp ground of thick grass over the mulch can turn into mold and attract pests, which can cause further damage to your garden.
Conclusion: Are Grass Clippings Good for Gardens?
So, what are the grass clippings as mulch pros and cons to remember? To start with the pros, using lawn clippings in your garden is an inexpensive fertilizer. It reduces landfill waste and other unnecessary wastefulness that comes with maintaining a lawn or garden when you put down chemicals.
On the other hand, putting down grass clippings can increase weeds if your grass already has that problem. In addition to that, it can attract pests and mold. Finally, the weight of grass clippings can cause structural damage to vegetables.