The term “grasscycling” refers to the practice of leaving grass clippings on your lawn when mowing. It’s an easy and convenient way to keep your lawn healthy and green.
Why Should I Grasscycle?
To have a healthy lawn and environment!
- When you grasscycle, you return nutrients to the soil, making your lawn healthy and fertile. That way you won’t need to add synthetic fertilizers that pollute by leaching chemicals into sewer systems, lakes and streams. Chemical fertilizers can burn your lawn.
- Transporting grassclippings to the landfill produces air pollution from fuel consumption.
- If the grassclippings end up in the landfill and not in a municipal composting facility, the clippings will breaks down anaerobically, producing methane gas which is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide as a contributor to climate change.
To save money
- Grass clippings provide free fertilizer for your lawn.
- They also help the soil retain moisture by protecting it from the sun’s rays. So you won’t need to water your lawn as much and you’ll have a lower water bill.
- No more plastic or paper bags to buy.
- Grass clippings can represent approximately 20% of household waste during the summer. Grasscycling means less waste to haul and lower municipal costs for collection. It also extends the life of the landfill.
- No overloading your compost bin and filling it up too quickly!
To save time
- No more bagging of grass means less time cutting and more time enjoying your yard.
- You won’t need to rake up the clippings or struggle to get those sticky wet grass clipping out of the grass catcher.
How it’s done
- Mow high. Adjust the mower height to leave your lawn 3-3½ inches long. Never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass height.
- Mulch It. Use a mulching mower to reduce the size of the clippings. They will break down and release nutrients to your lawn more readily.
- Keep it sharp and dry. A dull blade can damage grass. Sharpen mower blades annually and mow when the grass is dry.
- Alternate mowing direction. This keeps the grass from being pushed over in just one direction and being damaged by the sun.
Will Clippings Add to Thatch Build-up?
Thatch is a layer of dead plant matter on top of your soil, and more than 1/2 inch can lead to problems. However, clippings do not add to thatch. That is because they are 90% water by weight and contain only low levels of lignin (the part of the plant cell that is resistant to decomposition). The micro-organisms in your soil will break down the clippings easily, preventing them from contributing to thatch build-up.
Thatch build-up is caused much more by the rapid growth of roots and other plant tissue due to over watering and/or over fertilization.
If you have questions about grasscycling, give us a call on our Compost Infoline toll free at 1-866-394-8880 (in Winnipeg at 925-3777) or email us.
The City of Winnipeg also has information on grasscycling along with a short video. You can also check out Manitoba’s Eco Network’s Organic Lawn Care Program for more tips on grasscycling and organic lawn care.