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Should Grass Clippings Be Left on the Lawn?

Contrary to what many people believe, leaving grass clippings on your lawn will not damage it. In fact, this process can actually be really good for your lawn and help make it healthier, thicker, and greener.

Grasscycling, or leaving grass clippings behind when you mow, can benefit your lawn in many ways. Here are just a few:

  • The clippings become useful as a natural fertilizer. Grass clippings are high in nitrogen, so as they break down, they return that important macronutrient to the soil. With this natural form of nitrogen, you won’t need to worry about burning your lawn, safety concerns with your pets or children, or spending extra money on fertilizer. 
  • Grass clippings are also full of moisture. A layer of these clippings can help your grass retain moisture, meaning you have to spend less money on watering your lawn.
  • Simply mulching your lawn, as opposed to using a bag on your mower or sweeping up the clippings afterward, will save you valuable time and energy.
  • Leaving your grass clippings on your lawn will also help to keep your yard waste out of landfills, which is good for the environment.

In order for the clippings to be beneficial to your lawn, you need to ensure that you are grasscycling correctly. These tips will help prevent problems that may arise.

  1. Ensure your grass is the right height. You never want to cut off more than ⅓ of its length, with one inch being about the most you will want to cut at a time.  Grass tends to retain moisture best when it is longer, so aim for cutting your lawn to about 3 inches in length. 
  2. If you want to leave your clippings, it would be best to invest in a mulching lawn mower. Mulching makes the clippings smaller so they will break down faster.
  3. Make sure that your lawn mower blade is sharp so that you get crisp cuts and don’t just push the grass over. You should plan on sharpening your blade at least every year. 
  4. Alternate your mowing directions so that the clippings are evenly spread over your lawn. This pattern of mowing also keeps your grass from being pushed to the side and possibly damaged by the sun. 

Are There Any Problems with Leaving Your Clippings?

It was once thought that leaving your clippings would cause too much thatch build-up and hurt your lawn. Thatch is a layer of roots, stems, and other plant material that has died and starts to build up on top of the soil. It is not good for your lawn because it reduces airflow and contributes to thin, yellowing grass. Thatch generally happens when your grass grows very rapidly, and the soil is unhealthy so that the microorganisms can not break it down quickly enough. It is now known that grass clippings do not contribute to this condition.

Even though thatch may not be a problem, there are a couple of things that you should avoid to ensure that your lawn stays healthy. It is very important to not let your grass get too long. If you do not cut it regularly, and then you try to mow, the long clippings can block air flow and potentially cause fungal diseases to occur. Cutting your grass if it is wet can cause the same problems. The grass blades get stuck together and will again block airflow. 

If your grass has some kind of disease like powdery mildew, brown patch, etc. you will not want to leave your clippings on your lawn until the disease has been cleared up. Otherwise, you may spread it to other parts of your lawn. Some people simply prefer the look of shorter grass or don’t like having the clippings tracked into the house. If this describes you, grass clippings can still be beneficial. Simply add some to your compost pile as a “green” component. When mixed with brown material like leaves, etc., grass clippings will break down quickly and get your compost really heating up.

Best Lawn Fertilizer

If you want to improve your lawn even more, try some of Dr. JimZ Huma-Iron for lawns. With a natural blend of carbon, humus, iron, and other trace materials, Huma- Iron will build up your soil and produce beautiful, healthy, green lawns. It is easy to use, contains all natural ingredients, and is safe to use around children and pets. For the best lawn fertilizer, try Huma-Iron today!


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