So, you have spent all morning or all afternoon arduously clipping and trimming your lawn; the last thing you want to be thinking about is where all of the grass clippings are going to go.
However, for most people this is something that they are going to have to think about if they are cutting their lawn.
Luckily, there are actually plenty of options for what you can do when it comes to dealing with your grass clippings, and this is what this guide is going to cover.
For a quick answer one of the best things you can do with your lawn clippings is to simply leave them alone, especially if you have a mulching mower, you can simply mulch the clippings and then leave them on the turf.
This will aid in returning nitrogen into your soil, and this will then feed your lawn.
However, if you want to dump your clippings elsewhere, then you should try and do this in an eco-friendly manner, and luckily, there are plenty of options on how to do that as well.
So, if you are hoping to get some advice on the best options for getting rid of your grass clippings, then this guide has all the answers you need!
Improve Lawn Health
One thing not every gardener knows is that grass clippings actually work really well as a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
This is because they are a perfect source of nutrients for the rest of your lawn, and they will actually feed your lawn the nitrogen it needs, and this means that if you use lawn food, you will not need to use as much of it if you use grass clippings as fertilizer.
The organic matter of grass clippings which you introduce to your yard is even better if you have soil which is more sandy, or a lawn which is high in clay content.
If you want to make sure that this natural mulch is as effective as possible, you want to make sure that you are mowing your lawn regularly, and that you are using sharp blades on your mower.
You will ideally want your clippings to be a little less than an inch long at longest, this will make sure that they can easily settle into the soil and decompose.
So, if you make your grass clippings too long while you are mowing, this will instead settle and rest on top of your grass, and this will then suffocate the grass instead of giving it nutrients.
If your clippings are too long, then instead you will want to rake your clippings in a way that will spread them over and around your lawn evenly.
Or, if it is an easier option for you, you can just bag the clippings and then compost them. However, there is another option.
You could instead mow your lawn and the highest height available for your mower, and then make another pass over using the best height for your lawn.
This is a great strategy if you are using a mulching mower in particular. We recommend trying out these different options for your next few mows and working out which one you like the best and find as simple as possible!
While we just mentioned a couple of our favorite options, this does not mean these are the only options available, and there are other ideas you can try with your grass clippings.
For example, aside from just regularly mowing your lawn, you want to ensure that you are now mowing more than a third of the height of your grass every time you are mowing.
This is because your grass will be its most healthy when it has a good length. For most lawns, the best height for your grass for it to be as healthy as possible is 3 inches.
So, when your lawn has gotten longer than 4 inches, that is when you know that you are going to need to give it a trim. One thing we mentioned earlier, but we want to make sure you know how important it is to keep your mower blades as sharp as they should be.
This is because if you are using a dull blade, this is going to tear your grass instead of actually cutting it, and this is something you will want to avoid if possible.
This is because your leaves are going to end up being jagged at the end. If the end of the leaves are jagged, this will make the tip of the blades dry out.
When the tips are dry like this your lawn is going to be much less healthy and is also going to be more susceptible to diseases as well!
You are also going to want to make sure that your grass is fully dry when you are leaving the clippings on the lawn, this is also a good idea if you are using the clippings to mulch the garden as well.
The reason for this is that wet grass is going to mat down onto the grass that is underneath it. This will reduce the oxygen exposure the grass can receive.
This also traps in the moisture and this then stops the mulch from being able to get into the soil properly.
If you have ever treated your lawn with a herbicide in the past few weeks, we do not recommend using your grass clippings as a mulch, this is because the residue herbicide is going to harm your plants and will not be effective in providing nutrients.
Grass Clippings Do Not Cause Thatch
When it comes to how to use your grass clippings, there is a surprising amount of misconceptions which we want to get out of the way, especially if they are preventing you from making the best decision for your lawn.
For example, there is a popular belief that if you use your grass clippings as a mulch that they will cause thatch to develop in your yard, but this is not the case and grass clippings alone are not able to do this.
If you do not know what thatch is, this is a layer of decomposed grass plant parts, as well as leaves, and any extra organic matter, that will then settle under the top layer of grass, but on top of the soil.
You will find that a lot of people will go out of their way to dethatch their lawn in an effort to remove the top layer of this organic matter.
This is because it will help water, oxygen, and any other nutrients to get to the roots of the grass a lot more efficiently.
However, grass clippings are completely biodegradable, and they are mainly made of water, this means that they will not thatch by themselves since they will break down too easily to become thatch.
But, if there is a layer of thatch there already, then they could end up piling on top. Thatching is much more commonly caused by not mowing your lawn often enough. It can also be caused by having lower levels of oxygen in the soil.
You could also have thatching in your lawn if you excessively used nitrogen fertilization in your lawn as well. This will develop when your plant matter is growing too quickly and the dead grass is not able to decompose quick enough to keep up with it.
When You Should Bag Your Grass
Similarly to most rules, when it comes to dealing with grass clippings, there are some simple exceptions you can make.
For example, if you do not want to leave or spread your grass clippings around your lawn, you can add your bagged grass into a compost pile that is mixed in with other organic materials as well.
This is so beneficial because the high nitrogen level of the grass will massively help the compost pile, and the efficacy of the final compost to aid in your gardening tasks. However, there are some things to keep in mind when you are doing this.
For example, your compost will require that you have a good balance of carbon rich materials as well as just grass. Some good options for carbon rich materials include leaves, paper, and sawdust.
There is going to be bacteria which will break down these materials until they can actually be used as a compost. To do this, you will need each of the materials for your compost to thrive.
If you instead just try and pile up your grass clippings without using any extra carbon, all you are going to end up with is a wet and smelly mess which will be hard to clean up.
Also, if your lawn is showing signs that it could be suffering from disease like dollar spot or leaf spot, then you will not want to use these leaves as mulch either.
If you do this, all you are going to do is spread the disease around your lawn. You will want to bag these clippings and then use them in a compost as this will reduce the severity of the lawn disease and make the clippings usable.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, you do not want to spread the clippings if they have been treated with a herbicide recently, but these can not be used in a compost, instead these will need to be disposed of at a local brush dump.
If you find that you can not use your mower if it does not have its bag attached, then you want to leave the bag in its place, however, if you can not remove the bag, you want to prioritize your safety.
It is also worth noting that if your grass trimmings end up in the curb or in the gutter, you want to sweep them up.
This is because you want to avoid the trimmings ending up in the water supply as this will reduce the quality of the water, and also it is just the neighborly thing to do.
Summary – Local Brush Dump
Something we have not really acknowledged is that not everyone has room for a compost bin or a compost pile in their space, and if this is something we are dealing with, this is when you will want to look out for the local brush dump.
You will find more and more commonly that most towns and cities will have a brush dump which is a facility which residents can use, usually after purchasing a pass.
Here you can dump any branches, trees, clippings, or leaves and they will sort and compost it for us. Then, you can use the compost which they have made for free.
This is often a great way to get affordable compost, while also getting rid of your trimmings.
Because of this, we heavily recommend you research if there is one close by which you can take advantage of!
However, if you have found that there is nowhere in your local community where you can get rid of grass clippings, then you should try and contact town hall or the public works department, and they will be able to help, or advise where to go.
This is always a better system than just dumping your clippings somewhere since that can be pretty harmful to the area you choose to do it in.