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Most people keep their lawns cut throughout the summer and don’t want to leave the grass cuttings on the ground. You can bag or rake them up, but you may wonder if there is another use for them.
You can use grass cuttings for mulch on the lawn or in garden beds. This can help improve your soil, prevent some weeds, and hold the moisture in. This is especially effective when the grass cuttings are less than an inch in length. You will want to bag longer clippings and use them as mulch in other places because they take longer to compost.
Continue reading to learn everything about mulching with grass cuttings.
Benefits of Mulching with Grass Cuttings
There are many benefits to mulching with grass cuttings. You may think the lawn has a cleaner look when you remove the cuttings, but there are good reasons to consider leaving them behind. Take a look at the following:
Nutrients for Your Soil
When you leave your grass cuttings as mulch, it provides more nutrients for your soil. The grass releases nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium into the soil, which is essential for your lawn’s health. You need to cut your lawn regularly for this to work, as you do not want long clippings. If you cut your grass more frequently, the clippings won’t turn into thatch, and they will decompose and put nutrients in the soil for your lawn.
Another benefit of mulching with your grass clippings is that you will have less waste when you take care of your yard. Some people feel like they are creating more waste, but grass clippings are organic matter and decompose quickly. When they do, they return nutrients to the soil to keep your lawn healthy. If you bag the clippings to throw them out, you are placing plastic bags in landfills, which take a long time to break down.
Using your grass clippings for mulch is also less expensive than bagging them and having them hauled away. You also save money on water and fertilizer because grass cuttings will help retain the soil’s moisture.
When you leave the grass cuttings as mulch, you can save time caring for your lawn. Mulching takes the grass clippings, and they are very fine and small, so they fall to the bottom of the lawn bed. They are not going to be large cut pieces of grass, so you will not see them. You simply need to cut the grass regularly enough, so the clippings don’t get too long.
During the summer months, when it is hot outside, grass cuttings as mulch can help retain moisture in the soil. It is easy for the lawn to dry out in the summer, and the grass cuttings help to shield your lawn from the sun. It prevents moisture evaporation and also keeps the soil cooler.
Reduces Thatch Buildup
Thatch buildup can be a nuisance for homeowners. It is a layer of organic matter, including dead grass, and will build up on the lawn bed. Sometimes you need to remove or rake it, and if it gets too much, it can prevent nutrients and water from reaching the soil.
When you leave the grass cuttings as mulch, they fall through to the soil and decompose. They also encourage microbes that will help reduce the thatch.
When Should You Mulch Grass?
Some times are better than others for mulching with grass. First, you shouldn’t use wet grass because the clippings are more likely to clump. It is best to mulch grass when the grass is dry. Wait until the dew evaporates in the afternoon, and don’t do it right after it rains. The summer is often a good time to mulch because the ground may have less moisture.
In the spring, the grass is wetter and grows faster. You may find that the grass grows faster than the grass clippings can decompose, which can cause some clumping and more thatch. Please don’t cut your grass more than ⅔ of its length, and leave at least three inches of grass when you plan to mulch.
Make Sure That You Clean Your Mower Deck
If you plan to use your grass clippings as mulch, make sure that you keep your mower deck clean. It is easier for the smaller grass clippings to build up and clump under the mower deck, which can interfere with the process.
When You Should Avoid Mulching Grass Clippings
There are times when you should avoid mulching your grass clippings. First, if you have a lot of weeds, such as crabgrass or dandelions, you should collect the clippings instead. Mulching the grass cuttings helps to spread the seeds for the weeds and encourages them to grow. If you collect the clippings, it can help reduce the seeds being spread throughout your yard.
Another time to avoid mulching your grass cuttings is when the lawn has grown. If the grass is long, the clippings will be too large and may turn into clumps. In this case, you should collect the grass cuttings or mow over them more than once to spread them out more.
In addition, grass mulching may not be as effective if you have used pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on your lawn. Some insecticides can kill more than the pests they are designed to eliminate, which can harm the soil. This can lead to the microbial activity being greatly reduced, which can also reduce the decomposition rate.
Many people wonder if they can use their grass cuttings as mulch. If you use mulching blades and maintain your lawn regularly, you can, and this is a great way to add nutrients to your soil and help retain moisture. It will reduce thatch, which is good for the environment because it won’t end up in plastic bags in landfills.