Grass recycling, commonly referred to as “grasscycling,” is the practice of not raking up or bagging your grass clippings after mowing. In addition to keeping grass clippings out of landfills, grass recycling has numerous other benefits. These clippings contain valuable nutrients that can be used in your garden, yard, or compost pile. When left on the lawn after mowing, grass clippings break down and release nitrogen back into the soil. This practice can also save you time, as you won’t have to rake or bag up your grass. It also saves you money on lawn fertilizer. There are many ways that we can reuse grass clippings.
Add Clippings to Compost
Composting is the natural process of recycling decomposed organic materials into nutrient-rich soil. Many types of items can be added to compost, including table scraps, eggshells, leaves, garden plants, weeds, flowers, newspaper, dryer lint, and, of course, grass clippings. As freshly cut grass can become compacted if simply left atop a compost pile, it’s important to thoroughly mix the clippings into the pile to evenly distribute the green material. Depending on the compost method used, you can have finished compost in as little as two weeks or as long as 18 months.
Use Clippings as Mulch
Grass clippings can be used as an effective mulch, as they enhance soil, preserve moisture, and prevent weeds. Fresh or dried grass clippings can be collected in a lawnmower bag or raked up to be used as mulch elsewhere. When used as mulch, these clippings help to cool the root zone while returning vital nutrients to the soil. When using fresh grass clippings as mulch, apply a layer that is a quarter-inch thick to allow sufficient time for the grass to break down. Thicker layers can become too damp, causing potential mold or decay issues.
Incorporate Clippings Into Feed
If you’re an animal owner, don’t dispose of your grass clippings just yet. Clippings are actually an excellent source of nutrition for farm animals, such as cows and sheep, as well as for household pets like guinea pigs and rabbits. By incorporating grass clippings into your feed, you can save significant money on fodder while still providing your animals with a healthy diet. If using clippings for animal feed, use an exhaust-free mower. Also, be sure to keep the clippings dry, as wet grass trimmings can ferment.
Add Clippings to Raised Beds
Grass clippings and leaves make for excellent bulk organic materials that can be layered into raised garden beds. Over time, these organic materials will slowly compost into rich soil. The ideal mixture for raised beds is one part grass clippings to two parts shredded leaves. Grass clippings have the benefit of being free, and they do a great job at maintaining moisture in the soil and preventing weeds from popping through. Apply the loose grass clippings in a one-to-three-inch layer in the aisles between the rows of plants. It’s best to apply the layer of grass clippings over soil that is already moist.