Tuesday, April 5, 2011
What should you do with the grass blade clippings that are produced from mowing your lawn? There are really four choices even though I only mentioned three above. The fourth choice could be composting. Let’s explore our clippings options.
First of all, there is a misconception that clippings left on the ground contribute to thatch build up. This is not true. Thatch build up is caused by a lack of microbial activity which breaks down organic matter such as thatch. Increasing soil microbial activity by applying Jonathan Green Organic Fertilizers or other organic matter to the soil such as leaf mold or peat moss will help to reduce thatch over time.
A majority of lawn clippings are left on the lawn, if you mow your own lawn. This is not bad since the majority of grass clippings are comprised of over 80% water! Over time, leaving clippings on your lawn should contribute to a slight decrease in watering requirements. If your lawn grows too high and you cut off large amounts of clippings, they should be raked up from the lawn. Large clumps will smother the existing grass and eventually kill it. Follow proper mowing techniques by mowing more frequently; and do not cut more than 1/3rd of the blade height at one time. You also can mow your lawn twice in different directions to reduce the amounts of clippings left on your lawn; this will help to eliminate large clumps on the lawn.
If you fertilize your lawn on a regular basis there are certain amounts of nutrients, mostly nitrogen, that are contained in the grass clippings. If you leave the clippings on the lawn, you are keeping some of your lawn applications on your lawn and out of the landfill. If you feed your lawn four times a year you could potentially reduce your feeding rate to only three times a year, saving you money and helping to save the environment.
If you bag your clippings, or have your lawn cutter remove your lawn clippings, they end up in your local landfill. Many communities are starting to ban the disposal or removal of lawn clippings from the lawn. The reasons for this action are to reduce the amount of clippings brought to landfills and to keep any fertilizer or lawn applications on your property, helping to improve water quality. As more municipalities follow this path it makes sense to keep your clippings on your property.
Investing in a mulching mower is also a great idea. These mowers have their blades set to pulverize the clipping so they work their way back into the soil. Provided you cut your lawn often, and do not cut too much grass blade at one time, the mulching mowers work very well. These clippings return water and nutrients to the soil reducing the need for watering and fertilizing over time.
In the last few years there has been an increase in interest in home composting. The home composting kits are popular; anything from food scraps to leaves, twigs or lawn clippings can be composted. Lawn clippings work quite well in your home composting program. They are a good source of organic matter and moisture to aid in the composting process. If you apply pesticides to your lawn and you compost your clippings, you will want to avoid using your final compost in your vegetable garden. Otherwise, home composting of grass clippings is a great idea to help keep your home generated waste on your own little plot of land.
In the future, keeping your clippings on your lawn is the best action to take. Start thinking of how you will follow one of the plans outlined above. Just like the current wave to reuse your cloth shopping bags versus plastic bags, we need to reuse our lawn clippings to our benefit. Until next time, enjoy your Jonathan Green lawn this year!Back