How many times do you mow your lawn in a week? When finished mowing, what do you do with the grass clippings?
After cutting the grass in your yard, you most likely deposit the trimmings into your bins. But wait! Did you know that instead of throwing away all of that dead grass you can use it to improve your yard, garden, or future plants?
Rather than tossing your grass clippings away, choose to recycle them. There are many simple and effective uses for these grass remains, that save you time, money, and effort in caring for your outdoor paradise. Want to know how? Check out these 6 tips on recycling the grass clippings that both you and mother earth will love!
1. Add to Your Compost
One of the easiest and most effective ways to use your grass clippings is to compost it. The grass cut from your lawn has a wealth of nutrients, specifically nitrogen – a nutrient that takes your plants from drab to fab. Any time you mow your lawn, put the clippings into your compost bin (homemade or store-bought) so they decompose into a solution your plants will love.
When creating a compost at home, always add more than just grass clippings. Use items such as vegetable and fruit leftovers, coffee grounds, leaves, fallen plant debris, or other natural matter. Doing this will guarantee your compost turns into a rich, organic mixture that will elevate your garden, stimulate growth, and protect plants from disease or rot.
2. Leave It on Your Lawn
In contrast to what is expected when mowing your lawn, instead of collecting the grass clippings or allowing your mower to suck them up, leave them on your lawn. It may seem like you are creating more of a mess to clean up later, but in reality, leaving grass clippings behind increases the health of your lawn.
The clippings act as natural compost, taking no more than a week or two to start breaking down. When the grass begins to decompose and release nutrients into your lawn, it acts as a mulch. This layer of grass mulch keeps moisture locked into your lawn and improves the condition of the soil (see tip number 3 for more mulch information!).
3. Make Mulch
Are your plants always looking desperate for water? Mulch is your answer, and grass clippings are the key!
Mulch is any organic matter, (i.e. leaves, wood chips, straw, etc.) placed around your plants in your garden or flower beds. The reason why mulch is encouraged and loved by many gardeners is because of the natural benefits it offers the yard and garden. The layer of organic matter prevents the sun from drying up the soil and also acts as a barrier to weeds and other unwanted growth in your gardens. Go spread those fresh grass clippings around your plants!
4. Make Tea for Your Plants
You may be wondering: ‘Tea for your plants? What does that even mean?’
After you complete mowing your lawn, save your grass clippings to create a refreshing, nutrient-dense drink for your plants! Grass-clipping tea is a simple way to elevate the well-being of your plants while you wait for your compost to decompose and be ready to use.
For those who made ‘garden soup’ as a kid, making grass-clipping tea is much the same idea. Fill a bucket about half full with your cut grass. Add water to the bucket until it is full and let the water-grass mixture soak for a few days or up to a week. Then, whenever your plants are looking like they need a boost, pour this tea mixture on and around them to help them thrive.
NOTE: Natural fertilizers, like grass-clipping tea and other nutrient-packed solutions, are great for your plants, but be sure not to overwater your garden with them. Overwatering your garden can result in root rot, and using too much fertilizer (natural or otherwise) may impact the pH levels of your soil, which could kill your plants. Fertilize your plants no more than every 3-4 weeks for ultimate growth.
5. Create a Lasagna Garden
Have grass clippings to spare? Start a new garden space or fill empty garden beds in your yard with a lasagna garden! A lasagna garden (also called sheet gardening) is an easy way to create a new gardening space without needing to purchase pre-packaged soil and compost.
With this method, stack various layers of organic material that will eventually decompose and transform into nutrient-heavy soil. In your lasagna garden layers, use your fresh lawn clippings, shredded paper, straw, leaves, and your own compost. Alternate the layers for the best results, let the new garden ‘cook’ and solidify, and in about a year, you will have a new, rich, healthy, and thriving garden bed to plant in.
6. Donate Them
If your compost bin is overflowing, your gardens are already mulched, and your grass is looking better than ever, consider donating your grass clippings! Reach out to friends and family and see if any of them would like to use your grass clippings.
If none of your friends or family require clippings, reach out to local parks, compost donation centers, businesses with green spaces, or post an ad online to see if any local gardeners would like to use them. Any way you can recycle the grass clippings and prevent them from being thrown out is a bonus for the earth!
The next time you mow your lawn, consider how you might recycle the clippings to further promote growth in your, or someone else’s yard. Once you find a use for them, enjoy the feeling of having known you have taken steps to keep nature going!