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Recyclopedia: Grass Clippings

Grass Clippings

Don’t spend your summer bagging grass clippings. “Let the clips fall where they may". Yard waste makes up 18% of traditional landfill volumes. We’re taking huge areas of our country and vast amounts of energy to store lawn and garden waste that would be better left where it originates. When you mow your lawn, leave the clippings on the grass. If you wish, call it “Grasscycling". For best results, sharpen lawn mower blades regularly, cut the grass when it is dry to prevent clumping of the clippings and cut less than a third of the blade height at a time. Clippings contain nutrients and bulk (mulch) which will help keep your lawn healthy. Clippings contain about 4 percent nitrogen, 2 percent potassium and 1 percent phosphorus. If you were buying clippings as fertilizer, the bag would read Fertilizer 4:2:1. Even better, reduce the size of your lawn to only essential areas, and landscape the rest of your property in natural areas. To keep things looking “neat and tidy" you can buffer the natural areas from the lawn by cutting an intermediate strip of law at the highest mower setting your mower allows. The natural areas of your property create habitat for birds, butteflies and other wildlife. If you let your lawn grow too long before you cut, and have extra clippings, you can compost them. For best results, layer them with dry brown materials such as dry leaves. Missouri publishes an online guide to ecological health care-including how to compost lawn clippings-at: http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/hort/g06958.htm Here’s another wonderful guide on ecological lawn care from Virginia: http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/turf/430-402/430-402.html