Leaving Lawn Clippings – Good Idea Or Not?
Thankfully, there are no rules. No rights or wrongs. Leaving the clippings on the lawn when you mow won’t hurt your lawn. In fact, it’s good for it, most of the time.
‘Grass-cycling’ is a fancy term that simply means ‘mowing without a catcher’, i.e.: leaving the clippings on the lawn. For years, there’s been a common misconception that grass-cycling isn’t a good idea. Myth busted: it’s ok! And your lawn mowing job just got a whole lot easier (you don’t have to do umpteen trips to and fro emptying the catcher anymore!).
When we mow with a catcher, we take away all those nutrients and dump it elsewhere. However, if we leave those clippings on the lawn they break down and return all their water, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to the soil, acting as an effective and cheap fertilizer. Result: thicker, greener, lusher lawn.
Contrary to popular belief, grass-cycling does not lead to thatch buildup. Thatch is the accumulation of dead organic matter between the soil and the green grass you see. A thatch buildup occurs when the micro-organisms in the soil can’t keep up with the rate of growth of root and grass: in short, the dead matter isn’t breaking down quickly enough. The result is a buildup of dead stuff or thatch. The two main causes for thatch buildup are excessive watering and excessive fertilizing, not clippings left on the lawn.
Grass clippings can be a nuisance to get rid of. Let’s be honest, there’s only a certain amount we can use as mulch for trees and bushes… and what on earth do you do with the rest? By adopting grass-cycling practices, you will save yourself a pretty penny in tip dumping fees and fertilizers, and that’s something that’s really worth smiling about!
So, are there any times when it’s not a good idea to leave clippings on the lawn?
Yes! – if they’re too long. Clippings of 1 inch or less are fine to be left, but if you’ve let your lawn get out of control and the clippings are going to be longer than that, bag them up and remove them. Remember the old ‘1/3 rule’ when cutting the lawn (only remove 1/3 of the grass blade’s length in one mow) and set the cutter high, bringing it down to your desired length with more frequent mows. After the lawn has been brought back to a more reasonable length, you should be able to start grass-cycling.
The team at Greener Lawns knows all about grass-cycling and we’re more than willing to share our experience and practical know-how with you. After all, we care about creating and maintaining Australia’s beautiful lawns. Call us today on 1800 473 363 and chat to one of our staff.