Step Away From The Grass Clippings

Dated: 07/30/2019

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Good news: you have permission to leave grass clippings on your lawn after you mow. This can save you oodles of time if you rake them by hand, and a few stoppages if you collect them as you go.

In fact, this is more than permission -- it's actually better for your lawn when you leave the clippings alone, as they help return nitrogen to the soil. So says the National Association of Landscape Professionals, which adds that clippings do not contribute to thatch buildup if you mow regularly and properly.

Some other tidbits from the organization: 

  • A lawn of 1,000 square feet can produce 500 pounds of clippings in one growing season, and these clippings contribute very little to thatch (the roots, stems, and lower portions of leaves that are below the mower blade).

  • Fertilizer use can be reduced by 20 to 30 percent when clippings are left on the lawn, as they quickly decompose and release valuable nutrients such as nitrogen.

  • If mowing is delayed by prolonged periods of rain or other reasons, the clippings can be long enough to shade or smother grass. In that case, you should rake, bag, and remove them.

  • As for mowing in general, you should change direction often so as not to cause ruts in your lawn from the weight of the mower; and you should overlap each mowing pass to ensure a clean cut.

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