Are Grass Clippings Good for Your Lawn or Not?
We often get asked, “Should I rake grass clippings, or can I leave them on my lawn?” Or, “Will grass clippings cause harm to my lawn?
We often get asked, “Should I rake grass clippings, or can I leave them on my lawn?” Or, “Will grass clippings cause harm to my lawn?” These are two very good questions, that many homeowners have.
Leaving grass clippings on your lawn is certainly something that you can do every so often, as they are actually an excellent source of nitrogen for your lawn. However, in saying this, we recommend that you do not stop fertilising with a good quality granular, slow release fertiliser – as this is still full of other nutrients that your lawn needs.
What we recommend that you do is use your grass clippings as a natural fertiliser for your lawn, in between your regular granular fertiliser applications. This method will enable your lawn to take advantage of each of the different nutrients that it requires to stay healthy.
When using this alternate fertilising method, there are a few important things that you need to know which will help you gain the best possible results for your lawn:
1. The clippings need to be small and fine
The grass clippings that you do leave on your lawn as a natural fertiliser need to be very fine, and applied sparingly. When your grass clippings coverage is too thick, it can mat together which can sometimes cause suffocation of the lawn underneath it.
What happens is, if you apply a thick layer of grass clippings to your lawn, it will block all natural light to the plant (lawn) underneath, resulting in it becoming weak and in some cases even causing sections of your lawn to die off.
Thick layers of grass clippings can also take far longer to breakdown (meaning it takes longer for your lawn to absorb the nutrients from them) and they are usually picked up during your next mow, creating a bit of a mess!
Small grass clippings will only take a few days to disappear into your lawn and start breaking down, so that they can release the nutrients into your lawn.
How to ensure small grass clippings
You can achieve small, fine grass clippings by mowing sooner than you normally would (without the catcher on), to ensure that you are only removing a small amount of the tip of the plant.
Alternatively, to achieve fine clippings you can use a mulching lawn mower. This is just your standard mower, with a rear or side chute attached which sends the clippings back into the blades, and cuts them even finer before they settle on the lawn.
2. The grass clippings need to be dry
When you are mowing and ‘dropping’ the grass clippings, your lawn needs to be dry!
If the lawn is wet, it will leave clumps of grass clippings spread over your lawn. These clumps again will block air flow and natural light to your lawn underneath them, which can cause suffocation, disease and the growth of moss and/or fungi within your lawn.
Not to mention, wet grass clippings stick to just about everything, causing one nice heck of a mess for you!
3. Your lawn needs to be weed & disease free
If you mow your lawn and drop the clippings whilst it is holding some weeds or disease, you will be spreading these weeds and disease throughout your whole lawn!
Ensure that you remove all weeds and/or disease from your lawn before mowing over it for the clippings!
4. Your lawn needs to be free of recent pesticides
Another important thing to remember, is that if you have applied a pesticide, fungicide or herbicide to your lawn you will need to catch the clippings for at least 3 mows after this.
The chemicals in these treatments are specifically for targeted areas, and you do not want to risk spreading them over a healthy lawn when they are designed for a specific condition.
To maintain a healthy lawn, we recommend that you use a slow release fertiliser every 8 weeks during the growing season.
Leaving your grass clippings of your lawn would be recommended in between your fertiliser cycle, so that you are giving your lawn a source of added nutrients every 4 weeks, whilst alternating the type of nutrients provided each time.
Trust us, your lawn will thank you!
For more expert lawn care advice, give our friendly team here at Cobbitty Lawn Turf a call today on (02) 4651 0000!