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grass clippings Benefits of mulching

Benefits of Mulching your Grass Clippings

There are several benefits of mulching your grass clippings, such as used as natural fertilizer, for hydration, reducing landfill use, and natural weed killing among others. Expert gardeners, such as Eden advise against bagging grass clippings and instead to use it as mulch for the yard. This is one of the most effective ways to have an eco-friendly garden or yard. 

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In the recent past, everyone thought bagging grass clippings was better and that it contributed to thatch accumulation. However, recent research studies show that grass clippings do not cause thatch. Thanks to the invention of mulching blades in lawn mowers it is easier to chop the grass into finer particles. These are not too visible and also decompose quicker. This has given rise to the term “grass-cycling” which refers to putting clipped grass back into the soil. 

Advantages of Grass Mulching

Though bagging grass clippings does make your lawn look neater it is not necessarily good for the health of the flora in it. On the other hand, mulching allows the grass clippings to rejuvenate the lawn with nutrients as they decompose. If done properly, using grass clippings as mulch does not affect the overall appearance of the lawn. 

Benefits of Grass Clipping Mulch

Here are the top benefits of using grass clippings as mulch:

1. Grass clippings are natural fertilizer 

You can effectively reduce the lawn’s fertilizer needs by mulching. Mulching is essential for any turf as it supplies essential nutrients to the lawn that are otherwise lost. For instance, mulching with grass clippings adds phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium to the soil, which inherently reduces the need for artificial fertilizer and keeps your lawn looking aesthetically appealing. 

On an average, if you mow grass from a 1,000 sq. ft. area, you will end up with around 4.8 lbs. of nitrogen, 0.7 lbs. of phosphorous and 2.6 lbs. of potassium. This is a significant amount where gardening experts usually recommend around 2 to 5 lbs. of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn every year. 

By using grass clippings, you can effectively save the time and expense of buying and spraying artificial fertilizer and support the natural nitrogen fertilizer cycle. 

2. Grass clipping help to hydrate

Using grass clippings as mulch helps to keep the lawn hydrated during heat waves and droughts. According to experts, grass is basically 80% water, so in effect you are watering your lawn somewhat by letting the grass clippings remain on the lawn. 

3.  Mulching reduces landfill use

Mulching your yard with grass clippings helps to lower dump fees and keeps yard waste out of the overflowing landfills. According to experts at Eden, bagging grass clippings is not as eco-friendly as expected, unless you have a compost pile. Some cities offer to collect yard waste and turn it into compost but most of the times, the grass clippings are usually dumped at the landfill. Besides this, you also end up avoiding putting the plastic bag and add another pollutant to the over-burdened landfill. 

The practice of using grass clippings to mulch has been a significant success. According to reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans on average generate around 34.7 million tons of yard waste every year. This comes to around 69.4 trillion pounds of yard waste annually of which most is dumped in landfills. This number is down from 27 million tons, in 1980. 

The change in the norm and increasing number of people choosing to either compost or mulch their grass clippings has resulted in this drastic change. Besides this, state governments have also taken action to keep grass clippings out of landfills. According to reports, around 25 states in the US have regulations governing the restricting or banning of grass clippings landfills. 

4. Mulching is easier than bagging

When you choose to bag grass clippings while mowing the lawn, you are adding more work as you will frequently need to stop to empty the bag. However, when you choose to use the grass trimmings as mulch, you save significant amount of time.

5. Mulch is a natural weed killer

Weed control is essential for a healthy, flourishing lawn. A layer of grass clipping mulch can be less than an inch thick but with regular mowing and mulching you will effectively create a barrier for weed seeds. This is a great way to prevent weeds from taking root

Bagging Grass Clippings

In contrast, there are times when it is advisable to bag the grass clippings while you mow your lawn or yard. For instance, when you haven’t cut the lawn in some time, you should bag some of the grass clippings. The reason is that leaving excess grass clippings on the lawn can block sunlight from reaching the grass underneath the clippings. This can cause the grass to develop discolored patches.

In addition, it is advised against using grass clippings as mulch if you plan to give the lawn an extensive mowing. In any case, you should only remove 1/3rd of the grass length while mowing at a time. According to gardening experts at Eden you can leave grass clippings which are an inch or less in your lawn as the smaller pieces easily filter down to the soil surface and get decomposed quickly. Besides this, it is advised to remove longer clippings as they can cover the grass and smother it. This may end up causing extensive damage to the lawn. 

Smaller grass clippings tend to break down easily in the soil, as opposed to large-sized pieces. So, the next time you mow your lawn, you can decide if the grass clippings are worth turning into mulch or not.

Conclusion

By using grass clippings as mulch, you can use it as a natural fertilizer, hydrate the lawn, reduce landfill use, work less in the lawn and also get a natural weed killer. Regardless of the reason, if you decide to remove grass clippings from the lawn, you can use them as part of a compost pile. The heat within the compost pile will convert the grass clippings into natural fertilizer for the soil. This is an excellent choice of soil for vegetable garden plots, raised flower beds and garden beds. 

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