Grasscycling is as simple as leaving your lawn clippings where they fall when you mow your yard. This benefits your yard by adding organic matter to the soil and acting as a free fertilizer.
When you do this, your lawn will require fewer added fertilizers – an estimated 15 to 20 percent less – and less water to remain healthy and green, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Fewer fertilizers used results in less toxic runoff entering storm drains and decreased pollution of lakes and rivers. Your yard benefits. Your community benefits.
Per 1,000 square feet of lawn, the average yard will create about 300 pounds of grass clippings each year. If all those clippings are landfilled, consider the impact made by you alone, not to mention your neighborhood, town, city, or state. With grasscycling, none of these clippings need clog up already precious landfill space.
For maximum benefit to your yard, follow a few simple guidelines.
First, mow when the grass is dry. Use a mower with a sharp blade. Follow the “1/3 Rule“: never cut off more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing. Frequent mowing will result in short clippings that are easily reabsorbed into the lawn.
Just about any mower can be used for grasscycling. If yours has an attached bag for collecting clippings, remove it. Check with a local retailer to see if your particular model needs a retrofit kit, which will cover the bag opening with a safety flap. When the time comes to replace your lawnmower, consider a “mulching” mower. These mowers cut grass blades into very small pieces and force them into the soil.
To best care for your lawn, practice smart watering. In many areas, watering is unnecessary. Healthy lawns may turn brown during a drought, but quickly green up again when rainfall returns. If you choose to water, water deeply and infrequently. This will encourage a deep root system, leading to healthier grass. Water in the morning rather than at midday or in the evening. One inch of water will soak soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, so keep track of how much water you are applying.
Recycling your clippings will save you the time you would otherwise spend bagging and disposing of them. You’ll spend less money on fertilizer, fewer dollars on trash bags, and you’ll reduce your mowing time by nearly 40 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Plus, your yard will be doubly green: a beautiful green color from the enriching organic matter, and “green” as in environmentally-friendly, leaving you with a clear conscience.
You might also consider converting part of your yard to another landscape type. Plant shrub beds, or a wildflower area, or ground cover plants such as English ivy, pachysandra, and periwinkle. No mowing required! You’ll further reduce your yard maintenance and beautify your yard simultaneously.
When you grasscycle, you’ll be doing more for your yard with less. Less fertilizer, less water, less work, and less waste.