Collecting grass clippings with your bagging mower, accumulates as much as 8.5 tonnes of clippings per acre per season. That means an average-sized lawn can produce four tonnes of clippings in just one summer, so grasscycling makes good sense.
What is grasscycling?
Grasscycling is a snap and works wonders for your lawn. It simply means leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. This allows organic material to cycle back into the soil resulting in:
Less yard waste produced
Less watering required for a healthy lawn
Less need for fertilizing
Savings in time and money
It's easy. Grasscycled clippings disappear into your lawn leaving it looking healthy and green. There's no more need to collect your grass clippings for composting or disposal.
You can cut the amount of time you spend on your lawn by over 35% because grasscycling eliminates collecting clippings and reduces the need for watering and fertilizing.
Buy less fertilizer. Grass clippings left on the lawn can provide up to 25% of your lawn's fertilizer requirements.
Save gas money spent driving to the landfill or transfer station to dispose of clippings.
Any mower can be used to grasscycle. No special equipment is needed but check your owner's manual first.
Grasscycling makes a healthier lawn and save water!
Grass clippings contain the same nutrients found in lawn fertilizers: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Clippings left on the lawn act as a slow release fertilizer, returning these nutrients back to your lawn as they decompose.
Grass clippings help to shade and protect the roots of your lawn.
Grass clippings reduce water lost by evaporation - an important fact with summer watering restrictions imposed throughout the Regional District of Nanaimo and its member municipalities.
How do I grasscycle?
A few simple changes can get you started...
Take that bag off the mower! Ensure discharge chutes are covered.
Leave short grass clippings on your lawn.
Let it grow!
Let your lawn grow a little higher to at least 6.5 cm or 2.5 inches. A longer grass blade provides more protection from heat and water loss, aids a healthy root system, and helps shade out weed seedlings.
Set your lawnmower for a cutting height of 6.5 cm or 2.5 inches. This may result in more frequent mowing during peak growing seasons and less often in late summer and fall.
Let it lie!
Mow when grass is dry. Wet grass tends to clump. If this happens, simply re-mow or collect the excess for your composter.
As a mulch, clippings look neat and stay in place. Only a layer of 3 to 4 inches is needed to choke out weeds and seal in moisture.
Keep it sharp!
Keep your mower blade sharp for best results.
Specially designed "mulching mowers" produce fine grass clippings and blow them into the turf.
Water deeply and infrequently. Early morning or late evening is best because the least amount of water is lost to evaporation.
One inch of water a week is all that's needed to keep a lawn with a good soil base healthy.
Water only during allocated times and avoid watering if rain is forecast.
Gain more free time and save water by letting your lawn go brown or dormant over the summer. If it doesn't rain, watering slowly and deeply once a month will ensure the lawn recovers in the fall. Avoid walking or playing on dormant lawns.
Add nitrogen to your compost!
If you bag or collect your lawn clippings put them to use in your compost pile.
Freshly cut lawn clippings are rich in nitrogen and will heat up on their own when added to a composter.
Because of their high water content, grass clippings can pack down and become slimy. Avoid this by adding clippings in thin layers, and alternating with brown carbon-rich material such as dry leaves and straw.
Grasscycling doesn't cause thatch. Grass clippings are 85% water and breakdown quickly. Thatch is a build-up of grass roots and stems. Shallow watering is the main cause of thatch because it discourages deep root growth.
Core aeration in the spring and fall will prevent thatch buildup by allowing moisture and nutrients to penetrate to the roots. Care is needed when de-thatching; check with your local lawn professional.
Many insects are beneficial to your garden. Avoid using chemical insecticides, and ladybugs, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, damsel bugs etc., will be abundant in your garden and you will find them eating harmful insects.