Composting grass clippings is a perfect way to recycle garden waste and turn it into something as valuable as compost.
The grass clippings are packed with nutrients that are an essential part of garden care, and all you have to do is know how to turn it into super-rich fertilizer.
Follow our guide to learn expert secrets to making compost from grass clippings.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- How to Compost Grass Clippings
- Frequently Asked Questions
- – Can Grass Clippings Be Used as Mulch?
- – Why Should I Compost Grass Clippings?
- – What Is Compost?
- – How Can I Speed up Decomposition of Grass Clippings?
- – How Long Will It Take the Grass Clippings To Turn Into a Compost?
- – Should I Collect Grass Clippings From My Lawn?
- – How Can I Avoid the Unpleasant Odor of the Grass Clipping Compost Pile?
How to Compost Grass Clippings
To begin composting grass clippings, you will need a space to collect them over the weeks and allow them to decompose. Composting lawn clippings is very rewarding. There are a few ways you can choose to compost them.
You can either add grass clippings into your existing pile of compost, build a wire mesh for collecting these clippings separately, or leave the clippings on the lawn to decompose. Once you have selected your strategy of composting grass clippings, it’s time to learn the steps that are essential for composting grass clippings. Let’s start from the first option.
– Add Clippings to the Compost Bin
To add grass clippings in compost pile is not as simple as just collecting clippings and throwing them into the pile. Loads of green grass can create a negative effect on your compost pile and will not create a good, well-balanced compost.
The best way to use grass clippings in your compost pile is to follow a proper guide to make compost and practice layering methods.
Add grass clippings into your existing pile of compost by making a thick layer of mulch in between, which keeps the bad odor away. Remember to mix it with dry waste in between the layers. Soon, the clippings will break down and add more nutrients to your soil without taking up too much space.
- Collect grass clippings through a bag attached to a mower.
- Let the grass dry out before you add it to your compost pile. This may take 2 weeks.
- Try to keep a 30:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen or simply add 50 percent grass clippings and 50 percent brown waste that includes paper, twigs and dry leaves.
– Build a Wire Mesh
Alternatively, you can build a wire mesh for collecting these clippings separately. To do this perfectly, make sure there is enough aeration and you are not adding a thick pile of fresh cuttings before the old one decomposes completely. This could lead to thatch.
Alternatively, let the clippings decompose individually in a wire mesh. Once it is fully decomposed, you can use it as a light feed for the plants or mix it with other natural fertilizers.
Remember the compost has different nutrients in the soil, but the grass clipping fertilizer might not have all of these. Add a mix of other fertilizers to create a balance.
Grass clippings do not cause thatch. While composting grass clippings, there is always a chance of it developing thatch. Thatch develops when a layer of organic matter is not completely decomposed. It builds up between layers of soil beds of green vegetation.
Thatch develops when:
- Organic matter is added faster than the old one decomposes
- Longer grass varieties are left on the ground
- There is an excessive amount of nitrogen fertilization
- Irregular mowing occurs
- There is water logged soil
– Recycle Clippings by Leaving Them on the Lawn
It gets interesting when you leave clippings on the lawn to decompose. This is the ideal way to recycle clippings. You can practice them perfectly well if you mow your lawn at the right time with correct frequency.
While it is the easiest way to make use of these clippings as a natural fertilizer, take note that there is a catch. Before you begin composting the lawn clippings on the ground, make sure that you are not making these mistakes:
- Always remove grass clippings from gutters, drains and the curb.
- If your lawn is infested with disease, do not leave clippings on it.
- Very tall grasses that are mowed when the lawn is wet can create a carpet effect on the grass and make it lose its texture.
- Make sure the mower has the bag attached.
When you leave the clippings on the lawn, it does not turn into thatch. This happens because clippings contain plenty of water and are quickly broken down. They do not take long to decompose and are ready to enrich your soil sooner than the traditional compost.
– Benefits of Recycling Lawn Clippings
Lawn clippings are recycled to turn into the compost because of their nutritional value. Did you know that grass clippings that are returned to the lawn offer up to 25 percent of your lawn’s fertilizer requirements? They have good quantities of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
Extra clippings can be left on the lawn surface to enrich the grass underneath. Instead of throwing them away, gardeners collect the longer clippings and bag them. In just a few weeks, it turns into a composted fertilizer which, in return, enriches the soil.
The grass clippings from the lawn can also turn into mulch, and this practice saves money and helps fertilize the soil naturally.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to questions you may have regarding composting grass clippings for your garden.
– Can Grass Clippings Be Used as Mulch?
Yes, grass clippings can definitely be used as mulch. A thick layer of decaying leaves, compost, moss, bark, or coconut coir is added to the top surface of the soil to support plants in the following ways:
- To keep the weeds away
- To restore and maintain moisture
- To moderate soil temperatures
- To add more texture to the soil
As the organic material decomposes, it also enriches the soil. Mulch is added around flowers, vegetables, herbs, shrubs and even trees. Grass clippings are also a good mulch option if you take care of the following points:
- Avoid adding more than 2 inches of grass clippings in one go.
- Always use dry clippings as wet clippings suffocate the grass and soil.
- In low oxygen environments, anaerobic decomposition occurs and creates bad odors.
- If you have used herbicide on the ground, do not add clippings to it as a mulch.
– Why Should I Compost Grass Clippings?
Grass clippings should be composted because they are rich in nutrients, especially nitrogen, that help in strengthening the soil. Nitrogen is essential for lawn care, and by composting grass clippings, you can return the nutrient to the soil.
The organic matter from the composted grass clippings can improve soil texture. The structure of clay-based or sandy soil can greatly be improved with regular application.
Mowing helps in the collection of grass clippings. A simple tip to follow is to avoid trimming more than one-third of the grass height.
– What Is Compost?
Compost is a natural fertilizer made from plant waste mixed with soil to add microorganisms to a garden. There are two categories of plant waste; brown and green waste.
Brown waste includes dry leaves, twigs, branches and paper, while green waste includes fresh leaves, clippings, vegetable and fruit peelings and soft green branches.
– How Can I Speed up Decomposition of Grass Clippings?
Compost grass clippings fast and decompose them quickly on the lawn by mowing the grass every five days. You can speed up the decomposition of grass clippings in a compost pile by simply taking care of the ratio in the compost pile.
Make sure you add the clippings when they turn brown and consider them brown waste. Balance it with green waste to create a good quality of compost.
– How Long Will It Take the Grass Clippings To Turn Into a Compost?
Grass clippings will take a few days to turn into natural fertilizer if left on the lawn, but if you add it to the pile of compost it will take a few weeks.
– Should I Collect Grass Clippings From My Lawn?
Yes, collect grass clippings from the lawn or bag it while mowing when the lawn is overgrown. If you have to mow your lawn when it is wet, it could create a problem because the wet grass may create a mat of soggy clippings, which will negatively affect your lawn.
– How Can I Avoid the Unpleasant Odor of the Grass Clipping Compost Pile?
To avoid the unpleasant odor of the grass clipping compost pile, make sure you are not adding fresh clippings before the old ones dry out. Grass clippings are high in water content and they dry out completely within days. If you set the mowing frequency right, this should not be a problem.
For a regular compost pile, make sure you add enough brown waste and a layer of soil in between the wet green waste to avoid bad odors.
Composting grass clippings is a very rewarding practice if done correctly. Here is what we learned through our guide:
- Grass clippings can be either composted in a bin or in a mesh bag.
- Clippings can be left on the lawn if the area is disease-free.
- You can use these clippings as mulch too.
- The grass clippings are rich in nutrients and are beneficial in any way you use them.
Remember to follow the guide above, compost your lawn clippings correctly, and master the technique of composting grass clippings!