Grasscycling: Cut It High and Let It Lie
Grasscycling can help you maintain a healthier and more nutrient-rich lawn, cut back on the time spent bagging grass, and help the environment.
Did you know that, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a 40-foot by 100-foot lawn produces about 1,200 pounds of grass clippings each year? Grasscycling will put this material to great use on your lawn!
How It Works
While mowing the grass, simply remove the bag so grass will be recycled back onto your lawn. When grasscycling, never cut more than one third of the length off of the grass blade in one mowing. Keep your grass mowed to 2 inches in the spring, gradually raising the height to 3-4 inches by summer, then reduce to 2 inches by late fall. Frequent mowing at a low cutting height deprives the root system of nutrients and moisture. Longer grass blades protect soil from the sun. Also, be sure to keep your mower blade sharp because a dull mower blade can tear the grass, resulting in a ragged appearance at the leaf tip.
Letting clippings lie provides many benefits not only for you, but the environment too.
First it will eliminate the time and labor required for bagging. Second, grass clippings, when properly cut, decompose quickly and release valuable nutrients back into the soil. For instance, grasscycling helps conserve water because the grass clippings left on your lawn reduce water loss from evaporation. Finally, grasscycling reduces the need for Baltimore County to collect and process yard materials, thereby reducing pollution and saving tax dollars.
Besides letting your grass clippings remain on the lawn, you could also compost the grass clippings, use them as mulch, or use them as a soil additive. Using about one inch of dried grass clippings on top of the soil can reduce weeds, control soil temperature, reduce the risk of erosion, and protect against moisture loss from evaporation. Mixing fresh grass clippings into the soil in your garden improves soil texture, promotes moisture retention, and adds nutrients directly to the soil.
Revised November 3, 2010