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Leave grass clippings on the lawn

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing is the natural way of breaking down grass, also known as grasscycling or grass mulching. The next time you mow the lawn, try leaving clippings on the lawn rather than putting them in your green cart or in paper yard waste bags.

It’s good for your lawn

  • Grass clippings will quickly break down, returning nutrients to the soil. 
  • Clippings help protect the soil and increase soil health by keeping moisture in the ground.

It’s good for you

  • Saves you time and energy collecting and disposing of clippings in the green cart, bagging in paper yard waste bags and lifting bags of grass.
  • Saves you money by reducing the need for paper yard waste bags.
  • Saves you water and fertilizer, as your lawn will stay more hydrated from the clippings.

It’s good for the environment

  • Saves space in your green cart, so the cart doesn’t fill up as quickly and reduces the need for paper yard waste bags. 
  • Reduces the amount of waste put out for collection and processing, and helps keep our operations running more efficiently.
  • Grass clippings are good in the compost facility, but it’s even better when it’s left on your lawn.

How to leave clippings on the lawn

Cut grass when the surface is dry and keep mower blades sharp. Follow the 1/3 rule: mow your lawn often enough so that no more than 1/3 your grass is cut. You may need to raise the height of your mower. This frequent mowing will produce short clippings that will break down quickly.

You can leave clippings on the lawn with almost any mower (push, electric or gas). Using your existing mower, remove the bag and leave the clippings on the lawn. 

Mulching mowers cut grass blades into small pieces, allowing the clippings to settle into your lawn without clumping. They are sold at most yard and garden stores, nurseries and home supply stores.

For more lawn care ideas and composting tips, visit the following resources:​

Common questions about leaving clippings on the lawn

Will leaving grass clippings make my lawn less attractive?

Leaving clippings can actually produce a healthier looking lawn. It is important to cut the lawn frequently to produce small clippings that will decompose quickly.

Does leaving grass clippings cause thatch?

Grass roots are the primary cause of thatch, not grass clippings. Thatch is made up of roots, stems, rhizomes and other plant materials. These materials contain large amounts of lignin (fibrous material) and decompose slowly. Grass clippings are about 80-85 per cent water with only small amounts of lignin, and break down rapidly.

Does leaving grass clippings spread lawn disease?

Poor watering and fertilizing has a much greater impact on the spread of grass disease than leaving clippings on the lawn. If a desirable environment for grass disease is present, infestation will occur whether clippings are collected or not.

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