Lawn clippings – leave or remove from the lawn? (8-23-10)
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The question often asked is what's the best thing to do with lawn grass clippings? The wisest use is to return them directly back to the lawn.
When we maintain the desired mowing height with regularly scheduled mowing, these small clippings fall back into the turf canopy and actually benefit the lawn. As these clippings decompose they return nutrients back to the turf and feed beneficial microorganisms. Take no more than one-third of the total leaf area off at any single mowing.
It is when we don’t or can’t mow regularly that clippings become too long to fall back into the turf canopy and becomes hay on top of our lawns. When clippings begin to pile up and block sunlight they should be removed. Even when it is necessary to remove clippings from the lawn they should never be put in the trash as this will only fill our landfills much quicker and cost you money to haul them away. Lawn clippings after composting make great soil conditioners for flower and vegetable gardens.
Published August 23, 2010
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org