28/04/2014

What to do with grass clippings

You’ve cut your grass and now you are left wondering what to do with your grass clippings. Don’t despair; we have a number of top tips that put your grass clippings to good use.

Many of us collect our lawn clippings and throw them into the organic waste bin which the council collects and disposes of for us. There are however, a couple of additional things you can do which will help ensure a healthy, green garden.

1. Leave them on your lawn 

Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn provides a great natural fertiliser for your lawn. It does NOT create thatch like some people believe. If you cut your grass weekly and remove the clippings from the lawn every time, you may actually be harming your lawn as you will be creating a nitrogen deficient. 

Only leave grass clippings on the lawn if they are quite short. Shorter grass will break down into the lawn more quickly. Some lawnmowers have a mulching mode which does this for you, making them ideal for leaving your grass clippings on the lawn. Longer grass will take longer to break down and will block sunlight from reaching the grass underneath, and may limit grass growth. For this reason you should avoid leaving wet grass clippings on your lawn as they will clump together and be difficult to break down. It will also make your lawn look unsightly. 

There are a couple of instances when you should avoid leaving grass clippings on your lawn. If the grass shows signs of disease or is full of weeds, you will only spread the disease and weeds further around your garden. You should tackle each of these issues first before you leave your grass clippings on your lawn. 

2. Give your hedges a helping hand 

Grass clipping are not only a great natural fertiliser but they are also a fantastic defence against weeds. By placing your grass clippings underneath the base of your hedges and bushes it will prevent weeds from growing. It also has the additional benefit of containing water which will be added to the soil when the grass breaks down. For best results add about an inch and a half of clippings around the base of the hedge avoiding the main stems. 

3. Create your own compost 

Every compost heap need a mixture of green and brown material, and grass clippings are an easy and readily available source of green material for you to use. Creating your own compost is the easy, cost effective way to add nutrients to your plants and lawn. If you don’t have the space or desire to create your own compost heap, then you could always ask someone at your local allotment. They will usually be more than happy to take the grass off your hands for their own compost pile. 

4. Save your vegetables 

If you grow your own vegetables you may find that slugs and snails often frequent your crop. One way to remove them without the use of pesticides is to dry out your grass clippings, and add them in thin layers around your vegetables. This may deter those pesky critters from taking a nibble out of your crops allowing you to enjoy them that bit more. 

 Things not to do

Some people are often tempted to burn their garden waste. This is a huge shame as much of it can be naturally recycled to make your garden healthier. Not only this but it creates smoke, can annoy the neighbours and creates carbon dioxide which is added to the atmosphere. 

Also people are tempted to throw their grass clippings into their general waste bin. This again should always be avoided. When organic material breaks down it creates methane which in large quantities can ignite. 

The alternative to both these is to visit your local tip. Many local recycling centres now accept organic garden waste for free, and is the quick and easy way to get rid of your grass clippings for free.

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