Composting Grass Clippings – Garden Tips 2023

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composting grass clippings

Grass needs to be cut, sometimes twice a week in the summer. But what do you do with all those clippings? Instead of throwing them away, use them in your compost to capture the nutrients for your garden.

Composting grass clippings: It is pretty easy to compost grass clippings. Simply attach the clippings bag to your lawnmower and get to work. Once the bag is full, add the clippings to your compost bin. Be sure to aerate your compost regularly to help break down the contents faster and to prevent bad odors. You can also add a layer of brown matter to offset the green matter of your grass clippings for a more balanced compost.

Can you compost grass clippings?

Yes, you can definitely compost grass clippings. The only caveat is that the grass needs to be untreated.

If you have recently sprayed your grass with a weed killer, then you will need to dispose of your grass clippings in your garbage. Weed killer can harm other plants and if the chemical is introduced to your compost, you will have no control over which plants are infected with it.

So, as long as your grass clippings are completely natural and have no chemicals on them, then you can place them in your compost.

Things to consider when composting grass clippings

things to consider when composting grass clippings

Wet grass

You should always try to cut the grass when it is dry, not wet. Wet grass will stretch and tear more easily, leading to an unhealthy lawn.

Furthermore, wet grass is a lot heavier than dry grass and will fill up your grass basket a lot faster. You will need to remove it a few times while mowing your grass and carrying it to your compost bin will be harder thanks to the extra weight.

Grass length

While you might think it is better to cut the grass short so you can go longer between mowing, it’s actually far more beneficial to leave your grass so it is still a few inches tall.

Taller grass provides more shade to your soil, which is especially important in the hot summer months. As a result, you will need to let your grass grow to be 3 or 4 inches tall before you mow it.

How to compost grass clippings

Start by attaching the grass catcher to your lawnmower. Not only will this hold all of your grass clippings but it will prevent them from getting onto your driveway or sidewalk, so you don’t have to clean up the mess afterward.

Once your bag is full, you can then remove the bag and take it to your compost. Be careful when carrying the bag as it can be heavy and you may accidentally drop it, leading to a large mess.

Lift the bag up and pour it into your compost. Then, with a shovel or a compost turner, shift the contents around. Not only will this help incorporate the grass into your existing compost but it will aerate the material and add oxygen to the mix.

If you have a lot of grass clippings, be sure to add a layer of brown material on top of the compost. This will help dampen any smell and provide the right ratio for healthy compost.

How long does it take to compost grass clippings?

Grass clippings will be very small after you mow the lawn, which helps in the breaking down process. The smaller an item is, the faster it will become a usable part of the compost.

Grass only takes a few days, or up to a week to compost. When added to your large compost, it might take a little longer if you don’t take proper care of your bin.

Regularly turn your compost so that oxygen is reintroduced to the material, which will help break it down. It’s also important to add the right ratio of green and brown material for the best compost mixture.

Will grass smell in my compost

If you’ve ever walked through a large field that is freshly mowed, with the grass still on it, then you will know that grass can emit a fairly foul odor. It’s one of the problems with leaving a large amount of mowed grass on your lawn.

Compost bins with grass clippings have a bad reputation for smelling but there are many ways to prevent this from happening. The key is to spend a bit of time every day on your compost bin to create the best results.

Turn your compost every day, especially during the summer when it gets hot out. Turning the compost allows for more oxygen to reach the middle of the pile, which will help break down the contents instead of allowing them to remain and rot.

Grass that is freshly cut is considered a green material and you need a combination of green and brown materials to prevent a smell in your compost. After adding grass clippings, add a layer of brown material, such as old leaves or shredded newspaper.

Do you have to compost grass clippings?

Adding grass clippings to your compost is very beneficial as it adds an extra layer of nutrients to the mix. However, there is an alternative to putting your clippings in the compost.

If you want to cut a few steps, simply remove the clipping basket from your lawn mower and allow the grass to lie on the ground after you mow your lawn. The grass will start to break down immediately and after a few days will become a part of your lawn, allowing the nutrients to seem directly into your soil.

The only time you want to avoid this is if you have grass that is very long. If you plan on using an edger to cut down tall pieces of grass, this will take a lot longer to break down and will result in an unsightly mess.

Conclusion

The grass is full of important nutrients so instead of throwing it in the garbage, place it in your compost. As the grass breaks down, it will release all the nutrients and you can then add the compost back into your garden to complete the lifecycle.  

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