When you mow the lawn do you simply throw your grass clippings in the bin and send them off to landfill? If so, you’re underlying this precious high-nitrogen fertiliser that’s as good for your backyard as it is for your compost pile.
Here’s how to make the most of your grass clippings:
Grasscycling is simply recycling your grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn to decompose naturally. This releases valuable nutrients, adds water-saving mulch and encourages natural soil aeration by earthworms. Clippings are a rich source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus and contain lesser amounts of other plant nutrients. As the clippings are rapidly broken down into these nutrients they’ll be returned to the lawn, eliminating the need for expensive fertilisers that can harm soil organisms or wildlife. For best results, clippings should be as small as possible so they break down quickly and don’t add to the ‘thatch’ layer. This is achieved through regular mowing. Lawn clippings can also be used as mulch around annual flowers and vegetable crops.
Grass is also a great addition to a compost pile, as it is rich in nitrogen that the microbes use when decomposing the organic matter. However, if stored incorrectly clippings can cause a smelly, slimy mess. A pile of grass clippings has a high moisture content and can form a compact mat that restricts airflow. That’s why it’s important to combine clippings with plenty of dry matter like wood chips, bark, straw, dry leaves etc. These should be mixed in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio with grass to produce good compost and reduce odours. Also make sure you don’t add grass clippings to your compost pile that have been treated with herbicides for at least two to three weeks after application.
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