Regular mowing is part of lawn care. A large amount of lawn clippings is therefore incurred between spring and autumn. One use for the lawn clippings is to use them as garden mulch. If you want to use grass clippings mulch on your lawn for the first time, information on how to use it is crucial. To know how to use lawn clippings mulch, take a look at this article, where I have dealt in more detail with mulching gardens with lawn clippings.
Benefits Of Grass Clippings Mulch
Knowing how to turn lawn pruning into garden mulch not only suppresses weeds and saves time, but also frees the garden soil
and feeds it throughout the year. Using grass clippings in your garden will make your garden healthier and reallocate your garden waste in an environmentally friendly way. Some more advantages are:
When using lawn cutter mulch, it can perform certain tasks on your lawn. These include adding nutrients and ensuring that your garbage bins in your garden are empty. If you use grass pruning mulch for annuals, you can use it as a soil substitute. You don’t even have to worry about planting annuals such as marigolds, begonias, and petunias. If you want to keep moisture in your soil so that your plants are watered a little less, suppress weeds, and feed your plants in time, try lawn mulch.
Similar to hay and straw, cutting grass can suffocate weeds, store moisture, break down over time and nourish the soil
. Lawn pruning is an excellent organic mulch for vegetable gardens, flower beds, and kitchen gardens. You will also benefit from cooling the root zone and maintaining moisture.
Preparing the plants for spring
Especially in autumn, the use of grass clippings mulch is a good way to preserve garden beds and prepare for autumn plants in the following spring. Some gardening shops sell bags of prepared mulch, but you can also find mulch material suitable for lawn pruning in your garden.
Mulching with lawn pruning has the added advantage of taking another step away from laborious gardening. It is one of the best ways to use waste, as grass cuttings decompose quickly, adding nitrogen to the soil, increasing porosity, and reducing evaporation. Make sure that fresh grass cuttings are pesticide-free and add organic substances to the compost heap.
When NOT To Use Grass Clippings as Mulch
When it comes to using lawn pruning as mulch, the first rule is to make sure your grass is free of seeds and heads. Avoid mulching trees and shrubs with grass clippings from lawns that have been treated with synthetic chemicals or weedkillers.
Like mentioned before, do not use grass clippings as mulch when using weedkillers on the lawn. If the lawn is composted, it is more advantageous, if you leave the lawn alone. However, mulching with a thick layer of grass cuttings on a compost heap leads to bad smells due to anaerobic decomposition.
When cuttings are used as mulch, rain, or irrigation water and weedkillers are released. These allow weedkillers to penetrate the soil and infect trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetable plants. Reducing moist lawn cutting mats reduces the penetration of oxygen and moisture into the soil. When using mulch in general, applying mulch around flowers, vegetable shrubs and trees can help reduce weeds. Moreover, it can conserve moisture, and moderate soil temperature.
A few more points to consider before mulching grass clippings regarding University of Minnesota Extensions
- You should not apply more than 1-2 inches of grass clippings at one time
- Don’t use wet clippings
- If you have treated your lawn with a herbicide – contact the product owner first and ask about any problems known with the usage of grass clipping mulch
How To Use Grass Clippings As Garden Mulch
Now let’s have a look at the following seven steps on how you can use grass clippings as mulch in your garden.
Step 1: Let the grass dry
It is controversial whether the grass clippings can be used for mulching directly from the lawnmower’s collecting container or should be dried slightly first. The disadvantage of drying is that the material does not dry up so compactly and is therefore blown by the wind. With freshly cut material there is again the risk that it will start to rot because it sticks together strongly. The green also attracts snails.
Tip: You can simply leave the cut blades of grass on the mowed area to dry.
Step 2: Remove weeds
Lawn clippings are indeed good protection against weeds. However, it only protects against new wild plants. Therefore, you should weed the bed before applying the mulch layer.
Step 3: Applying long-term fertilizer
The rotting process of the lawn waste removes nitrogen from the soil. However, since this is essential for the growth of vegetable plants, some professional gardeners recommend applying a biological long-term fertilizer
to the bed before mulching.
Step 4: The right thickness of the mulch layer
The height at which you apply the mulch layer depends on whether the material is fresh or slightly dried:
- Fresh clippings: about eight to ten centimeters, quickly falls to half when it dries
- Slightly dried grass clippings: about four to five centimeters
If the weather is rather damp when mowing or in the next few days, you should spread fresh lawn waste at a height of no more than two centimeters, as lawn clippings, in which moisture accumulates, easily begins to rot. In addition, it sticks together strongly, so that no oxygen to the ground penetrates.
Step 5: Distance to your plants
Since there is a risk that the mulch layer will begin to rot, especially in damp weather, you should not mulch two to three centimeters around the plant with the lawn waste.
Step 6: Loosen the mulch layer
Although most of the clippings will rot after a few weeks, the rotting process can take longer in adverse weather conditions. Therefore, you should always slightly loosen the mulch layer. This also helps you avoid
- a layer of mulch that is a little too thick condenses or
- Mice discover the clippings as roosts
Step 7: Re-application
When you can mulch with the lawn waste again depends on the rotting process. The prerequisite for spreading a new layer of mulch is that the old one has decomposed. This is usually the case after four to six weeks.