What is: Grass Clippings

Grass clippings are the small pieces of grass that are cut and left behind after mowing a lawn. They are a common byproduct of lawn maintenance and can be found in abundance in residential and commercial landscapes. While some people may view grass clippings as waste, they actually serve several important purposes in maintaining a healthy lawn.

The Benefits of Grass Clippings

Grass clippings provide a natural source of nutrients for the soil and the grass itself. When left on the lawn, they break down quickly and release nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential elements for plant growth. This natural fertilization process helps to promote a lush and green lawn without the need for additional chemical fertilizers.

Furthermore, grass clippings act as a natural mulch, helping to retain moisture in the soil and reduce weed growth. They create a protective layer that prevents evaporation and conserves water, which is especially beneficial during hot and dry periods. This mulching effect also helps to regulate soil temperature, keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Proper Disposal of Grass Clippings

While leaving grass clippings on the lawn is beneficial, there are certain situations where they should be removed. For example, if the grass is excessively long or wet, it may clump together and smother the underlying grass. In this case, it is recommended to collect the clippings and dispose of them properly.

Grass clippings can be composted along with other organic materials, such as leaves and kitchen scraps. Composting is a natural process that breaks down organic matter into nutrient-rich soil. By composting grass clippings, you can create your own homemade fertilizer and reduce waste at the same time.

Common Misconceptions about Grass Clippings

There are several misconceptions about grass clippings that need to be addressed. One common belief is that leaving clippings on the lawn will contribute to thatch buildup. Thatch is a layer of dead grass and other organic matter that accumulates between the soil and the living grass. However, research has shown that grass clippings do not contribute significantly to thatch buildup and can actually help to break it down.

Another misconception is that grass clippings will attract pests and create a messy appearance. While it is true that clippings can attract insects, they are typically beneficial ones, such as earthworms, that help to aerate the soil. As for the messy appearance, grass clippings can be easily dispersed by raking or mowing over them again, resulting in a clean and well-maintained lawn.

Best Practices for Using Grass Clippings

To make the most of grass clippings, it is important to follow some best practices. First, ensure that your lawn mower blades are sharp to achieve a clean cut. Dull blades can tear the grass, leading to larger clippings that take longer to decompose. Additionally, mow your lawn regularly and at the proper height to avoid excessive clippings.

It is also recommended to leave the grass clippings on the lawn rather than bagging them. This not only saves time and effort but also provides the aforementioned benefits of natural fertilization and moisture retention. However, if you prefer a neater appearance or have specific reasons to remove the clippings, make sure to compost them instead of sending them to a landfill.


In conclusion, grass clippings are a valuable resource for maintaining a healthy and vibrant lawn. They provide natural nutrients, act as a mulch, and contribute to the overall health of the soil. By following best practices and dispelling common misconceptions, you can make the most of grass clippings and reduce waste in the process. So, the next time you mow your lawn, consider leaving those clippings behind for a greener and more sustainable landscape.