The best way to combat the overgrown grass and weeds in your garden is by cutting it regularly.
But where does all that cut grass go if you’d rather not leave piles of it in the lawn or garden?
In most cities, your grass clippings are allowed to go into the ordinary waste bin. However, if you’re in a new development or you’ve just moved house, it’s worth checking with your council if the green/black bin is included in your property‘s waste disposal service. Some commercial companies that provide waste disposal services for grass cuttings in bins may charge an additional fee for collecting it.
It’s estimated that around 40% of household waste goes into landfills each year.
You should start thinking about where your rubbish goes after you’ve finished using it.
Collecting grass cuttings and recycling allows you to reduce the amount of waste you send to a landfill site and helps to keep our own natural landscape healthy.
Read on to find out more about compositing and appropriate disposal of grass cuttings.
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Do grass clippings cause weeds?
It is true that grass clippings sometimes may help weeds to spread but not cause them to grow per se.
This is because grass clippings contain a lot of organic matter as they come from your lawn and garden.
So, when they are spread around in your lawn or garden, they provide organic matter to be broken down by soil bacteria.
In the process of decomposition, a lot of nutrients are released into the surrounding soil.
With these nutrients, plants are able to grow and develop in a healthy way.
This way, weeds and other plants are able to take advantage of these nutrients and grow rapidly.
Eventually, the invading plants will outgrow the ideal ones and take over your lawn or garden.
Regardless of whether grass clippings are your lawn’s crowning glory or the source of unwelcome vegetation in your garden, it can be used as a source of nutrients in planting new plants.
Can you put grass in a normal bin?
Typical waste disposal bins are commonly known as black bins or green bins in other places.
Basically, you can put grass cuttings in normal garbage bins.
But that will be subject to your bin collection company’s policy.
Some find it unacceptable and may decide to charge you extra fee for it.
In that case, you better ask the bin collectors when they reach your house.
Re-used or recycled household items are often put in the bin to be taken away.
Organic waste, unique to gardens, is usually thrown away in a black bin.
Some food waste can be composted but if not, most councils and states specially design a separate compost bin.
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Polluted water is also collected in an underground system.
Garden waste is just one of the many kinds of waste collected by your local council.
And yes, grass cuttings are subject to the same waste disposal policy as all other kinds of waste.
Are grass clippings biodegradable?
Just like your food waste, grass clippings are ultimately easily-degradable in nature.
Eco-friendly lawn care practices will ensure that your yard waste is put to use productively and not a burden on the environment.
You can store clippings in your compost bin and let them rot down naturally, or you can add them to your garden soil as thatch or let them mix.
Grass clippings will biodegrade once they are in contact with soil bacteria, which are present in most soils.
The process may take several months or several years depending on a variety of factors such as:
- moisture content
- and bacterial activity
Compostable yard waste like leaves, tree trimmings, grass clippings and branches are a major source of nutrients for plants.
In order to get these nutrients, the soil needs to be loosened and aerated in a compost pile and turned over to break down the organic matter.
However, if you want to keep your lawn clippings in their original form as mulch, simply spread them out in a layer on top of your soil or garden beds.
Grass clippings can also be used as compost additives for root zones of plants or seed bed preparation materials.
What is the best way to store cut grass?
Storing grass clippings is not only a way to reduce landfill but also a good way of recycling.
There are composting bins for composting your regular waste and there are also backyard composters for recycling organic waste.
The basics of composting or vermiculture is to help the decomposition process through the use of heat and natural bacteria.
The process of composting starts by turning waste into heat and then into a fertilizer that you can use in your garden in the form of topsoil.
The grass clippings are turned over as they lay on top of the compost pile.
For this purpose, grass clippings collected after mowing can be stored in large amounts using the following ideas:
- in a shed
- in a lawn bag
- under a tarp
- in barrels
- in a compost heap
What can happen if you don’t store grass clippings properly?
Dry grass clippings can be a fire hazard especially when dry grass is left to accumulate.
A pile of grass clippings can also cause unpleasant smells during the decomposition process.
Some pests like rats and voles are attracted by the smell.
So, if you want to keep them away from your garden, you better store grass clippings properly.
Other than that, grass clippings can be a potential source of spreading diseases, bacteria or fungi.
The warm, wet and dark environment of grass cuttings can be a breeding place for these microorganisms.
Mold problems can also be a concern, especially during the wet season.
And if left on the lawn for too long, the clippings can not only cause an unattractive appearance but may affect the health of your family, pets and plants while outdoors.
Mixing grass clippings into soil
Besides storing grass clippings, you can also incorporate them in the soil as part of a routine clean up and boosting nutrient content.
With 4% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus, and 2% potassium, grass clippings can contribute to healthy organic fertilizer for your plants.
A rototiller can be used to mix the clippings with the soil at desired depth.
Alternatively, a shovel or rake is also effective in mixing loose soil and clippings together.
In this case, the grass clippings can be added to any size garden or container plants.
As with any kind of organic material, there is a risk of introducing disease-carrying organisms into your garden via clippings.
So, you should make sure that you are not bringing in diseased plants or weeds with the clippings.
3 to 4 inches is a good size of grass clippings to add to a garden.
Allow 6 to 12 months for the decomposition process to take place and create rich soil at deep levels.
How to burn grass clippings
Burning grass clippings is a way of disposing of them but it can also generate harmful chemicals and air pollution.
So, the burning method is not recommended except in special cases.
Instead, you can mulch the remains with grass clippings and make a compost pit while waiting for the grass clippings to decompose naturally.
Consider fire bans or ongoing restrictions on burning in your area when disposing of grass clippings.
A nearby water supply or garden hose may be used to put out a grass fire effectively, in case of emergency.
But pay attention to your local weather forecasts to be aware of risks such as strong winds that could turn a small grass fire into a disaster.
But if you are looking for a safe way of burning grass clippings, a combustion facility, a commercial or a portable outdoor fire pit is the best way to go.
Grass cuttings can go to the regular garbage bin.
It depends on your bin collection service whether they accept it or not.
Just like your food waste, there are many ways to make sure your lawn clippings are properly disposed of.
A few tips include spreading it around your garden beds, adding it to your compost pile, or mixing it into your soil.
Grass clippings are an important part of how soil works.
When you cut off grass clippings, they break down and release some nutrients back into the soil.
This helps plants to grow better than if there was no grass clipping left.
If you want to dispose of grass clippings safely, there are many ways to do so.
Mulching is one option, and using an outdoor fire pit is another.