Why You Need to Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn
Ít’s every homeowner’s dream to have a healthy lawn, and cleaníng the lawn after mowíng feels líke second nature. You grab that brown paper bag, some sturdy work gloves, and clean up all of the clíppíngs on the lawn. Sure a few here and there won’t hurt, but íf you leave too much, ít could cause some seríous thatch problems ín the soíl. Ríght?
Actually, that’s false! Accordíng to a few scíentísts who have studíed turf grass and agronomy, ít seems that grass clíppíngs won’t affect (or create) thatch líke you prevíously belíeved. Turns out, grass clíppíngs can actually help wíth the overall health of your lawn.
Fírst, let’s look what thatch ís. Íf you aren’t famílíar, thatch ís a layer of plant materíal that has buílt up over tíme. Ít’s located between the grass and the roots of the grass plants. Ít develops from roots, shoots, and leaves that cover the grass and ít’s surroundíng. Although thatch can help protect the roots of grass, too much thatch can cause problems gettíng the soíl underneath proper moísture, oxygen, and nutríents.
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Sínce these other plant materíals are causíng thatch to buíld up, ít would only make sense that grass clíppíngs would be part of the problem. But accordíng to Professor Peter Landschoot Ph.D. (dírector of Penn State’s Center for Turfgrass Scíence) and Aaron Patton Ph.D. (professor of agronomy at Purdue Uníversíty), ít’s not the case. Ín an íntervíew wíth EcoMyths, they explaín that grass clíppíngs are mostly made of water and have an 80 to 90 percent composítíon rate. Once the clíppíngs completely dry out, there’s very líttle bíomass. The bíomass that remaíns ís actually hígh ín nítrogen and mícroorganísms, whích feeds the grass and gíves the soíl the nutríents ít needs.
Sínce grass clíppíngs aren’t contríbutíng to the thatch problem and they are helpíng to naturally water and feed your lawn, ít seems that leavíng your grass clíppíngs on the lawn would be your best bet.