Lawn Care Tips: Leaving Clippings On The Lawn
There are a lot of pros and cons in the argument about leaving grass clippings on your lawn. Some gardeners swear it’s a good idea while others are just as vehement it’s a bad idea. So who’s right, those for it or those against it?
In theory, lawn clippings should be good for your lawn. In theory. As we all know, what works well in theory often doesn’t work well in practice. But then, that’s often because the practice itself is poor, not the theory. Leaving the clippings on your lawn can be good for your lawn, but only if you follow these conditions:
- Never leave clumps of lawn clippings on your lawn. Lawn clippings should be spread evenly and thinly across the lawn with no visible clumps.
- Only leave clippings if you are mowing regularly and only taking a third off the top of the grass.
- Never mow when it’s wet. If you must, collect the clippings as wet clippings will clump – they can also be more susceptible to disease.
- Never leave clippings over freshly seeded areas.
That’s easy. Mow regularly, only taking a small amount off each time and ensuring those clippings are actually spread over the lawn. So why do some people have problems? In most cases, it is either because their mower does not spread the clippings or it’s because the grass was slightly damp when cut. These can both lead to problems in your lawn.
Here is one interesting area where you should leave clippings – again, not too clumped. If you have damaged areas in your lawn, give those damaged areas a light cut, remembering the maximum of one third rule, then use a lawn repair tool over the top to perforate the soil. Sow your seed and water well.
Don’t allow any further clippings to accumulate in that area for at least six weeks. This will give the grass seed a chance to germinate and to grow to several inches in height. So why add the clippings to begin with? Those clippings act like a warm blanket and will help the seed to germinate. The lawn care tool perforates through those clippings and through the thatch to the soil below – this allows the seed to come into contact with dirt, the best place for a grass seed to germinate.
If you add more clippings, you will smother that lawn seed as it germinates, resulting in a poor germination rate. Should you leave clippings on the lawn – only if you do it right.