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Just What is Grasscycling?

Sooo, if you followed last week’s tip and properly set your mower’s height, you should be all set for this week’s tip which will keep on making your life easier.

If you mow your lawn at the right length and cut less than 1/3rd of the blade length (less than an inch), you can just let the blades fall where they may instead of collecting, bagging, and hauling them away. This simple process is called grasscycling.

Grasscycling lets the small blade clippings fall atop the uncut grass by removing the collector from your lawn mower (if your mower has a mulching function, go ahead and use that—it cuts the clippings even smaller). Because you only cut 1/3rd of the blade, that means the uncut grass is more than twice as tall as the portion cut off. The clippings fall between the blades and out of sight. Grass clippings are nearly 90% water, which means they very quickly decompose and return nutrients to the soil. In the meantime, they make your grass appear a little thicker. Over time, grasscycling reduces turf grass fertilizer (because nutrients are added to the soil with each mowing) and water requirements (because the soil can hold onto more water). This not only helps your grass, but helps the environment because it means less runoff entering storm drains and polluting creeks, rivers, and lakes.

Grasscycling should not be done if the grass is too tall (e.g., you will cut more than 1/3rd of the blade) or too wet. In either instance, the grass clippings could clump together instead of sliding between the uncut blades and out of sight. The clumps take longer to decompose and could damage the turf grass below by blocking out light and air. Plus, it’s an eye sore.

When done properly, grasscycling is quick, easy, and invisible. A study conducted by the EPA showed that grasscycling reduced mowing time by as much as 38% while returning valuable nutrients to the soil and reducing the amount of organic waste sent to landfills.


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