How Grass Clippings Can Help Improve Soil Health and Nutrient Cycling

You want to achieve a picture-perfect lawn with just a little effort! Over the years, lawn professionals have worked on different ways and techniques through which people can maintain a healthy and green lawn. Grass clippings, a method that has become popular in recent years, exemplify growing healthy grass efficiently. This practice is also called “grasscycling.” It can provide up to 25 percent of the lawn’s fertilizer needs building robust and nutrient-rich soil. This natural fertilizer is easy to add and cuts all the steps of bagging and disposing of the clippings. It is cost-effective and environmentally friendly, and easy to follow. Adding it to your lawn maintenance routine will definitely give you effective results. To understand the process of grasscycling and its benefits, read here. 

What are grass clippings?

Grass clippings are leftover pieces of grass are the lawn is moved or clipped. The method of leaving these clippings on the grass to decompose and add nutrients to the soil is called “grasscycling” [1]. As grass contains a high amount of water and nitrogen, it quickly breaks after a few weeks acting as a fertilizer for your soil. This is a very environmentally friendly way to add nutrients to the soil and reduce plastic waste. It is also a cost-effective way to provide the nitrogen required for your soil. Following the one-third mowing rule, you can get short-cut grass that is easily spread over your turf. If you follow the grasscycling method, you must be patient for it to be effective compared to other fertilizer methods. 

What are the benefits of the grass clippings method?

Grass clipping, when used in grasscycling, provides your lawn with several benefits. When the grass clippings are left on the lawn, they decompose quickly to improve soil richness and start nutrient cycling. 

1. Improves Soil health 

Grass has essential nutrients for growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. When the lawn clippings are left in the lawn, their decomposition releases these nutrients and starts the nutrient cycling process. This promotes the health of the soil, enriching and sustaining it. 

2. Moisture Retention 

Retaining moisture in the lawn is one of its great benefits, especially during dry and drought seasons. The grass clippings have 80 percent moisture [2]; when added to the lawn, they help retain a lot of moisture. Therefore, you can water the lawn less frequently.

3. Reduce Weed

Using glass clippings as much, you control the weeds that destroy your lawn, keeping the plants and grass safe. The grass clippings form a protective barrier over the grass hence preventing its roots from forming and spreading. Additionally, this controls the need for herbicides and other chemicals for weed prevention. 

4. Reduce Soil Erosion

Soil erosion can become an issue if you live in hilly or highland areas. Its impact can ruin your lawn and wash away the soil you work hard to nourish. During the rainfall seasons, the impact can be substantial. Adding grass clippings to the lawn reduces the damage from soil erosion. 

5. Environment Friendly 

In addition to all its nutrient benefits, grasscycling is also very environmentally friendly. Its minimal and organic method saves the environment from harmful waste, conserving resources. They also do not have a negative impact on the environment once added to the lawn as a fertilizer. 

Does putting grass clippings on bare spots help grass grow?

Grass clippings add nutrients to the soil. Hence when a bare patch gets all the required nutrients and sunlight, it starts growing a layer of grass. Bare spots contribute to various factors such as high traffic, less moisture, too many chemicals, or weed and insect infestation. All of this blocks grass growth. When you take care of all these factors and add grass clippings to the soil, the grassroots are nourished enough to grow again [3]. 

Do grass clippings cause thatch problems?

You will not face thatch problems due to grass clippings[4]. According to research, thatch is not caused due to grass clippings as these are organic and they decompose quickly, enriching the soil. At the same time, thatch comprises turf grass roots, crowns, rhizomes, and stolons, which do not decompose.  Applying proper lawn maintenance techniques will prevent any thatch build-up. This entails proper aeration, mowing, fertilization, and seeding.

How to add grass clippings to the lawn?

The method of adding grass clippings to the lawn is simple. Here are all the steps to follow.

  1. Start by cutting grass to a proper height. Cut only one-third of the grass’s length. Never cut the grass too short. Cut the grass when it is dry, avoid cutting dry grass, and mow once a week in the growing season to have small grass clippings that can decompose quickly. 
  2. Use a mower with sharp blades so that it does not tear the grass, making it susceptible to disease.
  3. Let the grass clippings settle into the grass, making sure they are even spread. You can do this using a rake, which will also help the clumped-up long bunches spread in the area. 
  4. Water thoroughly but infrequently such that the grass is dry before you water and thoroughly moisturize afterward.  


Grass clippings in your lawn are a great way to nourish and enrich your soil. Over time they positively impact your lawn, making your turf green and healthy. As it does not add to thatch buildup, you can use this method without worry. When following grasscycling, it is essential to follow a proper method and do your research before starting. This will help you avoid diseases and weed infestation. Growing a lush, green, healthy lawn is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.  


Q1. What are the nutrients that your lawn gets from grass clippings?

  1. A) Grass clipping contains various nutrients such as nitrogen (4%), potassium (2%), and phosphorus (1%). Apart from the direct nutrients they provide, they are also a source of food for bacteria in the solid, which significantly benefits it. This bacteria decomposes thatch and serves to maintain a healthy turf.

Q2. How does grass clipping work as a fertilizer?

  1. A) When you leave the grass clipping in the lawn after mowing, you provide it with essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. As a result, these generate biological activity in the soil, and you get a healthy turf. These grass clippings can serve your annual fertilizer needs up to 40 percent. 

Q3. Do grass clippings help grass grow?

  1. A) When glass clippings are added to the grass, they provide fertilizer, which helps the grass grow faster and healthier. It also aids in quickly healing the grass after trimming it. As the grass clipping provides nutrients like nitrogen to the soil, this increases the growth rate of the grass. 

Q4. Can grass clippings be used for seeding?

  1. A) The grass clipping can definitely be used for seeding as an alternative to straw or mulch. When you follow this method carefully,y it can grow grass rapidly. For that, you have to spread the dry grass clippings evenly along with the grass seed. Over time they will become a part of the soil, providing nutrients for the grass to grow.  






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