Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:35 am
As soon as spring arrives, grass clippings are plentiful and we often wonder what to do with the mowed grass and whether it can be composted.
But be careful, if it is quite possible to put the grass clippings in the compost, you must respect certain rules.
Grass clippings can be an excellent addition to compost, and they are compatible with the composting process. In fact, grass clippings are a valuable source of green, or nitrogen-rich, material in composting, which is essential for achieving a balanced compost pile. Here’s how to effectively incorporate grass clippings into your compost:
- Layering: To create a balanced compost pile, you should alternate between green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Grass clippings are considered “green” materials because they are high in nitrogen. Layer grass clippings with brown materials like leaves, straw, shredded paper, or woody plant material.
- Avoid Clumping: Fresh grass clippings tend to be moist and can become compacted, making it harder for air to circulate in the compost pile. To prevent clumping, spread the clippings in thin layers and mix them with other compostable materials to maintain good aeration.
- Balancing Carbon and Nitrogen: It’s important to maintain the right balance of carbon and nitrogen in your compost pile. Grass clippings provide nitrogen, while brown materials provide carbon. A general guideline is to aim for a carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio of around 25-30:1. Grass clippings can help achieve the desired nitrogen content.
- Mixing: Turn or aerate your compost pile regularly to mix the grass clippings and other materials thoroughly. This helps speed up decomposition and ensures even distribution of nutrients.
- Caution with Herbicides and Pesticides: If you’ve used herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, be cautious about adding the clippings to your compost. Some chemicals may persist in the grass clippings and could potentially affect the composting process. It’s generally a good practice to avoid using chemically treated grass clippings in your compost.
- Dry Clippings: If your grass clippings are excessively wet or fresh, consider drying them out in the sun for a day or two before adding them to the compost pile. This helps reduce moisture levels and prevent clumping.
- Use Grass as Mulch: Alternatively, you can use grass clippings as mulch in your garden to help suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and return nutrients to the soil.
Remember that a well-balanced compost pile should also include a variety of materials, such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic matter. Properly maintained compost piles with a good mix of green and brown materials can produce nutrient-rich compost that can improve your soil and benefit your garden.
Are lawn grass and compost compatible?
Yes, lawn grass is compatible with compost but in a certain proportion.
Indeed, the interest of compost being to vary the waste, a compost made only with mowing waste is not possible.
Since grass clippings are very rich in water, an excess in the compost would tend to make your compost rot.
Therefore, you can use grass clippings but only if they do not exceed about 25% of your compost.
Ideally, you should dry the grass before putting it in the compost.
Using grass clippings in the garden
To use grass clippings, there are several options available to you.
As mentioned above, some of it can be used in your composter.
For the rest, it may be appropriate to use it as mulch on your flower and shrub beds or in the vegetable garden.
- A layer of a few centimeters will bring nitrogen to your soil.
- This mulch will prevent or delay the growth of weeds.
- The grass clippings will maintain a good level of humidity in the soil while limiting the number of waterings.
- Mulching, the other solution to use grass clippings
- Mulching is also an effective way to transform grass clippings into organic matter for your lawn or turf.