Repurpose Grass Clippings as Mulch


By this time of year, if you bag your grass cuttings, you’re probably starting to think fondly of those winter months when there’s no mowing to do. (Actually, you’re probably thinking that even if you mulch-mow.) Instead of hauling those clippings to the curb or even the compost pile though, here’s another way to put them to use: use those grass clippings as mulch.

Using grass clippings as mulch works great because they break down easily into the soil, thereby improving your dirt while keeping weeds in check. Grass clippings aren’t necessarily the prettiest of mulches, so they’re best used in more utilitarian spots like garden walkways and veggie beds–unless of course, you don’t care about how it looks as long as it works.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you mulch away:

Grass clippings are very fine, which means they tend to compact quickly. Compacted, rotting grass doesn’t allow oxygen in, resulting in anaerobic decomposition. Trust me when I tell you to avoid that nasty, smelly mess by not applying grass clippings more than an inch thick. Fluff them up and/or turn them occasionally to keep them breaking down in a non-disgusting way.

If you’ve treated your lawn with herbicides recently, don’t use the clippings for mulch. Broadleaf herbicides will kill many of your decorative plants and veggies. Skip the mulching for this mowing, and use the next batch.

If your lawn has a high concentration of weeds, you might not want to use the clippings for mulch. Some weeds can grow from parts of their plants, thereby giving you a planting bed or garden full of them…kind of defeating the purpose of mulching in the first place.

Of course, the best way to avoid having to deal with grass clippings at all is to use mulching blades on your mower. Then you’ll have those tiny bits of nitrogen-filled grass clippings added right back into the soil of your lawn.

Have any other tricks for reusing grass clippings? Do tell!


Like this ‘Reuse It’  blog post by Lisa Hensley?  Then chances are you’ll also like Going Green Missoula Recycling page,  or other Re-Use It blogs: Building an Urbanite Retaining Wall , Repurposed Lighting,  or  Heirloom Seeds.


Click here to see Lisa Hensley’s Reuse It Archive.


Lisa Hensley is a mostly-native Montanan, living in Missoula with her husband, two young boys, two cats (boys), one tiny dog (a girl!) and 4 fish (probably boys). She spent more than 10 years in the Marketing and creative field, but is now Director of Household Operations for the Hensley group. When she’s not herding kids or doing laundry, she’s shooting photos, gardening, baking, reading or taking classes—sometimes all at once. She serves on the Board of Directors for Home ReSource, which fits in nicely with her tendency to repurpose pretty much anything.