How Long Does it Take for Grass Clippings to Decompose?

Lawn of green grass

Composting grass clippings is a wonderful way to deal with it all without the work of bagging and having someone pick up along with other yard waste! You essentially do nothing, so long as you follow yard care practices that you already should be doing anyway. Read on to learn more!


Introduction

Lawn mower trimming grass

Answering the question of how long does it take for grass clippings to decompose in the yard is something more and more homeowners are asking as they look for more sustainable ways to deal with grass clippings. You can do things to make grass clippings decompose faster when you leave fresh grass clippings on the lawn to break down and improve lawn soil profiles. Keeping your yard’s grass in tip-top shape can become easier by leaving grass clippings to break down and add nutrients and other essential elements to the grass-root area of your grass. So, let’s get started!


What Can You Do with Grass Clippings?

Trimmed green grass

Leaving the clippings where they lie can help keep your grass healthier and more beautiful. You can add lawn clippings to a compost pile if you have one or use a more transitional method to break down the waste, but it is also just as viable to let the grass shreds fall back on the lawn.

Many homeowners looking for a healthy lawn will wonder how long it takes to get grass clipping broken down during the active growing season in spring and early summer? The answer can vary from yard to yard, but some standard practices can help you make the most of the clippings that end up in your compost pile or your yard.

The true benefit of recycling grass clipping debris in this way is that if you are moving correctly and keeping your grass height at the correct level between mowing sessions, there should be no worries about thatch or grass clumps making your yard look brown and less attractive. You can easily keep your grass green and healthy, maintain healthy root growth, and improve the overall sustainability of your yard. What is there not to love about that?


 


 

Can You Put Grass Cuttings in Compost- In A Pile, Bin, or Directly on the Lawn?

Flymo lawn mower cutting green grass

There are a few key things to keep in mind to compost grass clipping matter directly in the yard.

  1. Only mow dry grass and make sure you use a sharp blade, and mow at a height that takes just one-third of the grass height with any single mowing.

  2. Mow the grass, so it is kept at 3 inches for cool-season grasses and 2 inches for warm-season grasses to avoid excessive lawn clippings building up.

  3. During peak growing season, mow every 5-7 days to ensure that too much clipping material doesn’t clump up in the yard if the grass gets wet.

  4. Leave the grass clippings where they fall, moving over them a second time if you want to break them down more so grass clippings decompose faster.

 To compost grass clippings traditionally in a pile or bin:

Three bins for compost, waste and recycle

  1. Attach a mower bag that can gather the grass clippings and empty them into a compost pile or bin to decompose like any other plant matter yard waste.

  2. Add the lawn clipping to the compost pile and enjoy the added nutrients that the grass clipping matter provides as it fortifies and improves garden soil moisture.

  3. Mix green clippings with brown leaves and similar materials for the best carbon to nitrogen ratio for faster breaking down and higher organic levels.

  4. Monitoring your pile is important to determine how long it takes for grass clippings to decompose in your specific location.

Letting grass material break down and decompose on the lawn can help improve overall soil nutrients, improve soil compaction drainage, and even help prevent erosion. You can get a beautiful and healthy lawn, prevent weeds, encourage deeper grass roots growth, and get the best-looking grass in the entire neighborhood by just doing this one simple thing!


Why You Should Leave Grass Clippings on Your Lawn

Freshly trimmed green lawn

By recycling the grass clippings and working to make grass clippings decompose faster in the yard, you can keep all those nutrients right in the soil where they belong. Just as you can add other plant and organic matter, such as leaf litter, coffee grounds, and cutting from your flower beds into a compost pile, lawn clippings can be left on the ground to break down and add organic matter to the soil.

This practice is especially effective in warm seasons and areas with extreme heat as this helps to break down the lawn litter and speed up the decomposition. It can also help prevent weeds by not giving them access to the dirt below, so they have a harder time taking hold and taking over your yard. This makes it easier to use lawn fertilizer to feed the grass rather than the weeds and can also help control mowing cycles so you can keep up with even healthy grass growth all season long.


Are There Any Risks Decomposing Grass on Your Lawn?

Rolled grass clippings

So long as you are following proper lawn care procedures and recommendations, there should be no major issues with decomposing grass cutting directly on the lawn. The biggest issue homeowners are often worried about is the development of thatch and issues with soil compaction and profiles. However, following good moving height and grass length regulations by mowing regularly and not cutting grass too short will ensure the lawn clippings do not accumulate and turn into a thatch layer.

When dealing with residential lawn clippings, if you use herbicides and other chemicals aside from fertilizer on the lawn, the grass clippings can contain traces of those chemicals. For this reason, you do not want to use treated clipping in a compost pile as it can harm other plants. The lawn is accustomed to those chemicals, so recycling the grass clipping directly and deciding to leave grass clippings on the lawn will not harm it at all.

Your lawn soil can benefit from the nutrients that can come from fresh grass clippings as they break down. When you remove grass clippings, organic matter and a high level of nutrients can be lost, requiring more fertilization throughout the growing season. Leaving the clippings to decompose is a great way to improve your yard’s sustainability by letting the natural decomposition process improve soil moisture and nutrient levels.


How Do You Make Grass Clippings Decompose Faster?

Brown wet grass clippings

Grass clippings are high in nitrogen, and when dealing with fresh lawn clippings, they are also high in moisture. This can help improve break down and decomposition. You can also spread a thin layer of soil or compost over the lawn after mowing. The organic material in the soil will help grass clippings break down faster, just like what happens in a compost pile.

To help grass clippings decompose faster and get nutrients out of the lawn clippings more easily, you can also water the lawn after the soil application. This helps mix it all together and adds moisture that can make grass clippings decompose faster.

Consider this approach when leaving grass clippings after your next scheduled mowing cycle. Improve the overall lawn soil composition and boost organic matter with fast and easy clipping decomposition. Knowing what to do with fresh grass clippings can make managing your lawn care routine easier and get the most out of the naturally occurring grass clipping fertilizer and soil amenders. Good levels of organic matter and healthy soil will give you a healthy lawn each and every time.


Using Home Composting Bins to Compost Grass Clippings

Garbage bag containing grass clippings

There is another option for the homeowner who wants to recycle their lawn mowing mulch and who is interested in composting grass cuttings but wants something neater and cleaner than compost piles. The Lomi countertop composter is a new craze that is taking the market by storm. With this device, you can turn household organic wastes, food scraps like coffee grounds, and even yard waste, into nutrient-rich dirt, all from the comfort of your home.

 

Lomi by Pela

Lomi

★★★★★

Lomi allows you to turn food waste into plant-ready nutrients in under 24 hours. Boost your plants while reducing your waste.


 

With a system like a Lomi, you can remove grass clippings from the yard and add them to your home composter along with other food waste to provide balanced nutrients for your garden, flower beds, and potted plants. Adding grass in small amounts to an indoor compost bin like this can help ensure you get a balanced compost that will improve the soil used for all of your plants.

Using your Lomi composter to deal with yard waste and clippings can help return nutrients to your lawn soil and potting soil, thus doing necessary chores like mowing even more beneficial.


When Not To Use Your Grass Clippings

Green lawn mower

When considering the ins and outs of composting grass clippings in the yard and determining how long it takes for grass clippings to decompose in your area, you will need to consider whether the grass should be composted at all. There are only a few reasons why you might want to opt-out of adding clippings to your compost pile or letting the leaf mulch and grass clippings decompose on your lawn.

Lawn clippings contain any of the fertilizers and pesticides, and other chemicals that have been used on your lawn recently. In too high of concentrations, this can lead to an excessive buildup in the soil that might, in some situations, have a negative impact on your lawn’s health. Choosing what clippings to use and helping you achieve a healthier lawn avoid thatch layer buildup make it easier to master composting grass clippings.

Another consideration to keep in mind is if your lawn is over-run with weeds, then it might not be a good idea to have it lying on the ground and decomposing into the soil. Reusing lawn clippings is made to help suppress weeds, but when you choose what to take for grass clippings, weed seeds can lurk if there are many weeds already present in the yard. As clippings decompose, they can release seeds, and the weeds can thrive in the rich organic matter. This reseeding can give weeds and boost and lead to an increased need to use weed killer on the lawn.

Aside from situations like these, there really are no reasons why you shouldn’t use at least some of your grass clippings in your composting endeavors.


Conclusion

Answering the questions of how long does it takes for grass clippings to decompose in the yard and how to decompose grass clippings has become a question more and more people are asking. Composting grass clippings is a wonderful way to deal with it all without the work of bagging and having someone pick up along with other yard waste! You essentially do nothing, so long as you follow yard care practices that you already should be doing anyway. Keeping your yard’s grass in tip-top shape and reducing how long it takes to cut grass each time can become easier by leaving clippings to break down and add nutrients and other essential elements to the root area of your grass.