Grass clippings cause all sorts of problems if they are left on the lawn after cutting, here we take a look at some of those issues, some of which are obvious, but some not so. If you can’t avoid the possible problems by following our tips then the best way to pick up grass clippings is to utilise a method which lifts them, removes them, and then you can put them to good use!
The Problems Grass Cuttings Can Cause
- Let’s be honest, they look unattractive – especially if the lawn was too long before you cut it. If you are diligent, mow your lawn very frequently, and there are no discernible cuttings then this won’t affect you. For most of us though when we look back at our hard labor the cuttings are a blight.
- They track into the house – kids, dogs, anything that crosses the lawn. Grass cuttings have an innate ability to relocate using any method possible if you aren’t diligent at removing them from the lawn it is usually a short time before you have them in the hallway, the kitchen, the living room, and the stains.
- If they are longer cuttings, or it is wet, then they mat down within your lawn. This means that they block the flow of air to your grass, this encourages disease in your lawn, particularly fungal disease. This will affect the look of your lawn and make brown spots, or bare areas.
How to avoid picking up grass clippings
- The most obvious way is to use a mulching mower to do your grass cutting. These mowers are specifically equipped to chop the grass cuttings small enough that they do not cause the lawn thatch which creates the disease problems mentioned above, and they do not lie on top of the lawn after cutting. It is considered not only that this avoids the problems above, but also that this improves the health of your lawn by mulching and returning nutrients.
- If you have a regular lawn mower, then only ever cut the lawn when it is dry, and make sure that you do it frequently enough that the clippings are very small and then they will cause you no problem.
- Cut the lawn more than once. As long as the clippings are dry, cutting the clippings will make them smaller, and more likely to mulch down – this isn’t to be recommended as an ongoing strategy, but as an occasional cheat will serve you well.
- Mow the lawn on a higher setting first, lower the blades, cut it again – once more, we are aiming at getting smaller, dry cuttings that will settle into the lawn.
The best way to pick up grass clippings
If you have a regular lawn mower and are not as diligent as you could be with your mowing schedule – and let’s face it, who has time? Then you need to know how to tidy up behind yourself.
- The obvious first, most smaller mowers will come with a grass box attachment to collect the cuttings. These collect into the box and can be carried and emptied into a composting area.
- Raking the lawn. Using a spring-tined rake collect the clippings into piles and remove them manually. You will find this easier if you mow from the outside in and are careful to keep in lines, the clippings will settle into lines that are easier to gather.
- Use a lawn sweeper – yes, they do exist! If you have a larger lawn then you can tow one behind your ride-on or your garden tractor and they will collect the grass clippings. For smaller lawns there is hand pushed lawn sweepers, and they do a fantastic job.
How to use grass clippings
- Mixed in with your ‘brown’ material they make excellent compost. Grass clippings won’t compost well on their own, you must ensure that you have mixed material going in but this will give you a great resource to use in your garden.
- Use them as a mulch – they will ensure that you retain water around your plants, and feed the ground where you mulch them.
Lawn healthcare is important to maintain the health and look of your lawn. It is possible to avoid the need for picking up grass clippings, but if you are looking for the best way to pick up grass clippings there are tools and equipment on the market that will take the back-ache out of the job for you, and you will end up with a great composting/mulching resource that you can use elsewhere in the garden.