Mulching with grass clippings is an excellent way of protecting your plants and adding valuable nutrients to the topsoil. For the most part, people who mow their lawn will simply throw away the grass clippings, so all those valuable nutrients which can be found in grass clippings will get removed. If you have been throwing out your grass clippings for a couple of years already then you are removing a lot of nutrients that the topsoil needs.
You can use grass clippings as mulch by placing them around your plants in such a way that the mulch is in not direct contact with the stem of the plant. You can both use green or dried-out grass clippings as mulch, just make sure that they were not sprayed with any kind of herbicides. The thickness of the grass mulch should be between 2-6 inches, depending on your local climate and if you are using green or dried-out grass clippings.
The smaller the grass clippings are the better they will be as mulch as they will decompose extremely fast, my personal recommendation is to use a mulching lawnmower for the best results Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
If you have been throwing your grass clippings out then sooner or later you will notice some dry patches in your lawn if you do not use any fertilizer. The topsoil in your lawn and in your garden has a limited amount of nutrients that are needed for the plants to grow strong and healthy. This is why I highly recommend using grass clippings as mulch, you will simply add back the valuable nutrients to the soil and your plants will thank you for it.
For most people grass clippings can be readily available, although as with everything in life, using grass clippings as mulch does have its fair share of pros and cons, for more information check out my recent article Grass Clippings As Mulch Pros And Cons ( Top 16 Pros and Cons ).
Place The Grass Clippings Mulch Around Your Plants
No matter if you are growing vegetables, fruit trees, bushes, or even flowers, it is extremely important to place the grass clippings mulch around the plants without touching their stems. Grass clippings tend to contain a lot of nitrogen, which is beneficial for the plants, but as the nitrogen decomposes it could harm the actual plants. This is one of the main reasons why you should also never mix the grass clippings into the soil, the excess nitrogen will burn the root of the plants.
You will have to make some space between the stem of the plants and the grass mulch, this way the mulch is not in direct contact with the stem of the plant. This is also extremely important if you are placing the mulch around your trees, for more information check out my recent article Grass Clippings Around Trees ( Top 5 Do’s ).
Make A Thick Layer Of Grass Clippings Mulch
As for how thick the layer of mulch should be, mostly depends on your local climate and if you are using green or dried-out grass clippings. If you live in a fairly hot environment then you should use a thick layer of mulch of around 6-8 inches. If your local area is not that hot and gets plenty of rainfall then you can get away with a thinner layer of grass clippings mulch of around 2-4 inches. Just keep in mind that as the grass clippings will start to decompose they will slowly be absorbed into the ground.
If you layer the grass clippings way too thin then they will not be able to hold enough moisture and shade the actual soil from the sun. On the other hand, if you layer the mulch way too thick then the bottom layer of grass clippings will get compacted and anaerobic bacteria will start to take over, which is the last thing you want. You will know if you have layered the mulch way too thick if you start to notice the smell of rot near your mulch, and if the layer of grass clippings looks like a carpet and starts turning black. You will know if you layer the grass clippings way too thin if the soil beneath the mulch is dried up and cracked.
Green Grass Clippings Can Be Used As Mulch
A lot of people will say that you need to dry out the grass clippings before you use them as mulch. This is far from the truth, in fact arguably green grass clippings are even better than dried out grass clippings. Green grass clippings contain a lot more nutrients and water than dried out ones, although if you layer them way too thick then the increased moisture could be problematic for some plants like blueberries especially as they do like well-draining soil. If the leaves of your blueberry bush are curling then check out my recent article Blueberry Leaves Curling ( Top 5 Reasons ).
The green grass clippings will start to turn yellow in a matter of days, and they will fully decompose in a couple of weeks. As for how fast they will actually decompose and add back the valuable nutrients to your plants mostly depends on the local climate, and how often do you water your plants or how often does it rain in your areas.
Dry Grass Clippings As Mulch
Dried-out grass clippings can be used as mulch, although they do contain fewer nutrients than green grass. If you are using dried-out grass clippings then you can make a thicker layer of mulch around your plants, as they are not that good at retaining water as green grass clippings. You should try green grass clippings and dried out grass clippings as well and see what works the best in your area, for the most part, you will notice significant benefits of using green grass clippings if you live in a hot environment.
Don’t Use Grass Clippings That Have Been Sprayed With Herbicides Or Pesticides
It is extremely important not to use grass clippings that have been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. These contain harmful chemicals, and once they enter the ground through the mulch they will stunt the growth of your plants, or in the worst-case scenario, they could outright kill them. For the most part, you should be using your own grass clippings as mulch, as other people’s grass clippings might contain herbicides or pesticides, so try to avoid picking up someone else’s trash.
Water The Grass Clippings Mulch
A lot of people tend to just place the grass clippings around their plants and then just forget about them. The truth is that you will need to water the grass clippings the first time you use it as mulch. This is especially important if you use dried-out grass clippings and your area doesn’t get a lot of rainfall. By watering the grass clippings you help the decomposition process, as bacteria will need some moisture in order to reproduce and decompose the grass clippings.
If you are using green grass clippings then you can skip this part, as green grass clippings do have enough moisture in them. On the other hand, dried-out grass clippings will have little to no water in them, so sprinkle them with some water. An extra benefit of watering the grass clippings the first time you use them as mulch is that the water will stick the grass clippings together, and if you live in an area with frequent winds then you definitely need to do this.
Growing Plants From Seeds With Grass Clippings Mulch
Grass clippings mulch is also extremely beneficial if you are growing plants from seeds. All you need to do is to make a space around your seeds without any mulch on top of it. Some seedlings will have an extremely tough time breaking through the grass mulch, so make sure that they are not covered by grass mulch. It is extremely important not to get the grass mulch mixed in with the soil, as the nitrogen from the grass mulch could stunt the growth of some seedlings due to the excess nitrogen.
Add Additional Grass Clippinmsg To The Mulch
Far too many people just place the mulch around their plants and then completely forget about them. For some, this works but my personal recommendation is to add some additional grass clippings. The fresh batch of grass clippings will break down even faster than the first one, as the bacteria which are decomposing the grass clipping are already in the mulch and in relatively high numbers.
Build Soil With Grass Clippings Mulch Over Time
Grass clippings will add back the vital nutrients to the ground, although it can take some time until you will be able to build soil with grass clippings. Generally speaking, you can build soil with grass clippings in a couple of years, now this doesn’t mean that your plants will not have the benefits of the grass clippings mulch, far from it. But if you have a large area where almost nothing is growing due to poor soil then it will take some time to build up the soil just with grass clippings.
As you can see mulching with grass clippings is relatively easy, just don’t forget to water the mulch the first time you use it. This way the wind will not blow off the mulch and with the added water the decaying process will start a lot faster.