Mulching With Grass Clippings ( Top 9 Best Practices )

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 lawns 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

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 ).

Mulching With Grass Clippings

When I mow my lawn, I collect the grass clippings and use them as a natural mulch around my plants. Grass clippings act as an excellent moisture retainer, helping to conserve water and reduce the frequency of watering. They also suppress weed growth by creating a barrier that shades the soil and prevents weed seeds from germinating. Additionally, as the grass clippings break down, they contribute valuable organic matter to the soil, enriching its fertility and improving its structure.

It’s important to apply a thin layer of grass clippings to avoid matting and allow for proper air circulation. I also ensure that the grass clippings are free of chemicals or herbicides to prevent any adverse effects on my plants. Overall, mulching with grass clippings has been an effective and sustainable method to enhance soil health, conserve moisture, and reduce weed growth in my garden.

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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, how often you water your plants, or how often 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 as 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.

Key Takeaways

  • Grass clippings can be an excellent source of organic matter and nutrients for your garden when used as mulch. They contain nitrogen, which can contribute to soil fertility and promote healthy plant growth.
  • Applying a layer of grass clippings as mulch can help suppress weed growth in your garden. The clippings create a barrier that prevents weed seeds from germinating and competing with your desired plants for nutrients and water.
  • Grass clippings as mulch can help retain soil moisture by reducing evaporation. They act as a protective layer, keeping the soil cooler and preventing moisture loss, especially during hot and dry periods.


Is grass clippings good for mulch?

Yes, grass clippings can be used as mulch in gardens and landscapes. They act as a natural weed suppressant, help retain soil moisture, and provide some nutrient content as they break down.

How do you make grass clippings into mulch?

To make grass clippings into mulch, simply spread a thin layer of the clippings around desired plants or use them as a top dressing in garden beds. It’s important to avoid piling up thick layers to prevent matting and potential odor issues.

Is it better to mulch or collect grass clippings?

The decision to mulch or collect grass clippings depends on personal preference and specific lawn care needs. Mulching grass clippings can save time and effort while returning valuable nutrients to the soil. However, if the grass is excessively long or prone to thatch, it may be beneficial to collect the clippings to prevent smothering or clumping.

How long does it take for grass clippings to decompose?

The decomposition time for grass clippings can vary depending on factors such as temperature, moisture levels, and the size of the clippings. Generally, grass clippings take around two to four weeks to decompose fully, but this process can be expedited by mixing them into the soil or using a composting system.