There are two schools of thought when it comes to this issue – neither of which is definitive.
Some people say leave the clippings on the lawn after you mow. This not only saves time and energy, but the clippings decompose quickly and add vital nutrients back into the soil.
In fact, recycling grass clippings has recently taken on a movement of its own. Proponents call this practice “grass-cycling” and advocate that leaving those clipping where they lay saves time, landfill space and nurtures the soil.
The Professional Lawn Care Association says that About 20 percent of all waste that goes into a landfill is landscape debris and about half of that is simply grass clippings. With yard waste bans in place in many areas of the country, “grass-cycling” offers you an alternative, and at the same time increases the health and beauty of your lawn.
Grass clippings are 85 percent water, decompose rapidly, and return nutrients to the soil with no thatch buildup. They actually return 20 percent of their nitrogen to the soil to feed the lawn’s root system. And grass-cycling can be practiced year-round with most mowers.
On the other side of the spectrum, others say that leaving clippings on your lawn is not only unsightly, but it can cause damage to your lawn as well. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn becomes a problem only if they are too thick. If you mow the lawn before it gets overly tall, the mass of the grass clippings will not be sufficient to warrant raking.
When cut grass lays in large clumps, it could be preventing the grass below it from getting the sunshine and water that it needs to grow. This could leave behind unsightly brown patches of dead grass.
A good way to obviate having to rake grass clippings is to mow with mulching lawn mowers. When you have a mulching mower, the clippings are gathered in a bag and can be used in compost piles for fertilization.
Using mulching mowers can not only cut down on your yard maintenance, but also makes your grass greener. Otherwise, you may end up either raking or bagging your grass clippings — which in turn mean disposing of those grass clippings or recycling them – all of which means extra work.
The bottom line is that as long as you are mowing on a regular basis and you don’t leave behind clumps of clippings, it won’t cause any harm leaving those clipping right where they are.