Is it a good idea to use grass clippings as mulch? -Henry

Grass clippings can make great mulch, though using them has advantages and disadvantages. To begin with, if you are mowing properly – with a nice sharp mulching blade set high, cutting no more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time – you shouldn’t HAVE any grass clippings. The small chopped-up snippets are best left where they are, to quickly decompose and feed your lawn.

However, if you’re mowing an overgrown area, or prefer to bag your clippings, here’s what you need to know about using them as mulch.

  • Dry grass clippings: If applied too thickly, fresh green grass clippings turn into a smelly, gooey mess, smothering your garden with a hot, moldy blanket. The heat of decomposition can damage plants and invite diseases, and the matted, decomposing grass blocks air and water circulation.
  • Build clippings gradually: Spread your clippings in a 1” layer, and allow them to completely dry and turn brown (a week or two) before adding more. Or, you can dry your clippings elsewhere and spread them when they’re ready.
  • Beware of contamination: Keep in mind that clippings will be contaminated with any chemicals you have applied to your lawn. Any fertilizers, insecticides, or weed killers you used will then be filtered into the soil around your garden plants.
  • Watch out for weeds: Most lawns have at least a few weeds, so there’s a good chance your clippings will contain weed seeds which may germinate in your garden.

As an alternative, add grass clippings to your compost pile, mixed with at least an equal amount of brown stuff (such as dead leaves) to balance out the composting process.


Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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