How can I reuse or recycle … grass clippings?

GrassWe’ve had an email from the wonderfully-monikered “Cornish Bob”:

we’ve got about an acre of lawn which in the summer gets cut about once a week to every ten days depending on weather.

As you can imagine, it produces a LOT of grass cuttings. Some of it gets composted, some gets put in the chicken pen for them to nibble and scratch through but there’s still a hell of a lot left, which tends to get piled up behind the shed and rots, but not in a nice composty way, just a mushy grass way.

Apart from not cutting the lawn or composting, what can we do with it? We could take it to the local dump and have it composted but we want to find something we can do ourselves, I’m researching the use of grass as fuel but can’t find much on it, if we can get wood pellets made from saw dust, why not dried grass?

My mum and dad use the “tip it out of sight and forget about it” thing too since it can quickly swamp a normal compost heap and cut off the airflow.

So any other ideas? Anyone know anything about the fuel idea?

(Photo by KLatham)

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22 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … grass clippings?”


  1. Bobbie says:

    It occured to me that you could use it in your flower/vegetable beds as a mulch to keep weeds down. Also, I was wondering how it would work as a weed barrier in garden paths…might be a bit messy but worth a try?

  2. Bobbie says:

    It occurred to me that you could use it in your flower/vegetable beds as a mulch to keep weeds down. Also, I was wondering how it would work as a weed barrier in garden paths…might be a bit messy but worth a try?

  3. Malva says:

    I was going to suggest using it to mulch a veggie garden too.

  4. Cornish Bob says:

    Hmm, mulching, won’t that be introducing even more weed and grass seeds into the veg patch though and eventually increase the number of weeds?

    • Anonymous says:

      No it won’t if you pile it up a foot thick. Another trick is to put down a layer of about 6 sheets of old newspaper and then pile the grass on thick. It is a great way to decrease weeding and to smother undesirable or invasive plant life.

  5. Anita says:

    We don’t attach the bag that holds the clippings, they just fall right back into the lawn and you end up with an even “auto” compost thing going on.

  6. attilathehen says:

    Whatever you do, don’t let it sit in a pile and then feed it to horses. It ferments and then it gives them colic which can be fatal… I don’t know if it would harm other animals though.

  7. Andy says:

    If you want o compost more, you need to make sure it is mied with plenty of ‘browns’ ie hedge clippings, twigs with a mix of paper (shreddedconfidential waste is ideal) as this keeps air circulating the grass so it composs quickley and more efficiently, you also could add an exccelerator to speed the composting process such as nettle weeds, chicken manure and even human urine!

  8. Joshua says:

    This may sound gross, but when I worked for a yard care company we used to have grass fights on occation.

    It is pretty fun, if you can shower afterward–however, I suggest you use fresh grass…

  9. Lesley says:

    This brings back happy memories of long hot summers at the caravan site where we had our family holidays. There was a lot of grass to cut, and the owner would pile it up in dumps around the site, usually under hawthorn and elder trees. We used to make dens there.
    It doesn’t help you to recycle, but the smell of cut grass still makes me feel happy!

  10. Kaz says:

    Leave the cuttings on the lawn to keep down weeds, and enrich and moisten the soil? (http://www.charityguide.org/volunteer/fifteen/lawn-mowing.htm)

    Does your local council provide a garden waste wheelie bin?

  11. stghm says:

    We leave the clippings on the lawn. I don’t see why someone wouldn’t do that.

    • Right on sister says:

      Exactly. I want to so much do this. I grew up doing this on my parents lawn, but the $$^&# wife doesn’t want it on the lawn. Bitch.
      Doesn’t know anything.

  12. TweedBunny says:

    Everyone around here leaves the clippings on the lawn as well. Puts the nutrients back in the soil.

  13. J says:

    Yeah I agree, leave the clippings on the lawn, it’s good for it.

  14. Annette says:

    you guys aren’t thinking big enough, what real usage is there for 1 acre of grass clippings. power a freight liner? fertilise a farm.

  15. Anonymous says:

    make rough paper or paper products

  16. DKAM says:

    I am sitting on four or five piles of grass cuttings, but I’ve got some ideas from this discussion. I’ll keep the grass spread on that side of the lawn where I’ ll want to grow vegetables. May be I’ll sprinkle a little fertilizer on top to enhance decay of the grass cuttings.

  17. JG says:

    We have a similar problem, able to compost some of it but the vast majority is just in a big pile rotting – tho does eventually turn into great compost. Problem is the pile is near a hedge one part of which seems to be dying – could anyone tell me whether the grass pile could be killing it?

  18. Rob says:

    Well, there are a few options. I own about an acre with half of it lawn, half wooded.
    If you use a mulch mower and leave them on the lawn, you have to mow A LOT. say…every 5 days, and not when the grass is wet or you’ll get clumps of grass clippings that will cover and kill any grass under it.

    I actually do 3 things. if I’m cutting 1/4 to 1/2 an inch, I just take the bagger off and I mulch mow it. If it’s 1/2 inch to maybe 2 inches that have to come off, I bag it and throw it in the compost heap. If it’s more than that for whatever reason (vacation, lots of rainy days or something) I bag it and take it way out in the woods and dump it out there, while this will eventually compost (I turn the piles now and again) it takes a lot longer as I don’t add anything to it to help break it down.

    Some of my neighbors burn them, you could also try bagging them in contractor bags and see if the trash guys or a landscape company will pick them up. Some towns have “spring clean up times” when you can burn brush and or take clippings to the dump.

    As far as the piles possibly killing other bushes or plants, remember most folks put alot of crap in their grass, weed killed/preventer, grub-x and many other things which end up getting picked up when we bag mow. They may be fine for grass, but they may not like other plants or bushes much.

    Hope some of that helps.

  19. Steve says:

    Grass cuttings can be liquidised and used to stop slugs and snails, same as rhubarb leaves

  20. Nabeel Shaikh says:

    I have about just under an acre of lawn that I also mow. I don’t have the big tractor mower yet but I’m looking to buy one. So the thing is i mow it less often and I have lots of grass clippings left. I use some on the grass where there’s dead patches and put some Scott’s ez seed with it which helps to grow the lawn better.otherwise if I have extra I dump them on the ravine. Reading comments I think there are aloy of uses for this but they have to be dry to use it (not on grass though). I only bag mow it because I don’t want the weeds spreading across the lawn.



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