Lawn Clippings

Asked May 12, 2020, 10:16 AM EDT

Do you recommend bagging your lawn clippings or using a mulching mower and leaving them in the lawn?

Ottawa County Michigan

1 Response

This is a great question. You can think of grass clipping as free fertilizer.... definitely leave them in the lawn. This according to Kevin Frank, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences:

Return clippings. Mulching blade mowers really do a great job of chopping up the turfgrass clippings, but even if you don’t have a mulching blade don’t let that stop you from returning clippings. Turfgrass clippings typically contain about 4 percent nitrogen, 0.5 percent phosphorus and 2 percent potassium. Several researchers have suggested that continually recycling turfgrass clippings to the lawn could reduce nitrogen requirements by up to 25 percent. That’s free fertilizer, so don’t waste it. Clippings are about 80 percent water and don’t contribute to the thatch layer unless you’re leaving clippings in piles on the lawn. Returning clippings is free fertilizer, and free is the best way to save some cash.

Here is the link to the full article that contains additional lawn care tips:

I hope you find this information helpful. Thank you for using Ask an Expert!