Making Compost

Asked August 5, 2020, 11:14 PM EDT

I put 3 to 4 feet applications onto my lawn each year and when I cut it I use a mulching mower. Now if I gathered my clippings could I put them in my compost container to make compost?

Grand Traverse County Michigan

1 Response


Wait 3-4 weeks before using treated lawn clippings for mulch around other plants or in the compost pile, unless your herbicide or pesticide label states differently. If you are just applying fertilizer with no pesticide or herbicide, you can use the clippings for compost.

This information from Missouri Extension answers your question

“Can clippings or other yard wastes treated with pesticides be put in the compost pile?

No simple answer exists to this question. Individual pesticides react in different ways and break down under unique conditions. Research is being conducted to better evaluate the fate of pesticide products once applied to turf areas.

Lawn clippings treated with a herbicide (weed killer) should be returned to the lawn for two or three mowings after the application before using them in a compost pile. Herbicides commonly used on home lawns persist in the soil from less than one month up to 12 months, depending on the chemical. If some treated clippings are mixed into a compost pile, they will decompose more rapidly in a properly maintained pile than in soil.

In general, plant material in contact with insecticides registered for home use is safe to use in a compost pile. Insecticides sprayed on plant material break down rapidly in light, and the plant material usually can be used in the compost pile within one week of application. Fungicide-treated material should also be kept out of the compost pile for at least one week.”

The complete article-

This information from Purdue university –“ Other herbicides applied to residential turf may have label language as well that restricts clippings from being collected. The Dimension® 2EW (dithiopyr) label also states “Do not use clippings from treated turf for mulching around vegetables or fruit trees.” Like the Imprelis® label, the Dimension® 2EW label also does not specify how long to wait after treating before clippings can be safely harvested. Another herbicide, Drive® XLR8 (quinclorac), states that “Clippings from the first three mowings after application should be left on the treated area”. This label makes it a little clearer when it is safe to harvest clippings. Most labels contain no reference whatsoever to “clippings”.

Therefore, language varies from label to label regarding the use of clippings for mulch or compost following a herbicide application. In most cases I would recommend not using clippings from a lawn treated with herbicide within one-month (approximately 3 mowings) unless the label states otherwise such as with Imprelis®.”

The complete article-