Overseeding is one of the most important lawn care processes you can do to ensure your yard stays lush and beautiful. Luckily, it’s a pretty simple process that anyone can learn!
Many people get stuck in their seeding routine because they use too much grass clippings as fertilizer. They throw away all of the unused fertilizer so soon it becomes trash instead of helping your plants grow.
If you overuse fertilizers, then your plants will not get enough nutrients to thrive and develop strong roots. This could eventually be seen in thin foliage and even death if they are not replaced with an adequate amount of natural resources.
This article will talk about why leaving your grass clippings behind is a bad idea and some easy ways to make sure everything gets reused or recycled.
No, it doesn’t matter
Only people who live in areas with very little rainfall use this method to avoid water pollution. This is not the case for most major metropolitan cities where grass can grow tall and lush.
Grass clippings are a valuable natural resource that needs to be protected. By leaving them inside the cartilage of your lawn, they will eventually get re-absorbed into the soil.
This process helps enrich the nutrients in the soil and aids in plant growth. Unfortunately, there are some instances where these clippings cannot reenter the soil easily. These include when heavy rains wash away excess soil material or the clippings are left too long in the yard which allows bacteria to develop.
When these situations occur, the grass may decompose more slowly, potentially creating air and water pollution. Both air and water contain small amounts of phosphorus so having too much can cause serious problems.
It depends on the environment you’re in
While leaving grass clippings in your lawn is an easy way to keep it lush, there are situations where this isn’t the best option. If your soil is very thin or compacted, leaving clippings could cause your plants to suffer due to lack of nutrients.
If possible, take time after mowing to rake up all leftover bits and pieces. This helps decompose some of the materials and promote growth for future shoots!
On average, one person can create enough oxygen through breath alone to satisfy their air requirement for 1-2 hours.
Always bag it
While most grass clippings are made of soil, there is a small amount of leftover green material that is burnt off during the process of lawn grooming. This burnt material contains heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and zinc.
Some people burn their yard waste in a closed-loop system where the smoke is filtered and recycled, but this isn’t possible if you don’t have access to a fireplace or another source of heat. Either option adds harmful chemicals to our environment that can have long term health effects.
In fact, some studies show that smoking one cigarette can contribute up to six minutes of exposure to arsenic, which comes with serious health consequences including cancer.
Arsenic has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological disorders, and even skin problems. Since exposed individuals may be consuming large amounts of arsenic every day, steps should be taken to minimize your exposure.
Always bag it unless you want to get rid of all the nutrients
While most grass clippings are made into compost, some experts suggest that if your soil is too acidic or high in phosphorous then adding un-composted grass could be a bad thing.
Phosphorus can be found in many products such as table salt, dairy foods, meat, and certain types of vegetables. Too much of it may cause plants to grow faster than they would without phosphorus, but it can also promote algae growth instead of weeds which might not be desirable.
Algae grows by consuming sunlight and water, so more Phosphorus means longer exposure for its growth which could result in an excess amount being consumed. This could potentially limit the uptake of other minerals like potassium which help plants thrive.
Grass is a rich source of both phosphate and potassium, making it important to either add it to the pile or spread it onto areas where seeds cannot sprout.
Only bag it if you’re going to use it as mulch
While many people leave their grass clippings in the lawn to decompose, this isn’t necessarily the best option. When left in place, your grass can ingest too much nitrogen which could cause nitrosamines to form, potentially harming your soil and plants.
Grass that is left in the yard will also wash back into water systems or be blown away by wind, both of which can contribute unnecessary nutrients to waterways.
You should always bag grass clippings
There is no need to leave green waste for natural processes to take place, nor does it help in keeping your yard lush and beautiful.
Grass clippings contain some of the nutrients that plants require to grow. When you don’t add these wasted resources to nature, we have to invest more money into planting new vegetation or having to buy foliage already grown!
Some of those needed nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All three play important roles in plant growth, but high levels can be harmful for soil quality.
Too much phosphorous (for example from lawn fertilizer) can cause water runoff which could lead to pollution. Potassium helps preserve soil structure and makes sure roots get enough oxygen, both of which are essential for healthy growth.
When leaving leftover grass as part of nature, there is an additional cost in terms of energy spent to run equipment like vacuum trucks or compost bins to gather all the bits and pieces.
You should always bag grass clippings even if you’re going to use it as mulch
While most lawns have a natural process for recycling leftover bits of vegetation, there are some that do not. For these yards, leaving grass clippings lying on the soil can cause problems.
Grass may grow faster than it would without the clippings, causing weeds or more difficult maintenance in the future. If enough growth happens, it could push up against your house or car!
Landscape professionals recommend gathering all leftover clippings in bags and taking them to a landfill or compost site.
It doesn’t matter
One of my favorite things to do in our yard is overseed grass. We have done it many times, and we always get such beautiful results!
Overseeding isn’t just for yards with lots of space — you can even do it yourself if you are willing to put in some time. Overseeds come in packets that contain enough grass to cover several square feet, making it cost efficient as well.
A few types of overseed will sprout and grow into new grass within months! Some examples of these seeds are bermuda seed, Kentucky bluegrass, zoyaveta (a Southern African grass) and caucasian clover.
All of these plants start out as one species, but as they live and grow, they develop characteristics of another. This process is called natural selection, and it is what allows different vegetation to thrive around us.
Some people may worry about how much waste there could be from all of those leaves, but really, it does not add too much weight to cause any concern. Many cities have restrictions on how much grass you should throw away, and this content goes into landfills.
Another option would be to use mulch, but using leaf mold or compost instead is usually better for your soil than using wood chips or shredded paper.