What Is Grasscycling?

What Is Grasscycling?
Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly, returning valuable nutrients back to the soil.
Why Grasscycle?
Grasscycling saves time and money, and helps the environment. Mowing time is reduced since bagging
and disposal of clippings is eliminated. Grass clippings add valuable nutrients and organic matter to the
soil and produce healthy, green lawns. Grasscycling reduces turf grass fertilizer and water requirements,
which minimize chemical runoff entering storm drains and polluting creeks, rivers, and lakes.
Grasscycling also reduces the amount of yard trimmings disposed in landfills. Research has shown
that lawns generate approximately 300 pounds of grass clippings per 1,000 square feet annually.
This amounts to 6 1/2 tons per acre each year. Grass clippings are too valuable to throw away, and
grasscycling allows reuse of this green material in our urban landscapes
To get the most out of your grasscycling efforts:
• Follow all of the maintenance recommendations for your species of lawn, mow at the
proper frequency, and cut only the top 1/3 of the blades of grass.
• Use a mulching mower, or use the mulching configuration on your current mower, if available.
The grass blades are finely cut and dispersed onto the surface of the lawn instead of collecting
in the mower bag. The fine bits of grass quickly decompose and return nutrients to the roots
of the lawn.
• Grasscycling is not recommended on overgrown or wet lawns.
• Regular grasscycling can provide approximately 20% of the lawns’ yearly nitrogen requirement
as well as help your lawn retain moisture. This reduces your yearly fertilizer and water use
and costs.
• Support lawn services that use grasscycling and mulching as part of their regular lawn
maintaince routine. Grasscycling brochure.
Mulching is one of the simplest and most beneficial practices you can use in around the yard. Mulch
is simply a protective layer of a material that is spread on top of the soil in gardens, around trees and
shrubs. Using organic mulches such as grass clippings, straw, bark chips helps keep these items out of
the landfill and often can be obtained for free.
Mulching has numerous benefits:
• protects the soil from erosion
• reduces compaction from the impact of heavy rains
• conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent waterings
• maintains a more even soil temperature
• prevents weed growth
• keeps fruits and vegetables clean
• keeps feet clean, allowing access to garden even when damp
• provides a “finished” look to the garden
Organic Mulch
Organic mulches also improve the condition of the soil. As these mulches slowly decompose, the provide
organic matter which helps keep the soil loose. This improves root growth, increases the infiltration of water,
and also improves the water-holding capacity of the soil. Organic matter is a source of plant nutrients and
provides an ideal environment for earthworms and other beneficial soil organisms.
For more information on mulching:
Yard Waste Pick Up:
Mecklenburg County residents can chose to send their yard waste to the areas yard waste facilities
for composting.
In general:
• Limbs: must be no longer than 5 feet and no larger than 4 inches in diameter. Limbs should be
separated into piles small enough for one individual to handle.
• Stumps/Logs: Logs larger than 4 inches in diameter will not be collected.
• Contracted yard work: Limbs placed at curbside for collection resulting from commercial landscaping will not be collected.
Each municipality offers specific yard waste information to its residents:
• Charlotte - RECYCLE-IT
• Matthews NC
• Huntersville NC
• Cornelius NC
• Davidson NC
• Pineville NC
• Mint Hill NC
For more information on these topics, call 704-432-1970 or Email Nadine.Ford@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov.