TIP: Cut your grass when the surface is dry cutting no more than 1/3 of the grass blade
Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass clippings. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn when mowing is a simple and effective way to help conserve landfill capacity, while saving time, work, and money. The end benefit is a greener, healthier lawn as the nutrients from the clippings are recycled back into the grass naturally fertilizing the lawn.
Lawn care can be costly and time consuming. Grasscycling is quite cost efficient as you won’t need to purchase garbage bags or as much fertilizer when following good grasscycling practices. Proper mowing height, watering, and fertilizing practices decrease the need to rake and bag clippings. By bagging grass clippings valuable lawn nutrient is wasted.
WATERING YOUR LANDSCAPE
TIP: Rule of thumb: each hour of watering = 1" depth
Water Your Lawn
• Lawns should be watered deeply, but not often. Lawns should be watered longer and more frequently than established planter beds.
• The length of time and the volume of water depend on type of soil and the site conditions but, generallylawns should be watered 3 hours per week.
• Water to a depth of 10-15cm (4-6”) which typically requires adding 2-3 cm (1”) of water at one time.
• Deep watering encourages deeper roots.
• Water in the early morning to discourage disease development caused by grass remaining wet for long periods of time.
TIP: The shady areas of your lawn need to be kept a bit longer as they require more leaf area to intercept the limited light.
The illusion of thick carpet-like grass is created by how evenly you mow, not the height you mow our lawn. Grass should be cut 6-8 cm (2.5-3”) high to shade the soil, decrease moisture evaporation, and discourage weed seeds from sprouting. Consider these mowing tips to create the optimum health for your lawn:
• Mow your lawn in conjunction with the rate at which it is growing, that is mowing frequency depends on the rate at which your grass is growing. You never want to cut more than 1/3rd of the grass blade based on the measurements above – cutting any more could stop the root growth and it will require more water in the drier summer months.
• Always mow with very sharp blades so that you aren’t chewing the grass but giving it a nice clean cut.For the cleanest cut mow in the coolest part of the day – typically the early morning.
• Mulch grass instead of bagging it to ensure nutrients are recycled back into grass
• Clean mower after mowing
• Do not refuel lawn equipment on the grass in case of any spill – you will burn the grass.
TIP: A fertilizer with too much nitrogen combined with frequent light watering will encourage surface rooting and may result in a heavy thatch layer of dead roots and stems.
There is a myth that grass clippings will cause thatch – but that is not the case. It is recommended however, that if thatch is thick to bag your grass clippings. Proper grasscycling techniques do notcontribute to thatch. Thatch is a layer of organic material consisting of roots and stems of the grass plant – not the leaf. The parts that cause thatch have high lignin content, making the material tough and slow to decompose. Grass clippings are softer, contain 75-90% water, very little lignin and decompose very quickly.
Small amounts of thatch are not detrimental to your lawn, but more than 1.25cm (.5”) may prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots. Prevention is the best way to deal with thatch buildup. A fertilizer with too much nitrogen combined with frequent, light watering will encourage surface rooting. This may result in a heavy thatch layer of dead roots and stems, possibly causing soil smothering which kills lawns.
Thatch is often a common denominator for insects and disease infestations. Both breed and feed off thatch so it is important to take care of the problem as soon as possible. If your lawn is dangerously thick with thatch you can dethatch and reseed your lawn – usually in late August as the procedure is very hard on the grass roots and often overseeding is required.
The best way to control thatch is first to rake and aerate (approx. 15 to 20 holes per square-foot is recommended) your lawn alleviating the thickness of the thatch and the compacted soil (this will allow air, water and nutrients to get to the grass roots). Then top-dressing (with a thin layer of compatible soil) can be applied which will help break-down the thatch.