There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly cut grass, and in June in Calgary the grass grows fast! That fresh aroma comes from the clippings created by mowing, and when it comes to bagging your grass trimmings, some aren’t sure what the ideal approach is. It used to be that the main advice given was to absolutely bag them…they make a mess and look unsightly when scattered through landscaped gardens. But now it seems the prevailing opinion is to leave them on the lawn.
What is the best overall approach to provide the ultimate lawn care?
Where Should My Clippings Go?
When grass clippings decompose they provide the ground below with valuable nutrients that then encourage thicker, lusher growth. It is said that leaving clippings on the ground for one year is the equivalent of one application of fertilizer. As well, since lawns are actually comprised of several different kinds of grass of varying lengths, colours and composition, leaving your clippings down helps keep the root systems or the more delicate species cooler and assists in retaining moisture.
During Calgary’s prime growing months of June and July, keep your lawn trimmed consistently so that you are never chopping off more than one inch at a time. Lawn care experts suggest that frequent mowing is good for the grass, and clippings less than one inch decompose quickly. You’re likely going to have to mow more than once a week in order to stay ahead of the growth. If you’re removing more than one third of the longest blades each time you mow, then you are exposing your grass to disease and making it less resistant to the glaring rays of the sun. A lawn does not really need to be mowed until it is longer than four inches, and grass cut too short has a tendency to “burn”, a euphemism for “die”, which happens because your lawn loses its ability to shade itself, then dries out and turns yellow.
The actual time it takes for lawn care should remain about the same – even if you are mowing more – because your mower should operate more smoothly and you’re not stopping and starting all the time to empty your bag.
Mowing Safety Tips
Check the operating manual of your mower to make sure it’s safe to remove the bag, and always ensure everyone is a safe distance away from the machine when you are operating. It’s a good idea to keep the blades of your mower nice and sharp, and be sure to walk around beforehand and remove any debris on the ground before you accidently run it over. Always wear gloves, safety goggles, long pants and sturdy boots each time you mow, and remember that slower is better when cutting grass!
Can I Ever Keep My Clippings?
If you accidently don’t get to mowing in time and there’s a chance of extra-long clippings, definitely put the bag back on your mower or rake up the excess after before it sinks and causes the thatch to become too thick. Wherever the thatch is too thick your lawn will begin to develop yellow patches from the clippings’ inability to decompose before smothering the live grass below.
Before throwing your grass clippings out, consider whether they can be used as mulch or compost somewhere in your yard.
Mirage Landscaping and Lawn Care
Whether or not you need weekly lawn care, Calgary’s Mirage Landscaping can still help out with the heavy stuff. Spring and fall clean up are big jobs, and we have the manpower to get it done quickly and efficiently. Contact us to book your appointment in advance today!