What is it?
Grasscycling is simply letting grass clippings fall to the ground instead of being collected in the basket. A 1,000 square foot lawn can produce approximately 300 pounds of clippings per year. Because grass constitutes 80% water and contains high levels of nitrogen, the clippings quickly break down and return to the soil within a week or two along with water and nutrients.
What are the benefits?
-- Returns nitrogen and minerals directly to the soil. Provides 15-20% of a lawns yearly nitrogen needs.
-- Reduces the need for synthesized fertilizers.
-- Prevents water from evaporating.
-- Saves you time and effort since there is no need to empty the grass catcher or push the heavy, grass-laden green cart to the curb and back each week.
Yard clippings from Burbank residents are collected weekly from green carts and trucked 50 miles to a compost facility where they are turned into a rich soil amendment. Sounds great right? But all these collections, hauling, and composting operations cost a great deal of money and add to air emissions, traffic congestion, vehicle and road wear.
Since the majority of the material collected in green carts is grass, the City of Burbank encourages property owners to save time, money and effort by leaving the clippings on the lawn.
In addition, to further minimize the number of stops on routes residents are asked to set out green carts only when they are full, to mulch their leaves and to compost other organics in the backyard. Many residents and businesses are beginning to replace lawns all together with native plants that sip rather than gulp water and drastically reduce yard waste.
Mulching with an invasive variety, such as Bermuda grass, or if herbicides have been applied recently to the lawn should be avoided.
Who else is doing it?
All City parks, Burbank schools, and the DeBell Golf Course you have seen grasscycling for decades.
The custom of letting grass clippings break down on the lawn is practiced throughout the United States. Ninety-eight percent of the residential participants in a grasscycling study conducted by Texas A&M reported that they will never bag their clippings again.
How do I get the best results:
- Cut no more than 1/3 the grass’s length
- Cut when the grass is dry
- Cut when the height is between 3 and 4 inches
- Keep the mower blades sharp
- Use a mulching mower if available (but not necessary)
I don’t cut my own lawn.
Does grasscycling cause thatch?
No, research has shown that grass roots are the primary cause of thatch, not grass clippings. Thatch is composed mainly of roots, stems, rhizomes, crowns, and stolons which generally contain large amounts of lignin and decompose slowly.
More information about the benefits of grasscycling can be found at www.calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/GrassCycling Or call the Recycle Center at 818-238-3900