Just Mow It—No Bagging Required!
Tired of bagging your grass clippings? Then the Just Mow It! program is for you. Just Mowing It! is the simple practice of leaving your grass clippings on the lawn.
It’s easy, fast, and good for your lawn.
Steps to Just Mow It!
1. Proper Mowing Height
The appropriate mowing height for lawns in Ohio is 3". Raise the cutting height slightly in the summer.
2. Mowing Frequency
Never remove more than one-third of the leaf surface at any one time. Removing more than one-third weakens the grass plant, reduces or stops growth, and leaves significant clippings on the lawn surface. If the mowing height is 3", the grass should not grow more than 4" before it is mowed. In real terms, this means a lawn should ideally be mowed 2 times per week in spring (April–May) and 2 times per week in the fall (September–October), when the grass is growing actively.
3. Mow Lawns When Dry
Lawns should be mowed when dry so clippings won’t clump together on the lawn surface. Obviously, there will be times when rain makes it impossible to mow frequently. You can still leave clippings on the lawn if the clumps of grass are spread out evenly to allow them to readily decompose.
4. Any Lawn Mower Can Be Used
While mulching mowers cut grass clippings into smaller pieces, you can still use non-mulching mowers. It is recommended to have your mower blade professionally sharpened annually. (Most tool rental stores can provide this service.)
5. Never sweep grass clippings into the road or storm drain.
Clippings (like all plant material) contain nutrients that can cause algal blooms if they get into rivers and lakes.
Still not convinced?
Benefits of Just Mowing It!
- Reduces work so you don’t have to bag or rake and dispose of your grass clippings.
- Reduces waste going to landfills.
- Feeds your lawn. Grass clippings contain nutrients that can generate up to ONE THIRD of your lawn’s total fertilizer needs, so you have the potential to reduce fertilizer costs.
In addition to releasing nutrients to the soil, decomposing grass clippings may substantially enhance soil microbe activity.
Leaving grass clippings on the lawn DOES NOT CREATE THATCH.
Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves and grass roots that develops between the green grass and the soil surface. Grass clippings are 75 to 85 percent water and decompose rapidly. Thatch is formed from grass parts more resistant to decomposition like roots, stems, etc.
Content provided by Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheets: Lawn Care Plans and Mowers and Mowing and reviewed by Pamela J. Sherratt, Sports Turf Specialist, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University. For additional information, visit http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1190.html.