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Grasscycling refers to an aerobic (requires air) method [1] of handling grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn when mowing.

Electric lawn mower in grass-cycling mode

The term is a portmanteau combining "grass" and "recycling", and had come into use by at least 1990[2] as part of the push to reduce the huge quantities of clippings going into landfills, up to half of some cities' summertime waste flow,[3] as 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of lawn can produce 200 to 500 pounds (90 to 225 kg) of clippings a year.[4]

Because grass consists largely of water (80% or more[5]), contains little lignin,[5] and has high nitrogen content, grass clippings easily break down during an aerobic process [1] (comparable to composting) and returns the decomposed clippings to the soil within one to two weeks,[4] acting primarily as a fertilizer supplement and, to a much smaller degree, a mulch. Grasscycling can provide 15 to 20% or more of a lawn's yearly nitrogen requirements.[6][7] Proponents also note that grasscycling reduces the use of plastic bags for collecting yard waste and reduces trips to the curb or landfill to haul waste.[8]

Optimal grasscycle techniques include:[4][6][9]

  • Cutting no more than 1/3 the length of the grass, this means when lawns are growing fast, mowing about twice a week.[10]
  • Cutting when the grass is dry to the touch
  • Cutting when the height is between 3 and 4 inches (7 to 10 cm), once per week.[10]
  • Ensuring that the mower blade is sharp

Although a mulching mower can make grass clippings smaller, one is not necessary for grasscycling.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Scoville, Heather. "Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Processes". About Education. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  2. ^ "Grasscycling definition/etymology". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  3. ^ "Denver Recycle Grasscycle". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  4. ^ a b c "Rivanna Solid Waste Authority Grasscycling Info". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  5. ^ a b "Grasscycling FAQ". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  6. ^ a b "Grasscycle!". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  7. ^ "California Integrated Waste Management Board - What is grasscycling?". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  8. ^ "King County Experience: Grasscycling". Archived from the original on 1999-11-05. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  9. ^ "Bay Delta Grass Recycling Campaign". Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  10. ^ a b "How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn? - For Dummies". Retrieved 2016-02-29.

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