How long does it take for grass clippings to decompose? Grass clippings on average take two years to fully decompose naturally. What can happen if you allow the clippings to rot on your lawn? In such cases, it will be gone relatively quickly. Usually within a few weeks. The clippings will turn into compost in a few months when piled and turned regularly with the right conditions.
How do you make grass clippings decompose faster?
There is no doubt that by leaving grass clippings on your lawn you can return nutrients and give moisture back to the soil. It can take several weeks for long grass clippings to rot where they fall. Clippings can add important elements as they rot. That’s why it is advisable to get these organic materials to work their magic at regular intervals. We have compiled several ways that you can use to increase the rate of decay in clippings.
You should choose a mower which will allow you to chop the grass into small pieces. For long grass the best way to do it is by mowing the lawn in stages stating at a height which will only cut one-third of the grass. From there, you should leave the clippings where they fall and repeat the process 5-7 days later. This will allow them to rot naturally and provide good nutrients back to the soil. It is recommended if using grass clippings as a natural lawn fertiliser you mow the laws every 5 days during growing season. This allows small clippings which will decompose much faster.
The best compost piles consist of different organic matter, To turn your grass clippings into rich compost you can either use a compost bin or you can just place it all in a pile in your garden. To create the compost pile you should ideally be aiming to have equal amounts of both green waste and brown waste. (For an extensive compostable list of both brown and green waste items please see this article). At the bottom of the pile we start with brown waste, then add a layer of grass clippings (approximately 2 inches) and top with left overs from the kitchen. You should not put meat products on your compost pile. (meat will start to smell quickly which will attract maggots and fly’s).
To turn your pile you simply insert your shovel or fork into the pile and literally flip it over. This process should be repeated every 3-5 days if you want your compost to develop quickly.
The compost pile needs to be kept slightly moist to rot quickly. The pile should not be allowed to dry out completely. It should have the same level of moisture of a wrung-out sponge. Moisture helps break everything down
Circulation is one of the main factors that increase decomposition. Circulation will heat the pile and breakdown the material. You should turn the material at least once a week to increase circulation. When this is done, the pile will have a better chance of reaching the ideal temperature necessary for decomposition after about two weeks. The ideal temperature for rapid decomposition is 32 – 60° C. If the temperature goes below this, you should turn the pile.
What is the best thing to do with clippings?
Here are several ways you can use grass clippings.
• Use them as mulch in garden beds. Grass mulch is the term used for finely cut and reused grass clippings. Grass mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil. By using mulch there is less need to water your garden as regularly. Mulch is also a great way to suppress weeds and keep the soil temperature even.
• Make liquid feed for your garden. Liquid organic fertilisers are gaining in popularity day by day because they are really cheap and easy to make. To make your grass clipping liquid fertiliser you first need to fill any sized bucket with 2/3 of fresh grass clippings. Fill the rest of the bucket up with water and close the lid. Let it steep for 3 days and the liquid fertiliser is ready to use.
• Livestock feed. Fresh grass clippings are a great source of nutrition for farm animals such as cows or sheep, as well as plant-eating pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. However, the grass clippings must be eaten within 8 hours. After this 8 hour period the clippings would have already started the composting process. For this reason you must never feed grass clippings to a horse for more information please see here
• Layer in a raised bed. Instead of using loads of soil you can use grass clippings to help raise your flower beds. This is a great way to provide essential nutrients to the bed.
Grass clippings are a great natural resource which has many uses and keep on providing. A rich source of nitrogen, grass clippings are also a great resource which feeds the bacteria that help vegetable roots grow. If you’re producing more grass clippings than you can use, you can either put them in your garden waste bin or take them to your local recycling centre who will dispose of them in a green manor.