Grasscycling means leaving your mowed grass on the lawn, allowing it to work its way back into the soil. 

Why Should I Grasscycle?

Grasscycling is an easy way to reduce the amount of garbage going to our landfills. Like other regional districts in the province, the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) is committed to reducing our garbage. Practice the four R's – rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle. This includes composting and grasscycling.

Organics (kitchen and yard waste) make up approximately 35% of the garbage that we send to landfills every year. By composting and grasscycling, we can significantly reduce our household garbage.

Grasscycling is easy, just remember these simple tips:

  • Keep your lawn at least 6cm (2 1/2 inches) long. The longer your grass, the healthier the root system, with greater protection from heat and water loss.
  • Mow as often as needed. This may involve more frequent cutting in mid-summer, and less cutting in late summer and fall. Unless a densely grown lawn is frequently cut, grass clippings will take longer to reach the soil and decompose.
  • Adjust the blade of your lawnmower to keep your lawn at 6cm and make sure your blade is sharp. Clippings should be less than 2 1/2cm (1 inch) for faster decomposition.
  • You can buy a mulching attachment for your lawnmower to create finer grass clippings. Smaller clippings decompose within a few days.
  • Mow late in the day. This will prevent the newly-cut grass from burning, and gives the clippings a chance to settle overnight.
  • Mow grass when it is dry - clippings will distribute more evenly over the lawn and break down faster.

Composting and Grasscycling

Grasscycling is actually a method of composting. It is the simplest and most effective way to dispose of grass clippings. Although the compost pile is not always the ideal destination, grass clippings may be added to supplement nitrogen and carbon balances. Note: do not add grass clippings that have been treated with weed killer to your compost pile.

All organic material is composed of carbon and nitrogen and an effective balance of the two is essential for effective composting. A ratio of 30 parts "brown" material (carbon) to 1 part "green" material (nitrogen) will result in the quickest breakdown of organic material.

When adding grass to your compost pile, do so in moderation. Fresh grass clippings mainly contain water and will pack down and become slimy if heaped in one large pile. Always be sure to layer grass clippings with dry materials, such as leaves or straw, or let your cut grass dry on the lawn before adding it to your compost pile.

Unless you have a large compost bin and plenty of carbon-rich material to add with your grass clippings, you simply cannot compost all of your cut grass. In fact, most backyard bins can only manage 1/4 of a garbage bag of grass per week.

Fun Facts about Grasscycling

  • The average home generates 60 garbage bags of grass over the summer
  • Grasscycling can reduce the amount of time you spend on your lawn by 35%
  • Grass clippings decompose quickly - usually within 2-3 days because they are made up of 85% water.
  • Grass clippings supplement the nutrients in your lawn as they decompose, adding nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Grass clippings protect your lawn's root system from heat and water loss.
  • Saves landfill space and save money on disposal costs of extra "garbage" bags.

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