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Organic Lawn Care: Grasscycling is In!

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

The problem with most organic lawn-care techniques is that they are laborious, slow-developing, and require unique equipment. But you can start grasscycling the next time you mow your lawn. Here's how to make this technique part of your strategy.
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Grasscycling is a catchy name given to the process of mowing your grass, leaving it longer than normal, and allowing the clippings to settle to the ground. These clippings decompose and become a natural part of the turf once again. The result of this process is a nutrient-rich soil structure and healthy grass that requires less management. You should be careful when you begin grasscycling, because improper mowing could damage your lawn.

Grasscycling 101

  • Mow Height. Mow your lawn when it is approximately 3½ to 4½ inches tall and mow it to 2 or 2½ inches. If you're unsure of your mower height, always use the tallest setting to keep from mowing too closely.
  • The Numbers. Grasscycling provides about two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn per year and decreases the amount of irrigation needed.
  • Mulching. For faster results, use a mulching mower. For a less expensive option, replace your current mower blade with a mulching blade, or simply cover your regular mower's out spout.

If you have a yard full of leaves, collect them prior to mowing and add them to your compost pile. If the leaves only lightly cover your lawn, you can mow over them to add more nutrients. Either way, only mow when the lawn is dry to decrease the opportunity for mold and slime build-up. Also alternate the direction in which you mow to avoid forming ruts. Organic lawn care doesn't have to be detailed or involved. Simple techniques, like grasscycling, can provide immediate benefits.

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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