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2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

Grasscycling - Cut It and Leave It

What is Grasscycling?

Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly, returning valuable nutrients back into the soil.

Grass clippings are a major part of New Jersey’s municipal solid waste stream. As a Ewing resident, you are already helping to avoid air pollution and wasted resources by recycling. You can do more by reducing waste at the source. Leave the grass clippings on your lawn when you mow, and let nature do the recycling.

Why Grasscycle?

To Enjoy A Healthier Lawn!

You'll fertilize your yard for free as you cut it!  Grass clippings add beneficial organic matter to the soil, which helps make lawns greener and healthier. Healthy lawns crowd out weeds. 

To Save Money!
Grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer and reduce fertilizer requirements by up to 50%.

Green waste collection programs are costly. Grasscycling helps keep garbage collection rates and your taxes down.  You’ll also avoid purchasing yard waste bags.

To Save Time!
Grasscycling saves time and the hassle of bagging, raking, and disposing grass clippings.

To Help The Environment!
Helping the environment can begin at home. Grasscycling allows you to make a personal contribution by: 

  • Reducing yard waste.
  • Reducing the need for chemical fertilizers that cause toxic runoff that enters storm drains and pollutes creeks and rivers.
  • Feeding your yard in a natural way that works with nature and all the little critters that live in your landscape.
  • Reducing the amount of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides on your property makes your yard a healthier place for your kids and pets to play.
Learn about the Ewing Green Team's Healthy Yards Initiative

Introducing
HEALTHY YARDS

Your yard can be a part of the solution to capture and store greenhouse gas emissions as well as rainwater, and create wildlife habitats and connections that are critical for sustaining wildlife.
Learn More from the EGT

Grasscycling Begins with Proper Mowing

  • Mow your lawn when the grass is dry.
  • Keep mower blades sharp.
  • Follow the “1/3 rule”—mow often enough so that no more than 1/3 the length of the grass blade is cut in any one mowing. This will result in an attractive, neatly trimmed lawn, and clippings will disappear when they filter down to the soil. 
  • Most Ewing lawns should be mowed 2.5-3.5” high, (like the rough besides a golf course fairway), especially in the summer, to shade the soil, cool the roots, and block weed growth.
  • Mulching mowers help by cutting the clippings into fine pieces that slip easily down to the soil. Most new mowers are mulching mowers, and you can attach mulching equipment to your existing mower.

The Right Amount of H20

Controlling watering rates will help your lawn grow at manageable levels and stay healthy. 

When

  • Don’t water until the lawn is dry. If it turns blue-green or gray, or if footprints don’t spring back, it’s time to water.
  • Water in the early morning to prevent evaporation and conserve water.

How Much?

  • Provide about an inch at a time for clay soil, and half an inch for sandy soil. Place a few cans around the lawn and note how long it takes for that much water to collect.
  • Water deeply and infrequently to produce a deeper, more extensive root system.
  • Lawns watered too frequently develop shallow root systems that make them more susceptible to stress and disease.

What to do with Excessive Growth

If you miss a week, or heavy rain causes fast growth, you have some choices:

Double Mow

Set the mower higher than usual and cut no more than the top third of the grass.  In a day or two, set the mower height down and bring the lawn down another 1/3 of its height.  Continue this process until you reach the desired height.

Use as Garden Mulch

Bag or rake the clippings and apply them to your garden as mulch.  Spread them an inch deep, to cool the soil, retain water, prevent erosion and compactions, and smother weed seeds.

Mix Them into the Soil

New Jersey soils can be improved by adding organic matter. Added organic materials make heavy clay soils become more productive, and sandy soils retain more water.

Compost

Grass speeds up your composting, but can cause odors and deplete oxygen if not properly managed.  If you compost large amounts of grass, turn the pile often with a pitchfork.
Grasscycling with proper fertilizing and watering are the ingredients for a healthy lawn. Remember that grasscycling provides half of the nitrogen needed by a lawn, so you will not need as much fertilizer. Over fertilizing weakens your lawn and causes excess growth. Sunny lawns only require three applications of fertilizer per year in May, September and November. For shaded lawns, two applications of fertilizer will be enough. Remember, fertilizing in the fall and or winter is best for your lawn.

When water your lawn, water effectively – not often. Over watering will cause your lawn to grow faster, so control your watering times. Water during the early morning or evening when less evaporation occurs. Always wet soil to a depth of four to six inches down. This is perfect for building healthy roots and green growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions about grasscycling.  Should you require further assistance please call the Public Works Department at 609-882-3382 or submit a question using our Feedback form.
Image
Will grasscycling make my lawn look bad?
No!  Follow the 1/3 rule.  Mow often enough so that not more than 1/3 of the length of the grass is cut.  The short clippings decompose quickly and will not cover the grass surface.

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