Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

Should I collect my grass clippings?

Contrary to popular belief, grass clippings will not damage your lawn if you leave them on the lawn after mowing. This practice, known as grasscycling, has a number of benefits for you lawn and keeps tons of yard waste out of our landfills.

In addition, many states, including Missouri and Illinois, have outlawed disposing of grass clippings and other yard waste in their landfills.

Clippings, which contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other plant nutrients, decompose and are recycled back into the soil. Grass clippings can provide as much as 25% of the total annual fertilizer requirements of your lawn.

Grasscycling is best accomplished by using a mulching mower that produces smaller clippings that will decompose even more quickly. Best results are also accomplished by mowing the grass before it gets too tall and when it is dry.

Grasscycling also can save you time, energy and money. You’ll spend less time and energy handling all those heavy clippings and the fees associated with yard waste disposal.

And don’t worry, many people think grass clippings cause thatch buildup on the lawn. Well documented research shows this is seldom the case.

Thatch is an accumulation of dead grass roots and stems at the soil surface. Grass clippings are primarily leaf blade tissues, not roots and stems. Grass blades are 80-85% water and decompose quickly. For more detailed information on thatch, refer to our FAQ on "What is lawn thatch and how do I check for it?

Return those grass clippings to the soil and be a grasscycler!