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What To Do With Grass Clippings

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Three options that help the lagoon — and your wallet.

On average, Americans spend roughly 65 hours per year on lawn and garden care.¹ Great pride is taken to make homes look their best — and landscaping is part of that process.

Similarly, your community should be well-kept, especially natural features like the Indian River Lagoon. When grass or lawn clippings are left in the street, rain can wash them into storm drains and the lagoon. Then, the decomposition process actually happens in the lagoon and contributes to the accumulation of muck. Muck causes algal and phytoplankton blooms, which then block sunlight to essential seagrasses — and even consumes oxygen fish need to survive.

What if you could take care of your lawn and your community at the same time — all while saving money? It’s easier than you think.

Find out what to do with your grass clippings, below, and become part of the change.

grass clipppings

BLOW GRASS CLIPPINGS & LEAVES BACK INTO YOUR LAWN.

The easiest way to prevent grass clippings from becoming pollution is to let the mower leave them on the lawn. Just blow any clippings that land on pavement back into your lawn. Letting your grass clippings decompose on your lawn is like getting free fertilizer, according to the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

Grass clippings are made of 90 percent water and decompose quickly.

After grass clippings decompose, they provide nitrogen to
the soil that’s equal to 1-2 fertilizer applications per year.3

You can reduce or even eliminate the need for traditional fertilizer, all the while enjoying a healthier lawn.

Who knew grass clippings were so useful?

ASK YOUR LAWN CARE COMPANY TO BLOW
GRASS CLIPPINGS BACK INTO YOUR LAWN.

Some of us gave up the lawn care game years ago. If you’ve hired a company to mow the lawn, the action to eliminate grass clippings from draining into the lagoon is even easier. Ask your lawn care company to blow the grass clippings back into your lawn.

At first, you might worry about inconveniencing the lawn care company with a special request, but this is the clean, professional look most of their customers expect. Furthermore, it's illegal to leave grass clippings in the streets or blow them into storm drains, gutters, ponds, or bodies of water. Each local government has their own fines and enforcement provisions.

When you talk with your lawn care company, you might share why it’s important to blow grass clippings back into your lawn. Once in the lagoon, grass clippings begin to decay and contribute to the accumulation of muck. Studies show muck on the lagoon bottom is the largest source of nutrient loading. When excess nutrients are added to water, it can cause harmful algal blooms.

COLLECT GRASS CLIPPINGS & LEAVES.

Keeping grass clippings out of the street doesn’t have to be more work. A little planning goes a long way. Aim your chute away from the street and blow the clippings into a pile.

You can then collect the clippings and repurpose them in a number of ways.

Cut Back on Waste: Repurpose Grass Clippings

Make Your Own
Plant Fertilizer

Steep grass clippings in water for about three days. After three days, remove the clippings and use the remaining liquid to naturally fertilize plants.

Create a
Compost

Food scraps and yard waste make up nearly 30 percent of what is thrown away. Keep these materials out of landfills by composting them instead, which you can then use to nourish your soil and plants.

Mulch Your
Garden Beds

Grass clippings are perfect for mulch, due to their ability to lock-in moisture. They also provide nutrients that your plants need to
grow. Mix them into soil for gardening or raised garden beds.

Why This Matters to All of Us

The majority of Brevard County is part of the Indian River Lagoon watershed. Most of the land, drainage ditches, canals and tributaries drain into the lagoon. There are 3,000 miles of ditches and canals that deliver pollutants from our homes all the way to the lagoon! So, even if you live miles away, your stormwater could still impact the lagoon.

Your landscaping choices also affect your water quality. Excess nutrients can contaminate our drinking water supply and cause harmful algae in our lagoon.

By collecting or blowing grass clippings back into your lawn, you’ll be doing your part to keep the lagoon — and the greater community — beautiful. Not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY THE LAGOON MATTERS TO ALL OF US.

BECOME LAGOON LOYAL

Earn local discounts by blowing your grass clippings back into your yard. Sign up to become Lagoon Loyal and get rewarded for helping the Lagoon!

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Let’s Be Clear…Grass Clippings FAQ

Grass clippings can act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn, saving you money and the extra step of buying and adding fertilizer. Simply mulch and blow the grass clippings back into your yard and enjoy a healthier lawn — and the extra cash in your pocket.

You might live miles away from the visible lagoon-front, but your stormwater could still lead to the Indian River Lagoon or the St. Johns River. Most of the land, canals and tributaries drain into the lagoon.

Great question! Grass clippings do decompose — and when that happens in your yard that is a good thing — but when grass clippings are left in the street, rain can wash them into storm drains and the lagoon. Then, the decomposition process actually happens in the lagoon, adding excess nutrients, feeding bacteria, and contributing to the accumulation of muck. Excess nutrients cause algae blooms, which then block sunlight to essential seagrasses — and even consume oxygen fish need to survive. The muck covers the bottom, stopping seagrasses from growing and releasing additional excess nutrients.

By simply blowing grass clippings back into your lawn, you can be part of the change that protects the lagoon — and the sea life who call it home.

SOURCES:
1 “American Time Use Survey 2018 Results.” bls.gov, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19 June, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf.
2 “Composting At Home.” epa.gov, United States Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home.
3 “Grass-Cycling.” sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, 21 Feb. 2019, https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/sarasota/natural-resources/waste-reduction/
composting/what-is-composting/what-can-be-composted/grass-cycling/
.
4 “Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan 2019 Update.” Prepared for Brevard County, March 2019, PDF File (Page 11, Table 3-1).

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