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Do I Need to Rake My Grass Clippings?

a rake, pile of grass clippings, and a wheel barrow
Raihana Asral/Shutterstock

When you’re done mowing the lawn it’s time to rake and bag your grass clippings, right? Not so fast. Leaving the clippings behind is good for your lawn—if you do it correctly.

Rather than throwing the bagging attachment on your mower or investing the time in raking the whole lawn and bagging by hand, you can—in most cases—leave the grass clippings behind. Not only do you save time, but clippings are great for your lawn.

Grass clippings release nitrogen back into the soil, which encourages greener grass growth. You’ll give your lawn a free fertilizer boost by leaving cut grass alone. Also, the clippings help shade the soil and conserve moisture in the soil as well and attract earthworms that will help break down the clippings and incorporate them into the soil.

You can’t always leave the rake in the garage, unfortunately. If you mow your lawn when the grass is wet, the clippings left behind will clump in wet bunches. Those clumps block sunlight and oxygen from reaching your grass which creates brown spots, encouraged fungal growth, and is overall awful for your lawn. If you mow when the grass is too high or too wet, you should rake up the clumps.

If you do rake your clippings, consider composting them instead of bagging them and tossing them on the curb. Grass composts well, and in doing so, you can reclaim the nutrients in the grass to use on the rest of your landscaping later.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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