Environmental update: Grasscycling can help your lawn

By From page A8 | March 01, 2013

By now, most people realize they can recycle newspaper, bottles and cans. What many people don’t know is that you can recycle grass clippings via grasscycling.

Grasscycling is the process of recycling grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when you mow. Grass clippings left on a lawn can quickly decompose, recycling nutrients into the soil and providing a free fertilizer for your lawn. Grasscycling can be practiced on any healthy lawn as long as the following turf management guidelines are followed.

Lawns can vary in their need for water. Most lawn grasses in California need about 1 inch of water every five to seven days in the growing season (spring and summer) and much less during slow growth months (fall and winter). Over-watering is not only expensive, potentially harmful to your lawn and wasteful, it also causes lawns to grow faster and requires more mowing.

Proper mowing is required for successful grasscycling. For best results, cut your grass when the surface is dry, and keep your lawn mower blades sharp. Follow the “one-third rule:” Mow the lawn often enough so that no more than one-third of the length of the grass blade is removed in any one mowing. Proper mowing will create short clippings that will not cover up the grass surface. You may have to cut the lawn more frequently when the lawn is growing fast, such as in the spring, but you may be able to reduce or stop mowing in the fall or winter when your lawn is growing slowly.

It is important to cut the lawn frequently enough to produce small clippings that will fall between the standing blades and decompose quickly. If a lawn is not cut frequently enough and long clippings are left on the lawn, it may produce a “hay-like” look that can be unsightly. Another tip to help your lawn — raise the mowing height in the summer to encourage your lawn to send roots deeper and protect your grass from drought and heat damage.

You can grasscycle with almost any mower. If you are buying a new mower, look for a mulching or recycling mower. You also may want to consider purchasing an electric mulching mower to reduce air pollution. The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District occasionally offers a lawn mower exchange, where you can get a $100 discount on a new electric lawn mower when you recycle an old gas-powered mower. Visit YSAQMD.org for details.

When a lawn is properly mowed, watered and fertilized, grasscycling can produce a healthier-looking lawn.

* Mark your calendars: The 2013 bulky item drop-off days are coming Thursday and Friday, April 11-12, from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Davis Waste Removal, 2727 Second St.

Bring your unwanted bulky items: refrigerators and freezers (limit of two), large appliances, mattresses, furniture, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, wood scraps, scrap metal and other bulky items for free disposal. Electronics and other techno recyclables — such as TVs, computer monitors, microwaves, computer components, microwaves, CDs, DVDs, floppy discs and cassette tapes — also will be accepted for free.

This service is available for Davis Waste Removal residential customers only. ID will be checked at the drop-off. Commercial haulers and business materials will not be accepted.

For more information, visit DavisRecycling.org, or call DWR at 530-756-4646.

Hazardous waste will not be accepted at the bulky items event, but may be brought to the free household hazardous waste drop-off events every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Yolo County Central Landfill on County Road 28H northeast of Davis. Bring your paints, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, household cleaners and expired medicines (no controlled substances) for free and safe disposal.

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis’ conservation coordinator. Her column is published monthly. Reach her at [email protected]

Jennifer Gilbert

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