Cut It and Leave It Program

Grass clipping are a major source of waste collected by the Department of Public Works.  In this program the City of Rahway currently collects yard waste separately from other waste types. Yard waste items include grass clippings, leaves and branches which are sent to a composting facility. This process has a financial obligation for every tax payer in our community.

Grass clippings can be added to the list of common home wastes that can be recycled. Simply leave your clippings on the lawn when you mow, and let nature do the recycling for you. Grass clippings will provide a natural fertilizer for your lawn, while reducing weed growth and soil erosion.

When “Cut it and Leave it” is properly implemented, clippings settle quickly between the growing blades of grass where they shelter the roots from the sun, and conserve moisture. As they break down, they release more moisture as well as nutrients in the soil. This means that grass needs to be watered less frequently.

Clippings left on the lawn supply one-third or more of the nitrogen needed to keep your grass green and healthy.

Why spend time and energy buying paper bags or garbage cans, throwing grass clippings into them and placing them to the curb for pickup? There is a better way!

Here is how – cut grass when dry and keep mower blades sharp. Follow the 1/3 rule: mow your lawn often enough so that no more than 1/3 of the length of grass blade is cut in any one mowing. Frequent mowing will produce short clippings that will not cover up the grass surface. You may have to cut the lawn every 7 days when the lawn is growing fast, but every 7 to 14 days when the lawn is growing slowly.

It’s best to use a mulching mower. If you are using a mower with a collection bag, the bag should be removed to allow clippings to drop on the lawn. However, if your mower doesn’t have a safety flap covering the opening where the bag fits into the chute, it is important that you purchase a retrofit kit from your local retailer.

If you have question, please call the Division of Solid waste & recycling at: 732-827-2159.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Do grass clippings cause thatch and lawn disease?

No. Research has shown that grass roots are the primary cause of thatch, not grass clippings. Thatch is composed primarily of roots, stems, rhizomes, and other plant materials. These plant materials contain large amounts of lignin (fibrous material) and decompose slowly. Grass clippings are approximately 80-85 percent water with only small amounts of lignin, and decompose rapidly.

Will grass clippings make your lawn look bad?

No. If a lawn is properly mowed, watered, and fertilized, grass clippings can actually produce a healthier looking lawn. It is important to cut the lawn frequently to produce small clippings that will decompose quickly. If a lawn is not cut frequently and clippings are left on the lawn, it will produce a “hay” like look, which can be unsightly.

“CUT IT AND LEAVE IT”

“Cut it and leave it” is the natural way you can have a green, healthy lawn while spending less time and money…..and think about how much waste will be diverted from the waste stream! Taxpayer dollars will be saved in the process.

Most lawnmower manufacturers have developed mulching mowers, which cut grass blades into small pieces and force them into the soil. These types of mowers are effective in grass recycling and have become very popular. Make your next mower a mulching one.

 

To learn more:
US EPA “Greenscaping your lawn and garden: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/education/pdfs/home-gs.pdf
Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Union County: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/county/quickinfo.asp?Union