Use grass clipping as mulch to keep weeds from growing?

I like the idea of using grass clippings as mulch around my tomatoes, black berries, grapes, and fruit trees. I am just not sure if that is recommended or a good idea? I want to find a cheap way to prevent weeds from growing and keep the ground moist. I heard that the grass clippings can spread disease to the vegetables. My dad found the clipping breeding some kind long centipede insect in the grass.
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I wouldn't use freshly cut grass for mulch. Too much nitrogen. I'd only use decomposed grass for mulch. If nothing else, at least the grass should be old enough to be brown.
scr
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I use straw, its pretty cheap

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I use leaves, mostly picked up in bags alongside the road where other fools are throwing them away.
It's free. ;-)
K.
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On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 13:07:38 -0400 in

it lasts longer, too... but most people have free grass clippings readily available. I like straw around, well... strawberries.

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I'm in the desert, and I use grass clippings as mulch -- not so much to prevent weeds, but more to keep in moisture so seeds don't dry up before they get established. Without it, there's no getting grass started from seed (grass from turf doesn't root down well enough here).
Let the grass get *thoroughly* dry before using it as mulch -- dry it in the sun, well spread out, turning it occasionally until it is completely crispy. (It will turn brown over time, but that's not critical here.) If there is any moisture left, that will mold and that's not good for your veggies.
Use only a THIN layer -- just enough that you can't quite see the dirt anymore. That way the grass can dry up again after you water it, so it won't mold underneath. The finer the grass is chopped up, the more important this is. LONG grass, once dried, does not tend to mold quite like grass that's been ground up by a lawn mower.
You can also use last year's DRIED dead leaves from northern-type deciduous trees (ash and elm are best) but all the same caveats apply. This has the benefit that it breaks down into the very best of soils (whereas grass, just laying in a pile, takes YEARS to break down). Squish them down to flakes for best results, then mix lightly with the top inch of dirt.
If the mulch tends to get soggy and stay that way, remove it. Some soils just don't work with grass type mulches.
If you don't have ground termites (which we do in the SoCal desert, YMMV), try coarse sawdust instead -- it works better than grass and breaks down into good quality soil over time. I don't mean sawdust like you'd get from a home project (tho you can use that), nor chips (which make things too soggy), but rather the stuff about 1/4" size, about like very small gravel or coarse sand, from the ripping saw pit. Sawmills usually give it away. It also makes a nice ground cover for a dog kennel.
~REZ~
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Grass clippings might grow if there are any nodes... Might make _more_ weeds!
K.
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Katra wrote:

More likely, if you don't cut it frequently enough, it will contain seeds.
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As long as there are no pesticides used on it.
Grass is high in nitrogen, so be careful not to use too much.

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On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 17:58:12 GMT in

guess would be that it's safe to use for mulch. Best to check and know what you're using though.
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I put news paper down first then grass on top. It's a good way to recycle the old paper.
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snipped-for-privacy@er454545.net writes:

Under no circumstances use grass from any area that has been treated.

clippings (throughout the growing season) around my tomato plants and other veggies as I have enough clippings. Leaving about an inch around the stem (to discourage mildew, etc.), I place it at least 6-8 inches out and a couple of inches high. It serves the purposes of keeping the ground warm as it decomposes, discouraging weeds and retaining moisture. Many people have told me that I shouldn't do it because of nitrogen issues; however, those *same* people marvel at how well my plants grow and produce.
I cannot imagine not mulching with grass; I mow to mulch. I use grass for mulch around trees, rhodies, etc., after my garden is advanced enough to make it inconvenient to place it around veggies.
There has not been any disease in my garden nor have has there been in insect problem. Surely the bird feeder and, especially, the bird bath have helped with the insects. Each spring I purchase ladybugs for release so even an aphid is truly rare (not so in front where there is no bird feeder). I also purchase nemotodes for the garden to distribute before serious planting.
All this, with on-ground watering, has produced excellent results for me who says my garden grows in spite of me, not because of me. Perhaps it works because of my ignorance of what I should be doing. However, I can tell you for sure, I really don't care how ignorant others might think I am when I'm eating those delicious tomatoes and all the other veggies . . . those plants seem to be as ignorant as their planter is. :-)
Regardless of what you do, I wish you a healthy and productive garden.
Glenna
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Glenna Rose wrote:

Glenna, that could have been written by me. I feel the same.
I collect all the grass clipping I can get from my own yard. I use it right out of the mower bag to mulch around my fruit trees (not touching the trunk) and any bare ground in the garden and even the flower beds. It works very well between my rows of corn and extra nitrogen is certainly never a problem with corn! Actually, I find no reason to worry about extra nitrogen anywhere else, really. I put it on about 4 inches thick. Mostly it just gets dry and not enough decomposes into the soil at any one time to boost the nitrogen very much.
Steve
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I've done it, but ended up with lots of grass sprouting after the mulch decomposed.
Bob
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Wouldn't it be better to allow the grass clippings to lie on the lawn and fertilize the grass, and use something else on the garden?
vince norris
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a layer thick enough to inhibit weeds but not so thick that it decomposes into a slimy mess. About one inch at a time is my recommendation. With this, even freshly cut grass can be used. You'll have to renew it several times over the summer, as grass decomposes. Earthworms love it - when I dig where I've mulched I always find an abundance of earthworms.
Guy Bradley Chesterfield MO zone 6
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a layer thick enough to inhibit weeds but not so thick that it decomposes into a slimy mess. About one inch at a time is my recommendation. With this, even freshly cut grass can be used. You'll have to renew it several times over the summer, as grass decomposes. Earthworms love it - when I dig where I've mulched I always find an abundance of earthworms.
Guy Bradley Chesterfield MO zone 6
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snipped-for-privacy@psu.edu writes:

Guess that depends on priorities. I don't care for the extra clippings (even mulched) on the grass when they can be in the garden doing some real good. I see no sense in buying for the garden when I have all that terrific mulch!
To each his/her own. :-)
And, no, I do not fertilize the lawn. There's enough clippings that escape the bag to take care of that over the mowing season.
Additionally, leaving grass clippings on the lawn can also cause problems depending on the lawn, the clippings, the soil, and the circumstances.
'Sides, there ain't nuthin' good as dem grass clippings around my 'maters and peppers! Frankly, there is nothing else to mulch with that will produce the heat and retain the moisture like the clippings do for me. Some have said they get weeds which makes me wonder what they are doing. My lawn doesn't get long enough to go to seed so there is not a weed problem. In fact, I've had fewer weeds since starting this as they don't get a chance to grow and the seeds seem to be going to the great beyond. By the time any weeds have enough sunlight to grow in the late fall, they don't make it through the winter. Score one more for grass clippings. :-)
Right now, I'm just beginning to plant and there are very few weeds in my garden; that was not so several years ago. *And* I do very little weeding through the season, no need to. This year there will be even less as I am putting geotextile woven between the tomato rows and perhaps other rows as well.
Glenna
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more. Dad mowed the church grounds so we always had lots of grass clippings and one day we decided to eat dinner before unloading the trailer and it was steaming/smoking before we got back out an hour later perhaps, it was charcoaled in the middle and got the pitchfork tines hot enough to scorch my skin when I bumped it into it. That was when I learned that green vegetation piled up heats .. I was about 14 and I figured out why there were so many haystack fires.. stacking it too soon.. not dried enough..
Anyway, we didn't have much trouble with it causing too much growth from the nitrogen as after the first bunch of grass spread out between the plants and it dried to a tanish brown shortly after It's spread out. The point is not to put it down thick enough that it heats. Older grass shields the newer grass and the nitrogen it might contain.. I mention this because someone was concerned it may have too much nitrogen.
The only thing you can do is try it on part of a planting, try something else in another spot. I know Do not put fresh wood shavings down ;-)
The main problems we had with using any kind of mulch was that the slug population exploded. The little reddish centipedes are predators and your friend. Same for the fast moving ground beetles! The ground beetles supposedly eat slugs!
If you have some kids around and ponds with toad tadpoles, get a bunch when they grow their last legs and start hopping out of the water. Bring a bunch home and put them in your garden, supply them with shallow pans sunk in the ground up to the rim.. of NON CHLORINATED water .. put some water in a bucket and let it set Uncovered for 24 hours.and use that.. and just provide them with a little rock to climb up on and water to keep moist as they make their transition to out of water full time. Provide hiding places all over the yard, broken pots turned on their side if the rest of the shell is rounded.. to provide the toads houses.. a few might stay around and they'll eat slugs and other bugs!
Janice
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This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------030003080700010603060302 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
I have been mulching my garden with fresh grass clippings for over 15 years and never had any problems whatsoever. When I first put them down in the spring, I use about a 4"- 8" layer around everything. By the end of the day, or the end of the next (depending on what time I mow,) the clippings have dried out and the layer has reduced to about half of what it was when fresh. They do not decompose quickly enough to release enough nitrogen to cause burning problems. As the season progresses, I just replace what has decomposed. I have even used them when they were full of weed seeds, such as dandelion, and haven't had any weed problems. They mat down as they dry and hold water in nicely. As far as pests using the clippings for cover or clippings causing diseases, I have not had a problem with either. In my opinion, grass clippings are the perfect mulch...with one caveat:
When using grass clippings is that you don't want to use them from a lawn that has weed killer used on it. The grass will pick up the chemicals and as the clippings decompose in your garden, the chemicals will be left. It would be better to compost clippings that come from a non organic yard so that the chemicals have the chance to break down before being used in your garden.
All that said, I have found that using grass clippings as a mulch varies from gardener to gardener, as the number of postings show. I say try it out on your garden to see if it will work for you. If you have concerns about any damage or pest problems they might cause, experiment in a small section of your garden. After all, isn't experimenting what gardening is all about?
--------------030003080700010603060302 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1"> <title></title> </head> <body text="#000000" bgcolor="#ffffff"> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1"> <title></title> <br> <br> I have been mulching my garden with fresh grass clippings for over 15 years and never had any problems whatsoever. When I first put them down in the spring, I use about a 4"- 8" layer around everything. By the end of the day, or the end of the next (depending on what time I mow,) the clippings have dried out and the layer has reduced to about half of what it was when fresh. They do not decompose quickly enough to release enough nitrogen to cause burning problems. As the season progresses, I just replace what has decomposed. I have even used them when they were full of weed seeds, such as dandelion, and haven't had any weed problems. They mat down as they dry and hold water in nicely. As far as pests using the clippings for cover or clippings causing diseases, I have not had a problem with either. In my opinion, grass clippings are the perfect mulch...with one caveat:<br> <br> <u><i><b>When using grass clippings is that you don't want to use themfrom a lawn that has weed killer used on it. The grass will pick up the chemicals and as the clippings decompose in your garden, the chemicals will be left. It would be better to compost clippings that come from a non organic yard so that the chemicals have the chance to break down before being used in your garden.</b></i></u><br> <br> All that said, I have found that using grass clippings as a mulch varies from gardener to gardener, as the number of postings show. I say try it out on your garden to see if it will work for you. If you have concerns about any damage or pest problems they might cause, experiment in a small section of your garden. After all, isn't experimenting what gardening is all about?<br> </body> </html>
--------------030003080700010603060302--
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