People in my neighborhood dump their lawn clippings in the woods. I have
gone over there, and taken them and have used them between my bushes. Now I
plan to use them in my garden for mulch around my tomato and pepper plants.
Is there anything I need to be concerned about. If chemicals are sprayed on
my neighbor's yard, would those chemicals affect the tomatos? One place on
the internet says that the clippings should not be deeper than an inch.
Pesticide uptake by tomatoes is almost nil. I would be more concerned with
uknowingly distributing weed seeds into your veggie garden from the
neighbor's yards. Also, it's been my experience that anything thicker than
a thin sprinking of green grass clippings results in a fetid, stinking and
cloying mat of decaying grass to form.
IMHO, green grass clippings are best used in the garden as a top dressing
soil amendment, sprinkled lightly but frequently everywhere you wish to
improve the soil. Weed barrier mulching (aka, the Ruth Stout Method) is
best left to straw, pine needles, even shredded newspaper.
David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7)
I put about 5 layers of wet newspapers down before I put any shreddings
down. Keeps any other weeds down successfully. I use shredded leaves that
I collect in the fall but my mother uses grass with great success.
I use tons of the stuff, our own and trailer loads delivered free by
a local lawn-mowing contractor. Two trailer loads yesterday :-) When I
first started doing this two years ago, he thought I was mad, and I had
to run miles with a barrow collecting it as he cut, but now he brings
his trailer into the garden and parks it wherever I want the grass that
week. Most of the beds were initially made by covering an area in
cardboard then mulch.
I apply grass clippings about 2" thick, but don't let it touch the
stems of plants. Once a year the soil in decorative areas also gets a
heavy cover of fresh seaweed and a smaller dressing of animal manure.
The vegetable area gets seaweed and home-made compost, manure in some
areas. The decomposition of so much green stuff by soil biota will
temporarily take nitrogen from the soil, so make sure you compensate
for that with something nitrogen-rich. Comfrey or nettle tea would do.
The soil is now full of worms feeding on the mulches. Many small birds
constantly turn over the mulch searching for the worms, so it quickly
breaks down into a loose dark friable covering, no smell, no caking, and
easily permeable to rain.(High rainfall area). The mulch and constant
bird activity keep down the weeds, and any which do germinate have their
roots in the loose upper surface so are easy to tweak out.
I can't answer about the chemical question, because none are used on
the lawns that supply the cuttings.
Janet. (Isle of Arran Scotland)
If they used herbicide on their turf, it will definitely effect your tomatoes.
They will have leaf curl or possible death if the concentration is not dilute.
I would only use clippings from a persons lawn if I knew they used not
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