When it comes to lawn maintenance, one of the questions that often crops up is whether to leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. It's a topic surrounded by various theories and practices, and opting for the right approach can significantly impact the health and appearance of your garden. In this blog post, we'll explore the repercussions of leaving grass clippings on your lawn and provide you with informed choices about your lawn care strategy.

The Case for Leaving Grass Clippings on the Lawn

Natural Fertilisation

One of the foremost benefits of allowing grass clippings to remain on your lawn is natural fertilisation. Grass clippings decompose and return essential nutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, back to the soil. This process can reduce the need for synthetic fertilisers, making your lawn care routine more sustainable and cost-effective.

Moisture Retention

Grass clippings can help maintain moisture levels in the soil. They act as a mulch layer, reducing evaporation rates during the warmer months. This means you'll need to water your lawn less frequently, saving on water bills and supporting environmentally friendly gardening practices.

Thatch Misconceptions

A common concern about leaving clippings on the lawn is the potential contribution to thatch buildup. However, thatch is primarily composed of roots, stems, and the lower parts of grass blades — materials that decompose slowly. Since grass clippings are made up of mostly water and decompose quickly, they do not significantly contribute to thatch when left in moderation.

Considerations and Best Practices

While there are clear benefits to leaving grass clippings on the lawn, it's not without its considerations. Here are some best practices to ensure that this method contributes positively to your lawn's health:

Mow Frequently

Regular mowing is key. It prevents the grass from growing too long and producing clippings that clump together and smother the lawn. Aim to cut no more than one-third of the grass blade's length at a time to ensure clippings are short enough to decompose quickly.

Use the Right Equipment

Consider using a mulching mower. These mowers are designed to cut grass clippings into fine pieces that fall easily to the soil surface, where they can decompose more efficiently without impacting the aesthetics or health of your lawn.

Monitor Lawn Health

Keep an eye on your lawn's condition. If you notice any signs of distress, such as yellowing grass or patches where growth seems stunted, reassess your strategy. It might be necessary to remove clippings occasionally or alter your mowing routine.

When to Remove Grass Clippings

While leaving grass clippings on the lawn is beneficial in many cases, there are situations where removal might be preferable:

  • When Grass is Too Long: If you've missed a few mowing sessions and the grass is significantly overgrown, removing the clippings can prevent them from matting down and suffocating the grass beneath.
  • During Wet Conditions: In consistently wet conditions, leaving clippings can create a damp environment that’s conducive to fungal diseases. In these instances, removing clippings can help keep the lawn healthy.
  • If Lawn Disease is Present: If your lawn is suffering from a disease, removing the clippings can help prevent the spread of infectants across the lawn.


Leaving grass clippings on the lawn can offer a range of benefits, from natural fertilisation to moisture retention. However, it's essential to apply this practice thoughtfully, considering the length of your grass, the equipment you use, and the overall health of your lawn. By adhering to the best practices outlined above, you can make an informed decision that supports the health and beauty of your garden.