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Posted on: August 30, 2018

Wait! Don’t place your grass clippings in the street

Grass Clippings

Did you know placing/blowing grass clippings into the street impacts storm water quality? Grass clippings placed in the street often end up in storm sewer catch basins, which can clog drains/pipes or make their way to lakes and streams. When mowing your lawn, do not blow grass clippings into the street. Instead, make the first few passes with the lawnmower blowing the grass clippings into the lawn not the street. If there are grass clippings on the street or sidewalk, use a broom or leaf blower to blow them back into the lawn or collect them and place them in your yard waste container.

Grass clippings contain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which cause unwanted and uncontrolled growth of algae and aquatic weeds in the waterways. Too much algae is harmful to a lake system because it blocks sunlight and prevents other plants from growing. When it dies and decays, it also takes much needed oxygen away from fish. Limiting phosphorus reduces algae blooms. One bushel of fresh grass clippings can contain 0.1 pounds of phosphorus, which is enough to produce 30 to 50 pounds of algae if it ends up in lakes or ponds.

Keep your grass clippings on the lawn and not in the street or gutter. Remember, when you leave your grass clippings on the lawn, you add free fertilizer to your lawn. According to the U.S. EPA, leaving your grass clippings on the lawn doesn’t cause thatch buildup. Grass clippings are about 90 percent water, so they decompose very quickly. Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn can reduce your lawn’s annual fertilizer needs, reduce your fertilizer costs and reduce water pollution.

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