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What to do with grass clippings in Ireland.


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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: What to do with grass clippings in Ireland. Reply with quote

What to do with grass clippings in Ireland.
by GPI

Its that perennial problem which occurs to lawn owners every time a grass box needs emptying. We have tidied the lawn area but where do the untidy grass clipping go? This can be a substantial disposal task for the average lawn owner as grass clippings are thought to make up about 75 percent of all garden waste.

Never fear though, this article is here to mull over the pros and cons of the various disposal methods, from which you may find a solution to your mowing leftovers. These fall under the following headings.... Bin them, compost them, return them, hedge them, and feed them.

Bin them.

If you have compostable wheelie bin collection in your area, commonly know as the brown bin, then take advantage of this to dispose of your lawn clippings. Of course, this is limited in volume, so the average country-garden lawn owner could fill this many times over in one mowing session.

Many people will put the grass in their standard wheelie bin, but this is to be avoided. Sending clippings to landfill is an expensive and sinful waste of landfill space.

. Grass clippings, how to dispose, photo / picture / image.

Compost them.

The water content of grass is both the pro and con for the arguments surrounding grass composting. Grass clippings are approximately 85 percent water and 4 percent nitrogen, which means if composted correctly they will rapidly reduce to one tenth of their volume. Your bag of grass clippings would reduce to handful or two of compost.

However if composted incorrectly in the manner of a big grass-only silage heap at end of garden, you will quickly discover why cow manure smells the way it does and why it attracts so many flies. With composting done correctly, the wet "green" material (grass clippings, veg peelings etc.) should be roughly balanced out by dry "brown" material (newspaper, cardboard, sawdust etc.), reducing nitrogenous materials and allowing air to circulate. By adding a bag of newspaper for each bag of grass, you will ensure the clippings cannot overwhelm your heap.




If you are looking for products to improve your composting you should be able to source some here.....Compost maker


Return them.

Mown grass decomposes quite quickly if left on the lawn, recycling non-toxic nutrients back into the soil, plus you will reduce your mowing time by about a third due to the lack of bag emptying. Sounds like heaven, and for the most part, it is, provided you can put up with the cons.

Arrow 1. You must mow frequently (every five days) to prevent your lawn drowning in grass clippings longer than an inch.

Arrow 2. Avoid mowing when the grass is anyways wet as this causes the mower to drop large clumps of grass every so often. In my experience, it's hard to combine the wet weather and five day mowing rule due to the Irish weather.

Arrow 3. Be aware that kids and dogs will track these clippings indoors possibly onto carpets.

In some cases, an adapter kit is required to allow you to safely operate your mower without a bag, or alternatively you could opt for a new mulching lawn mower itself. These tend to be quite expensive, but it may save you a lot of time and fertiliser.

Hedge them.

Grass clippings can be used for weed control at the base of your hedges, whilst retaining moisture and adding organic matter/nutrients to the soil. For best results spread no more than an inch or two depth of weed free clippings at the base of the hedge avoiding its main stems. Do not add any more clippings until the previous batch has broken down.

. The grass may be greener on the other side, but be wary, photo / picture / image.

Feed them.

Also known as over the hedge, this is a favoured disposal method for many country gardeners with neighbouring livestock. Although it seems like the easiest option, it does have possible down points, animal ill health being the main one.

A pile of grass clippings is very attractive to hungry horses, ponies, donkeys, cows and sheep, but if the animals gorge themselves on the grass, they can prove fatal. Pasture bloat and colic are the main cause of illness, then there is always the possibility of pesticide poisoning if the lawn has been treated recently. Be wary of using this method of disposal, especially if you are doing it unawares to the farmer.

So, after all that, what do I think is the best method of coping with your grass clipping. Well I suggest a rotation policy of all the methods mentioned above, possibly omitting feeding the animals. Oh, and reduce your lawn area by planting a few native trees and shrubs for your birds, less lawn equals less clippings.

Any queries or comments on What to do with grass clippings in Ireland., please post below.

Associated content.....
Basics of Composting Your Grass Clippings (Lawn Mowings)

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JennyS
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use them to mulch the vegetable patch......and the shrubs and flower beds
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cooler
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good in the vegetable patch alright as long as not treated with weedkillers. And if I know JennyS there will be little of that. Wink Don't forget to add a few handfuls of wilted grass clippings to your potato planting trenches just before the potatoes go in as this helps prevent potato scab.
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Michael196
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have two compostors on the go at any one ttime and this year enough material for a third composter. I use 4 (8 foot by 4 foot ) marine ply sheets arranged in a square, to give me 8x8 by 4 foot high, and as I said there are two of these serving a 3/4 acre site.

I am planting hedging over the past few years and as my soil is mostly sand, ( did the soil test, for layers thanks GPI) this sand ends up in the composter and bagged manure is used for the new hedging, This is why I have large composting capacilty.

To feed the composter, I also cut a neighbours 1/2 acre garden and I take their clippings, and another neighbour is donating his 3/4 clippings.

This year I am buying trailer loads of chippings to mix in with the grass clippings.

Over this summer I emptied one of these units to feed a a hungry beech hedge that was struggling. I reckon that the composter gave me about 100 feet of 4 inchs of compost on this hedge.

As one section about 10 feet long was left short of compost, I bought 15 bags of bagged manure costing about 60 euro.

DO the math !!! the value of the composter output was therefore at least 600 euro worth of compost.

I soil tested the compost output, and I got three layers of sand, clay and silt. Mostly Clay to be honest. but a huge improvement on the sand.

I also hope to generate enough soil for a veg patch and last year I grew my potatoes in the only space available with soil : the composter. Crop was good, and i noticed the potatoes were best in the area where wood chippings and water were abundant.

I hope to get to maybe three, more moderatly sized composters, when the site stabailises and I am no longer digging sand out for hedging.
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dealgan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
I'm new here, so go easy on me !,

I had great intentions to start composting last year, and dumped quite a lot of grass cuttings in a wide low pile, to sort out "later".
As per usual, for me, later never came. Now I have two big piles of smelly sludge. Is there any way to make use of this for composting, or is it a lost cause after sitting for so long.

I did dig it through, and added some torn up cardboard and some old twigs, etc, but I don't know if it will help sort it out.

I have about 3/4 acre of grass, and I collect every 2nd or 3rd cut, so it does add up to quite a lot of grass. I'm hoping to get composting this year, but just unsure about last years mess !

Any advice welcomed. I'm trying to expand my gardening knowledge beyond mowing & strimming !

Thanks.
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Michael196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dealgan

If you dig into the pile , you should find pure black like compost like material at the center. this stuff is the richest compost on your site.

dig out the most soil like of this material and spread it under trees, onto roses etc into the hedges etc, they will benefit a lot. Use some to start a vegtable plot. for the most grass like material or sludge make this stuff the base of the new grass cliping you wil cut this year.


If your heaps are in an area that you plan to use again for dumping clippings, then dump this years on last clippings, Extract the most soil like materail to use else where, then start dumping onto the spot again.

if you dont have a veg plot or anywhere to move the soil like material to, then leave it there at a depth of 6 inches to a foot and put some seed potatoes straight into it,

for best results try to cage in your clippings as this swill speed up the compost process, add household paper, cardboard, pet litter etc, you have the makings of a rich veg plot or a supply of high quality mulch for your garden

the older the stuff the better, the more composted the center will be.

When out of space last year i grew potatoes on on old compost heap, they were greta potatoes,

there are lost of uses for your heaps, and remember the older , the better....
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greengiant
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I risk exposing my naieveity here, but...what if I was to bury my grass clippings in my raised borders before topping them up with top soil? Beneficial or bonkers? I'm too limited on space for a compost heap that accomodates anything but my sods. It's such a pain disposing of the clippings I'm contemplating never cutting my grass again!
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John H
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Did I see Micheal that you can use pet litter to put into your compost. I have 2 large dogs that eat a lot which in turn gives a large return. At the moment I am putting it into the bin.

I would be a bit reluctant to put it in to compost as it will end up very close to what I hope to be eating Confused

Green giant I too am a novice but that would be handy if you could part fill a raised bed with clippings, hopfully someone will let us know.
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greengiant
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We wait with bated breath John.....
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dog, or cat cr*p shoud never be put in bins, nor should it be used in garden compost. Both these can carry a parasite which can cause serious brain damage in humans and especially children, cat being the worse. You can buy dog loos which you put it into, some say it can, after a while, be added to garden compost. I wouldn't trust it. Putting it in your household bin, you are exposing your refuse collectors to all number of problems and risks. If my dogs mess anywhere near my lawn or vegetables or in fact any part of my garden I'm likely to work in, it's lifted and removed to a wild part of the garden.
Other pet waste like rabbit, guinea pig etc are quite safe and suitable as garden manure.
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John H
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Liparis, I knew cat cr*p was bad for children but I didn't know dog cr*p was.

When you said work in, do you mean take up the peice of earth under the cr*p or just remove it? Confused
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Michael196
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to clarify, just the 'sawdust' ends up in the composter, nothing else.
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mainly the solids, John H, I'm usually out with all my dogs and remove it straight away, you just don't want to be working in your soil with hands and finding your fingers squelch through that stuff! neighbouring cats are a damn nuisance, they love the potato patch but have an annoying habit of cover it with some soil and you don't see it until your fingers are in it when handweeding or kneeling in it to do the job. scrub your hands and finger nails if it happens.
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John H
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liparis I heard that if you put out the skins of half an orange around the perimeter of your veg garden that it will deter cats from doing their business in that area.

I'm not sure whether that is an old wives tale or not, but it could be worth a try. Wink
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Garlicbreath
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mulching with holly works to deter cats from vulnerable areas Twisted Evil
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