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Mulching with lawn clippings: how to improve the garden soil, kill weeds and keep slugs away

Whether for the lawn, vegetable or flower bed: mulching with lawn clippings can save time and effort and significantly improve the soil. We explain how you can make good use of lawn clippings.

These are the benefits of mulching with lawn clippings!

Use grass clippings in the garden instructions

Mowing your lawn regularly keeps your lawn in shape. But what should you do with the clippings? One option would be to compost the lawn clippings. However, you should not put too much of the good stuff into the composter, but only compost small amounts.

Larger quantities can be used for mulching. To do this, first spread the grass clippings in a dry and sunny place in the garden and let them dry out a bit. Then you can start mulching. In doing so, you should use the clippings in a targeted manner. For example:

  • to improve the soil quality in the vegetable bed
  • as a natural protective layer for ornamental shrubs and hedges
  • to suppress weeds in the kitchen garden and in the flower bed
  • in sunny places a thin layer of mulch can prevent the soil from drying out.

Improve garden soil with lawn clippings

Mulch with lawn clippings and improve soil instructions

Regular mulching can significantly improve garden soil. Especially if the soil is light, it can store water poorly. A layer of mulch can help with this. Loamy soils can become airier with regular mulching. Lawn clippings also provide important nutrients for the soil and can make it richer in humus.

When mulching with lawn clippings, you should pay particular attention to the thickness of the mulch layer. A 1 cm layer has proven to be optimal for improving soil quality and protecting it from drying out. For the ornamental shrubs, you can lay out the clippings about 2 cm, it may be slightly thicker if you want to suppress weeds – around 3 cm.

This is what you should pay attention to when mulching with lawn clippings!

Mulch raised bed with vegetables in summer

Especially in the months between May and August, there is plenty of lawn clippings. If it rains frequently or if there is an irrigation system in the garden, then the clippings are usually wet. If it is spread too densely, it cannot dry properly and waterlogging will form. Therefore, you should really spread the grass clippings as thinly as possible and always let them dry a bit in the sun beforehand.

The lawn cuttings are not a permanent mulch. The mulch layer must be renewed or replaced regularly. It is best to remove the old mulch layer every 7 to 10 days and lay out a new one.

Furthermore, it is important to prepare the garden soil for mulching. First, remove weeds. Then check the grass clippings for seeds and sort them out as well.

Lawn clippings for mulching against weeds in the kitchen garden


If the soil has dried out, you can water it a day before mulching.

Then fertilize the soil. This is best done not once at the start of the gardening season, but regularly, once a week or every two-three weeks (depending on soil conditions and plant needs).

Place the mulch layer around the stems of the plants at a distance of at least 20 cm. This will allow moisture to evaporate and prevent waterlogging from forming.

By the way, you should not mulch freshly planted or sown areas for the time being. Wait two weeks for the plants to show themselves or for the young plants to develop their root systems. Only then can you mulch them thinly.

Destroy and suppress weeds

mulching in the vegetable garden with dried lawn clippings

Regular mulching can inhibit the growth of weeds. It is very important that the mulch layer is as impermeable to light as possible. This is because it can prevent the germination of plants. It is important that the mulch layer is at least 2.5 cm thick. A layer of 3 cm proves to be optimal – more would lead to rotting, less would not be effective enough.

If you want to suppress the weeds, you can not avoid weeding. Loosen the soil and weed the weeds. Then fertilize the soil, water it, and then apply grass clippings around the plants.

Mulch against slugs: Is lawn clippings effective?

Mow the lawn and use the clippings correctly


Is mulching against slugs effective at all? This question divides minds. Because there are as many proponents as opponents. Depending on one’s experience, different mulching materials are recommended. Lawn clippings are one of these natural materials. Supporters of the method claim that the mulch layer with lawn clippings thickens over time, and slugs can not crawl under it. Opponents, on the contrary, claim that the lawn clippings are the perfect hiding place for the creepy-crawlies. They often lay their eggs there as well.

Everyone can test for themselves whether mulching with lawn clippings really helps or not. But there are two tricks that could increase the effectiveness of the method:

  1. Slugs love moisture. So first let the lawn clippings dry well and only then use them.
  2. Change the lawn clippings once a week, collecting any crawlers that may be found.