From Waste to Fertilizer: How to Compost Grass Clippings

Composting grass clippings is a sustainable and eco-friendly solution that can help reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. 

Grass clippings are an excellent addition to your compost pile because they are high in nitrogen, moisture, and nutrients that are essential for plant growth.

In this article, we’ll take you on a composting journey specifically focused on grass clippings, from the benefits to the nitty-gritty of the composting process.

If you are looking for more in-depth info, please check our comprehensive guide: Composting for Beginners.

How to Compost Grass Clippings

Why are Grass Clippings Good for Compost?

Grass clippings are high in nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for plants. Nitrogen helps plants grow strong and healthy, and it’s a key component of chlorophyll, which plants need for photosynthesis. 

Grass clippings are also a good source of moisture for your compost pile. They contain about 80% water, which can help keep your compost pile from drying out. 

When you compost grass clippings, you’re recycling nutrients back into the soil. 

As the grass clippings decompose, they release valuable nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which plants need to grow.

Composting Grass Clippings

There are several methods you can use to compost your grass clippings, including a compost pile, compost bin, or compost tumbler. Regardless of which method you choose, try to implement the following steps.

Adding Grass Clippings to the Compost

When adding grass clippings to your compost, make sure to mix them in with other organic waste and green material. This will help to balance the compost and prevent it from becoming too nitrogen-rich. Be careful not to add too many grass clippings at once, as this can slow down the decomposition process.

Balancing the Compost

To balance your compost, make sure to add brown material, such as dry leaves or weed stems, to the mix. This will help to introduce carbon into the compost and prevent it from becoming too nitrogen-rich. Be careful not to add too much brown material, as this can slow down the decomposition process.

Maintaining the Compost

To maintain your compost, make sure to turn the pile regularly to introduce air and speed up the decomposition process. You can use a shovel or pitchfork to turn the pile. Make sure to keep the compost moist, but not too wet, and avoid adding any weed seeds or diseased plants to the mix.

Managing Odor and Pests During Composting

Composting grass clippings may produce odors and attract pests if not managed properly. To control odors, make sure your compost pile is well-aerated and contains a balanced mixture of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials.

Avoid adding too many grass clippings at once, as this can lead to a compacted and smelly pile. As for pests, regularly turning the compost and avoiding adding meat, dairy, or oily foods will help deter unwanted visitors.

More Info: How to Prevent Fruit Flies in Compost

Using Grass Clippings in Vermicomposting

If you’re interested in taking your composting to the next level, you can also use grass clippings in vermicomposting. 

Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to break down organic material. To get started, create a worm bin and add a layer of shredded newspaper or cardboard to the bottom. Then, add a layer of grass clippings and food scraps, such as fruit and vegetable peels.

 Finally, add some worms to the bin and cover it with a lid. Make sure to keep the bin moist and avoid adding any meat, dairy, or oily foods. 

Over time, the worms will break down the organic material and create nutrient-rich worm castings that can be used as fertilizer for your garden.

How to compost grass clippings fast?

If you’re looking to speed up the composting process for grass clippings, consider adding compost activators. Compost activators contain beneficial microorganisms that help accelerate decomposition. 

You can purchase commercial compost activators or use natural alternatives like finished compost or a thin layer of soil to introduce the necessary microbes to the pile.

What alternatives are there for composting grass clippings?

While composting grass clippings is an excellent way to recycle and utilize yard waste, it may not be suitable for everyone. If composting is not feasible in your situation, grasscycling is an option for you.

Grasscycling is the practice of leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing. This allows the clippings to decompose and return nutrients to the soil. It also saves time and energy by eliminating the need to bag and dispose of the clippings. 

To grasscycle effectively, you’ll need a mulching mower that can finely chop the clippings and distribute them evenly across the lawn. Mulching mowers are available in both gas and electric models and can be purchased at most lawn and garden stores.

Check out our article on “How to Make Hay for Pets Using Grass Clippings” for even more creative ways to recycle your grass clippings.


Composting grass clippings has been a game-changer for my garden! Not only is it a sustainable solution that reduces waste, but it also creates nutrient-rich soil that helps my plants thrive. 

I’ve learned that balancing carbon and nitrogen, maintaining proper moisture levels, and turning the compost regularly are key to creating a healthy and productive compost pile.

But don’t worry if composting isn’t an option for you – there’s always grasscycling! 

Leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing allows them to decompose and return nutrients to the soil. 

It’s a win-win situation that saves time and energy while improving the health of your lawn.


Can I compost grass clippings in a small space or without a backyard?

Yes, you can compost grass clippings in a small space or without a backyard. There are several options available for composting in small spaces, such as using a worm bin or a tumbler.

A worm bin is a container that houses worms that break down the organic material, while a tumbler is a container that can be rotated to mix the compost. Both of these options are perfect for small spaces.

How long does it take for grass clippings to decompose?

Grass clippings can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to decompose, depending on the conditions. The decomposition process is faster in warm weather and when the pile is kept moist and turned regularly.

If you want to speed up the process, you can add nitrogen-rich materials such as kitchen scraps or manure to the pile.

What percentage of leaves to grass is needed for compost?

The ideal ratio of leaves to grass is 2:1. This means that for every two parts of leaves, you should add one part of grass clippings. This ratio helps to balance the carbon and nitrogen levels in the pile, which are essential for the composting process.

You can use a compost calculator to determine the exact amount of leaves and grass you need for your pile.

Are grass Clippings Green or Brown Compost?

Grass clippings can be either green or brown compost, depending on their composition. All organic wastes that are wet and high in nitrogen are considered green, while dry, carbon-rich organic wastes are called brown.

Freshly-cut grass is green, but as the grass matures, the clippings will start to turn brown because the chlorophyll in the leaves starts to break down.

How to use composted grass clippings in the garden?

You can use composted grass clippings as mulch around plants or directly mix them into the soil as a nutrient-rich amendment.

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