Can You Use Grass Clippings Instead Of Straw

Common lawn and garden supplements include straw, grass clippings, and organic compost. Straw can suffocate and dehydrate your seeds, so if that’s the case, you may want to try grass clippings instead.

Instead of using straw, you can utilize grass clippings to replenish soil nutrients, increase water retention, and forestall plant dryness. Lawn sweepers are useful for collecting grass trimmings. For the aforementioned benefits, spread the grass clippings thinly over the soil.


If you’re interested in using grass clippings instead of straw, you’re in the right place. On this page, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the use of grass clippings, including:

  • Five alternatives to use instead of straw
  • How to apply grass clippings for the best effects
  • A few reasons that straw might not be the greatest choice for your plants

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Alternatives to Using Straw for Growing Grass Seeds


When growing grass, it’s not advisable to leave freshly seeded areas bare because the seeds may not get the necessary conditions to grow efficiently, such as moisture and warmth. Birds may also decide to make a feast out of the seeds.

Applying a straw mulch to cover the newly seeded areas is usually not a very good idea since straw may contain other plant seeds or weeds that can invade your lawn and compete with the growing grass for rapid establishment. The following alternatives are recommended:

Consider Using Sawdust


Sawdust, rather than straw, is what you should be using, according to SF Gate. The use of sawdust as a fine mulch, which is advised for your grass seeds, helps to ensure that the grass will develop in a uniform manner. Additionally, it prevents the seeds from drying out completely.

Before application, it is absolutely necessary to check to see that there are no clumps lying on top of the seeds. If you apply the mulch in a layer that is too thick, it will inhibit drainage and evaporation, neither of which is beneficial for the grass seeds. Sawdust mulch should be applied in a very thin layer (no more than a quarter of an inch thick) over the seeded area.

Peat Moss is Another Excellent Option


Peat moss is produced in peat bogs as a byproduct of the decay of mosses and other forms of plant and animal life. It is a fibrous material that is most commonly used as an amendment to the soil, but it can also be used as mulch for the purpose of growing grass seeds.

After the grass seeds have germinated, the addition of peat moss, which is an organic material, will both strengthen the structure of the soil and add nutrients to it. It stores a significant amount of moisture and makes it available to the plant roots as and when they require it.

In order to prepare it for use as mulch, you must first break it up from its compact state so that it can drain more effectively.


Compost Works for Many Situations


In comparison to using just fertilizer, applying a mulch made of compost over grass seeds results in a far more significant increase in the amount of nutrients available to the plant. As a result of the high levels of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium that they contain, grass clippings provide an extremely valuable contribution to a compost pile. You won’t have to go to the trouble and expense of purchasing nitrogen fertilizer because of this.

When compost is used as mulch, it not only stops water evaporation but also boosts the fertility of the soil below the seeds as it decomposes and mixes with it. Since clumped compost that has not been screened will smother the seeds, the best method for mulching is to use a thin layer of compost mulch that is spread out uniformly and is around one quarter of an inch thick.

Because organic particles that haven’t decomposed completely may attract wildlife or cause the seeds to rot, it is imperative that the compost that is used has been allowed to age for a sufficient amount of time.

Seed Mats Should Be On Your List


Seed mats are squares of fabric that have individual seeds sewn onto them. You can either buy seed mats that are already made or make them yourself. They are made specifically for messy situations, the kind in which a loose mulch would be washed downhill when it rained or was irrigated.

The mulch mat is spread over the seeds to create an environment that is conducive to the seedlings’ development. The mat reduces the amount of seed that is wasted and helps save time by assisting in the process of laying down a bed of seeds. After the grass seeds have begun to grow, it is possible to abandon these mats in the field because they are biodegradable.


What Are the Benefits Of Using Grass Clippings?


It is possible to create an environmentally friendly mulch for your garden or lawn by utilizing grass clippings. According to the University of Minnesota, grass clippings can be added to soil in order to increase the amount of life there. In addition, they can be composted, which results in the production of free organic fertilizer. The following is a detailed explanation of the advantages of grass clippings:

  1. It is important to note the importance of moisture control and supporting efforts to conserve water. Because it prevents dryness and aids in the retention of moisture, a layer of grass clippings used as mulch will provide shading for your soil, which will, in turn, save you the hassle of having to water your lawn or garden on a regular basis. The amount of water that is saved is increased thanks to this method. Let’s face it: Lawns are not exactly known for their eco-friendliness.
  2. It prevents weeds from growing and spreading farther. By obstructing the sunlight that weeds need to thrive, mulch made from grass clippings is an effective weed killer. This eliminates the possibility of your plants or grass having to compete with any other plant for space or nutrients.
  3. The use of grass clippings can be very beneficial to the health of the soil. Composting grass clippings results in an increase in the amount of organic matter in the soil, which in turn increases the quantity of beneficial nutrients available in the soil. This can be beneficial for your lawn or garden. In addition, the addition of organic matter from the clippings can help enhance the quality of sandy soil as well as soil that has a lot of heavy clay.
  4. Bees and other species that are helpful to the lawn and visit your yard in search of food are more likely to find an environment that is safe and chemically limited thanks to this practice. Your lawn is a source of food for a variety of animals and insects, including bees and other wild creatures; nevertheless, cutting the grass and using synthetic fertilizers has a negative effect on these creatures. The use of grass clippings as mulch ensures that the property receives organic nutrients; as a result, no chemicals are used to maintain the property, while insects and other creatures continue to benefit from it.
  5. The amount of lawn waste that ends up in landfills is decreased by grass clippings. The usage of plastic bags to collect grass clippings can be reduced or eliminated entirely by recycling or composting the grass clippings. This contributes to the prevention of waste. Because the plastic bags that are used to bag clippings do not biodegrade in the same way as clippings do, the bags wind up taking up space in landfills. The utilization of grass clippings, as a result, contributes to the preservation of a clean and pleasant atmosphere.

What’s The Quickest Way To Harvest Grass Clippings?


The vast majority of compact mowers are equipped with a box attachment that can be used to collect grass clippings. If your mower does not have a box attachment, the easiest and quickest way to collect grass clippings, particularly if you have a large lawn, is to use a lawn sweeper. This is especially true if your lawn is sloped.

A lawn sweeper is a piece of garden equipment that makes the process of collecting grass clippings simple and quick. It has a spinning sweeping brush that collects the grass clippings into a hopper bag that is linked to it. Lawn sweepers that are pushed by hand are available for use on lawns that are not very large. Large lawns can benefit from having the lawn sweeper dragged behind a ride-on mower or garden tractor.

When you use a lawn sweeper, you can collect more clippings, and you can cut down on the number of times you have to go to the compost bin because you only have to empty the hopper bag when it is completely filled.




Grass clippings make a great replacement for straw in many applications. In point of fact, making use of them is highly recommended since it is beneficial in a variety of ways. Utilizing organic materials is always the most effective course of action, regardless of whether you are attempting to cultivate seedlings or to restore nutrients to the soil. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay anything to acquire the clippings from your yard.

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