The Q&A Archives: Can I use Grass Clippings as Mulch?

Question: I live in Port Hope, Ontario - On the shores of Lake Ontario. I am considering using Grass clippings as mulch in my vegetable garden in order to keep the moisture in and to help keep control of the weeds. Are there any problems I might experience by doing this? A second question I have concerns roses. I live in Zonal area 4b to 5a. The type of soil I have is basic and non clay. I believe Roses like a little acidic soil. Is this correct? If so, how do I introduce acidity to the soil?

Answer: Grass clippings aren't the best material for mulching. They have a tendency to mat, nullifying the air cushion effect that makes a mulch so effective in moderating soil temps and moisture retention. They also occasionally rot, to the point of being a little uncomfortable to the nose. And thirdly, some grass clippings contain the residues of herbicides and pesticides often used in lawn treatment products. Roses aren't that fussy about the pH of the soil, although extremely acid or alkaline (basic) soils may lead to nutrient imbalances. They do best, however, in soils on the heavy side (some varieties such as Rugosa hybrids do prefer the sandy type).

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