The Q&A Archives: Grass Clippings?

Question: I recently prepared a bed for spring annuals. I added some fresh grass clippings to the soil thinking this would become good compost and help keep the clay soil from sticking back together. Most (if not all) the plant leaves have turned yellow (not green) and are dying. Could it be that the grass clippings are stealing nutrients in their decomp process or something else going on here?


Answer: Grass clippings should decompose in the soil without problem. The only caution about grass clippings is using them fresh as mulch over the top of the soil. Fresh grass clippings tend to clump as they dry and can effectively stop water from percolating through to the soil. But mixing them into the ground before planting should not affect your plants. New transplants sometimes go through a stressful adjustment period and yellowing leaves is one of the symptoms of stress. Usually they perk up within a week. I don't think the grass clippings have anything to do with the behavior of your plants. Try to sheild them from hot sunshine until they recover. Best wishes with your annuals.

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