Keep Grass Clippings Off the Street

With April showers comes May (and for the rest of the growing season) mowing. As a homeowner, I prescribe to this ritual like many others, but as a water educator, seeing grass clippings being bagged or on the street/sidewalk drives me crazy!  

Posted on Allen County Partnership for Water Quality’s Facebook page on July 8th, 2019 and June 24th, 2020.

My first summer in my position, I went on a walk after work and saw a majority of my neighbors were either bagging their grass clippings or strategically mowing to ensure their clippings ended up off their yard (and on the street). The next day I went to work and looked through old picture files, and decided to post the photo to the right. The picture was old and of bad quality, but I like it. To me, it seemed to scream that putting grass clippings into the street was outdated. As a science-minded person with little social media experience at the time, I assumed that the post would see some traction, maybe reaching 100 people (our page was just shy of 200 followers at the time). After posting it, I continued to work on other tasks and went home.   

The next day when I opened our Facebook page, I was blown away by how many people had seen this post. The post reached 1,074 people and was shared 28 times. It was the top-performing posts that our small page had in 2019. In 2020, with the COVID pandemic taking place and so many large real-world problems happening, it was hard to imagine this post would see the same success, but I decided to post it again. Though it didn’t receive anywhere near the same traction, it was still a high performing post, reaching 512 people.   

What I learned from this post is I am not alone in my hatred for seeing grass clippings in the street. People have different motives for wanting clippings to stay off of roads ranging from motorcycle safety to curb appeal to water quality. Whatever your reasons, keep those grass clippings off our streets!   

If you are unsure why having grass clippings in the street matters, please look at the points below!  

  • Having grass clippings mowed or blown onto streets or sidewalks leads to higher concentrations of nutrients in our waterways. Nitrogen and phosphorus that break down in our waterways can lead to algae blooms and poor water quality downstream.   
  • Grass clippings can take the extra fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides with them. Fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides can cause several issues in waterways.   
  • Grass clippings can cause storm drains to become clogged, which creates localized flooding. It then takes time and financial resources to unclog the drain or the blockage has to decompose. 

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