You see the name.

We’re all about organic lawn care.

So, turning grass clippings and leaves into compost is something we do on a regular basis.

But here’s where most people go wrong. 

Your grass might not like the leaves in your compost. So, here’s the difference

RELATED: 5 Tricky Lawn Diseases in Florida

How To Create Compost from Grass Clippings

compost made with grass clippings and leaves

Grass clippings make great compost for your yard.

In case you’re not quite sure what that is:

Compost is a decomposed organic material used to enrich soil.

If you want to get science-y, it officially becomes compost when microorganisms break down organic matter using things like:

  • Kitchen scraps
  • Grass clippings
  • Newspaper
  • Leaves

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Collect Grass Clippings:  After mowing, collect the grass clippings using a bagging mower or a rake (avoid grass treated with herbicides or pesticides. If you want to make your life easier, just get a mulching mower.
  • Layer the Clippings: Layer the grass clippings in your compost bin or pile. Mix them with “browns” like dry leaves or food waste like eggshells. These carbon-rich materials help balance the grass’s high nitrogen content.
  • Maintain the Pile: This is a must if you want to compost quickly. Turn the compost pile once every month with a shovel to mix the materials. CAUTION! The compost will be hot. 
  • Monitor and Adjust: If the pile is too green and wet, add more brown materials. If it’s too dry, add more grass clippings or water.

It should only take about 3 months!

You should end up with a dark, crumbly substance that smells earthy (and might have some worms). By the end, it has fermented into nutrient-rich soil that you just can’t buy from stores.

It’s like turning cucumbers into pickles! Except you’re turning grass clippings into delicious compost for your yard.

In Tampa? Get a lawn care quote!

Compost vs. Leaf Mold

leaf mold

Leaf mold (or mulch) is made from leaves and water. Leaves are high in acid and carbon, so grass like Bermuda won’t love an all-leaf mixture.

However, leaf molds are perfect for yards with sandy soil that need more water retention for grass to grow.

Here’s the thing: a leaf mold takes a long time to decompose. The quickest timeframe will be 6 months, but it can take up to 2 years if not managed properly.

To speed up the process, you can use a mulching mower to shred the leaves into smaller pieces. The smaller the pieces, the faster your

Here’s how to create leaf mold:

  1. Gather your leaves: Here are the best ways to pick up leaves, but we highly recommend this mower.
  2. Put them into a bin: Like this or in the corner of your yard.
  3. Water It: Don’t get them too wet, but moist enough for the leaves to turn dark.
  4. Push It Down: Push down your first layer of leaves
  5. Repeat: Start adding more leaves, water, repeat.

Your mulch will be ready to use when it’s a black, crumbly substance (similar to the compost).

How To Store Your Organic Compost

how to store organic compost (in a bin with a lid)

Maybe we should have started with this…

Storing your compost properly ensures it remains usable during the long composting process!

We recommend:

Organic Compost FAQs

image of organic compost made with grass and leaves in 2 crates

What is compost used for exactly?

  1. Soil Amendment: Mixing compost into garden soil improves fertility and structure.
  2. Mulch: You can use it as a top layer around plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and add nutrients.
  3. Potting Mix: Blend your compost with other materials to create a nutrient-rich potting mix for container plants.
  4. Lawn Top-Dressing: Or you can spread a thin layer over lawns to boost grass health and soil quality.

When should I use compost?

For our Fellow Floridians, here are the best times to use compost:

  • February to April: Mix compost into garden beds and lawns before planting or apply a thin layer (a.k.a. lawn top dressing) to rejuvenate the lawn after winter.
  • May to June: Use as mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • August to October: Top-dress lawns to help grass recover from summer heat. You can also add some compost around perennials for winter prep.
  • Winter (November to January): Mix your compost into the soil to enhance quality for the next growing season.

You can also use it when you have:

  • Poor Soil Quality: Use to improve sandy or nutrient-deficient soils.
  • Thin or Patchy Grass: Top-dress to fill in thin areas and encourage growth.
  • After Aeration: Apply after aerating to enhance root growth.
  • New Lawns: Mix into soil before laying sod or planting seeds.

What are the benefits of compost?

  1. Soil Improvement: Compost enhances soil structure, increasing its ability to retain moisture and nutrients.
  2. Nutrient Supply: It provides essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers (our MO).
  3. Environmental Impact: Reduces landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions by recycling organic materials.

How does it work exactly? I want the science!

Hello, fellow science friend!

Let us break down the decomposition process:

  1. Aerobic Decomposition: This is when the organic waste materials (grass, leaves, food, etc) are broken down by bacteria and fungi with the help of oxygen
  2. Heat Generation: As microorganisms break down the organic matter, they generate heat, which helps to further decompose the materials, kill pathogens, and even reduce the odor!
  3. Transformation: Over time, the organic materials transform into a stable, nutrient-rich product known as compost.

Think of it like a campfire burning: just as a fire needs oxygen to keep burning and turning wood into ash, aerobic decomposition needs oxygen to break down organic matter into compost. Without enough air, the process slows down or stops, just like a fire would smolder without oxygen.

Now find out how often you should really be watering your lawn…