Grass Clippings & Weeds as Garden Mulch

Everyone who has a garden will inevitably dislike weeds. They invade your growing seedlings and fight with them for nutrition in the soil, not to mention the hours you spend weeding in the garden (a glass of wine helps!).

What if I told you that you can turn those weeds into great garden mulch while adding nutrition in the soil rather than taking it away?!

Using weeds as free garden mulch

Grass Clippings as Mulch

It suppresses weeds which reduces your garden workload, decomposes back into the soil (which then builds up your soil) and gives plants increased water retention.

There are mulches you lay in-between your garden beds (usually gravel, wood chips, black matting etc) that you walk on and mulch that you put down in-between your vegetable rows (usually something that decomposes like leaves, straw, hay).

However buying mulch can add up in price, and for the frugal gardeners out there, wild and free weeds can definitely be used as garden mulch!

The trick is to harvest the weeds before they have set seed.

Harvest the weeds before they have set seed
Mulch Ideas from Weeds and Wild Plants

Here are some wild and free weeds that you could use:
  • Grass from yard clippings or mower
  • Tall grass (see pic above)
  • Dandelion greens (make sure there’s no flowers going to seed!)
  • Large burdock leaves
  • Deciduous tree leaves (add them in the fall)
Using Weeds As Free Garden Mulch
If you are mulching paths you will need large bark or straw mulches. Mulching in between rows of growing vegetables is equally important in helping to reduce weeding time.

You will need to keep applying more throughout the summer as the weeds decompose fast.

But luckily weeds also grow fast so just keep on picking and adding them to your garden! If you have a large lawn use the lawn bag full of grass clippings in-between the rows every time you mow.

Will this work for every garden?

Of course if your garden is huge and you do wish to mulch to save you the weeding time and aiding in water retention then you’ll need to look into investing into bales of straw or do the garden of Eden wood mulch, but for a small frugal garden using weeds as mulch is perfect!

Have you used weeds as garden mulch?

Use Grass Clippings = Free Mulch

15 thoughts on “Grass Clippings & Weeds as Garden Mulch”

  1. I never thought of weeds as mulch, I guess I assumed it would make MORE weeds lol…I’m a newbie at gardening and learning a lot right now for my upcoming container garden. I’m guessing I don’t really need to mulch my containers though?

    • Containers need to be watered more than garden beds during the summer and mulching retains water so it definitely helps! You can use weeds so long as they HAVEN’T gone to seed, that’s the only time they will make more weeds 🙂

    • I have started mulching containers as well. It doesn’t take much and it helps decrease moisture evaporation, prevent weed seeds from germinating, minimizes splashing when watering, and just looks nice! I also use whatever I can get to mulch my plants. I’m a big fan of cut grass, including weeds. I’m also going to use shredded paper this year as well.

  2. I used to dig up weeds and lay them along my garden paths to kill off the weeds below (it cut off their light). I’ve considered using mulch this year but was going to buy something to use like plastic or bark however, weeds are a source of nutrients (they’ve taken it from my soil after all) and reading this gives me the confidence to give it a try properly.

    Ta! James

    • Weeds are definitely a source of nutrients 🙂 The deep roots from dandelions & burdock especially pull a lot from the earth.
      Happy gardening James, thanks for commenting!

  3. I’ve used weeds for mulch for the last 15+ years and the concerns that somehow this will increase weeds in the garden (from seeds in the mulch) are just unfounded. Yes a certain small amount of weeds will show up from last year’s mulch but adding a fresh layer of mulch/weed/cuttings on top of the seedlings suppresses these. Almost nothing makes it through. Continuous and heaving mulching with any soft organic matter had made a radical difference in the quality of my garden soil and health of my plants. All my neighbors know to leave me their grass clippings, weed cullings, leaves, what ever. I now return any organic matter to the soil with soft material used as a top mulch and heavier twigs/shrub/branch/wood dug in around the edges as an improvised “hugelkultur” border. The only things I don’t keep are the thorny plants. I make sure that plants that easily root are left at the top of the mulch to thoroughly dry out before they get to soil level.

  4. Hi. Hope you are well. I am new to gardening, I have 3 garden beds with many things growing. I did notice the soil does get a bit dry during summer.So I basically cut the grass and add it inbetween my plants to cover the soil?

    • Yes! You can place it around your crops green and it won’t take long to go yellow and then decompose. You can add grass clippings all summer so long as they haven’t gone to seed.

  5. I’ve done this for years. I have a large backyard sloop with lots of crab grass. When I pull the crabgrass out I just throw them behind me making sure the roots are on top and exposed to the sun. Usually the pulled weeds remain where they are tossed. Although I might spread them out some. It also cuts down on my yard work as I don’t go around collecting the tossed weeds to toss them elsewhere. They turn to straw within a short period of time on hot summer days.

  6. Curious about this. I have very tall weeds which I cut down and basically poisoned to stop from coming back. When I say tall I’m talking about 6-10 feet. They’re all dried out now and my city doesn’t offer a great lawn refuse pickup without paying. Can I toss these in a mulcher and use them and how do I find out if they have seeded yet? A lot of articles out there and I’m confused.

    • If you poisoned them they won’t make good mulch for your garden. Depending on the poison used some of it is residual for years. If they had flower or seed heads you would likely have noticed. Apart from chemically killed plants, any organic matter can be mulch. The smaller the particles the faster they decompose.


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