Ask Now: What do I do with my grass clippings?

Aug. 5, 2014

Is there a rumor you've heard that you would like to track down? Is there something in the city — like playground equipment or a pothole — that needs to be fixed? Rick Romano answers some of the mysteries of life in Wauwatosa and helps solve everyday problems.

What do I do with my grass clippings?

Issue: A new city resident asked, "Where am I supposed to dispose of my grass clippings? TheWauwatosa web site instructs me to compost them. However, I will not be doing that. I have no idea where to properly dispose of these. Please help."

Status: Options beyond composting are limited. Wauwatosa operations superintendent Mike Kreiter and Nancy Gloe, waste management specialist for the Department of Natural Resources, said the best alternative is mulching.

"Leave them mulched on the grass and blow any other clippings on the grass," Kreiter said. "A mulching lawnmower cuts the crass fine enough into small pieces. The clippings actually are the equivalent of one fertilization a year."

Kreiter also said the city won't pick up clippings that are knowingly left in containers and bags of other yard waste.

"There are those who try to hide it," he said.

For those who don't have a mulching mower, Gloe suggested cutting more often and setting a mower at a high level.

"You should set the mower so that you are cutting only the top third of the grass," she said.

Gloe said that grass clipping rules are different from one community to the next.

"I can't speak for Wauwatosa," she said, "but grass clippings can be smelly and need to be turned over often." She said problems could occur if clippings are transported near a residential area.

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