Can You Burn Grass Clippings?

grass clippings

Generally, lawn owners burn excessive grass clippings after mowing and regular maintenance. Without a doubt, it is a convenient option especially if you have tons of grass clippings to dispose of. While some lawn owners burn clippings without hesitation, others care about proper disposable practices.

Besides its impact on the environment and neighbors, many lawn care enthusiasts care about the legal aspect of burning grass clippings. Before you opt for this fiery adventure, know that there are multiple greener alternatives. Without further ado, let’s discuss the ins and outs of burning clippings.

Should You Burn Grass Clippings?

Well, there is no black and white answer, you can burn grass clippings if it is permitted by the local laws. Moreover, the lawn owner must follow all the rules and regulations when burning cuttings. Besides the legal aspects, it has multiple potential drawbacks.

Burning grass clippings is a quick and convenient solution, however, it is not the best option for the environment and your neighbors. Further, this disposal method can release harmful pollutants into the air which, in turn, contributes to air pollution and unpleasant smells. The smoke and odor created by burning grass clippings may also bother your neighbors.

In addition to raising air quality concerns, it is a fire hazard. On dry and windy days, there is a risk of fire spreading to nearby areas. On the whole, burning yard waste is not without risk and it is better to stick with greener alternatives.

Is it Illegal to Burn Grass Clippings?

Well, it entirely depends on the local laws, so you need to check with the relevant authorities or fire department about rulings on burning yard waste. Usually, it is permitted to burn yard waste, each state has its own rules regarding burning waste. Some places have strict laws or even bans on burning grass clippings openly.

Generally, countries that get very dry during the warm seasons have strict rules regarding burning grass clippings and old household items. It is best to contact relevant authorities and inquire about the local laws before burning any trash.

How to Burn Grass Clippings Safely?

If you’re determined to dispose of grass clippings by burning them, make sure to do it safely. First off, check local regulations to confirm if there are any restrictions or bans regarding open burning. If not, follow the following steps to burn grass cuttings safely.

  • Pick the Right Place – It is important to pick the right location to avoid any out-of-control situation. Igniting fire near a structure, trees, or dry vegetation increases the risk of fire spreading uncontrollably. As per experts, it is better to burn waste in a fire pit about 50 feet away from any structure.
  • Prep the Area – Next up, prep the area where you intend to burn any clippings. To prepare the burn site, remove twigs, leaves, and any flammable material. Create a firebreak by digging a shallow trench around the area to be on the safe side.
  • Create a Pile of Clippings – Now, gather all the clippings spread across the lawn and create a pile in the selected area. Make sure to keep the pile manageable and small, alternatively, create multiple piles at the burn area.
  • Have Water Nearby – Most people may think that the next step would be igniting the fire, well, it’s not. Make sure to have a bucket of water or a hose ready nearby. It is critical to control the spread of fire if the situation gets out of hand.
  • Ignite the Fire – Now that you have taken all the precautionary measures, use a lighter or matches to ignite the fire carefully. It is advised not to use gasoline or any other accelerants that may make the fire uncontrollable.
  • Monitor the Fire – Just because most of the work is done, it does not mean you can divert your attention to other tasks. Do not leave it unattended and be alert to make sure the fire does not spread.
  • Extinguish the Fire – Once all the grass clippings are burned, extinguish the fire completely before leaving the burn site.

Greener Alternatives to Burning Grass Clippings

Instead of setting grass clippings ablaze, here are some eco-friendly alternatives to dispose of grass clippings

  • Composting – It is the best way to dispose of cuttings and return the nutrients to the lawn. Nutrient-dense compost made from grass clippings will result in a greener, healthier lawn.
  • Yard Waste Collection – If you do not have time to deal with grass clippings, hire people to do so. The waste collection company will do the heavy-duty job while you get a clean lawn.
  • Mulching – Another greener alternative is mulching, simply mulch grass with mulching blade around plants. It will help in adding nutrients to the soil as well as suppressing weeds.
  • Donating – Some farmers and local animal shelters happily accept grass clippings as feed for the livestock and other animals.


To sum up, burning grass clippings is simple and convenient, choosing a greener alternative would be a better option. This way, you would be taking care of your lawn while also protecting the planet.

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