Should we leave the grass clippings on the lawn or remove them? What's the downside of leaving them?
Generally speaking, leave them. The reason is the clippings are full of minerals. If you take off the clippings you also have to fertilize.
As tmbridgeland correctly states, leaving grass clippings will return vital nutrients back to the lawn, thus reducing the need for fertilizer.
The down side to leaving grass clippings is they can add to the build up of thatch in the lawn, however there are some who dispute this.
Another downside is weeds such as speedwell can spread if they are not boxed off.
I have a mulching mower that does a good job of converting the clippings into tiny pieces, but it still leaves some clippings behind. I usually leave them and let nature's cycle of decomposition take over.
The one downside I can think of is that if the grass was too high and there are too many clippings in one area, it seems to smother the rest of the grass if you leave the clippings. In that case, you may want to spread out the clippings over a larger area.
If it looks like I have nothing but piles of clippings scattered in random spots across the lawn, I do rake them. That is usually if I let it get too high before I mow.
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