Frequently Asked Questions
What is Grasscycling?
Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn while mowing. When you grass cycle with your Friendly Robotics RoboMower®, the clippings stay in the mowing chamber longer, being cut and re-cut several times into very small clippings before falling back to the soil. Once on the ground, they decompose quickly and release valuable nutrients into the soil. This results in a healthier and better-looking lawn, and eliminates the need to collect and remove the clippings.
Why using Grasscycling?
Grasscycling saves time, money, and protects the environment. Mowing time is reduced since the bagging and disposal of clippings is eliminated. Grass clippings add beneficial organic matter to the soil, which provides free fertilizer and produces healthy, green lawns. Grasscycling reduces turf grass fertilizer and water requirements, which can minimize toxic runoff entering storm drains and polluting lakes, creeks, and rivers. Grasscycling also reduces the amount of yard waste disposed in landfills.
Does Grasscycling require special equipment?
You may be able to use your existing mower to grass-cycle, but you will have to mow very frequently comparing to mowers that are specially designed to grass-cycle.
The Friendly Robotics RoboMower® is a dedicated mulching mower that mulches better than a traditional mower thanks to its Triple-Chamber-Mulching system and the 5800-RPM blade speed, double that of a typical gas mower. It was designed specifically for mulching, it has a special blades and a deep cutting deck that allows your grass clippings to be cut several times (up to 8 times) before the grass clippings are returned to the lawn as a natural fertilizer.
Will Grasscycling make my lawn look bad?
No! If a lawn is properly mowed, watered, and fertilized, grasscycling can actually produce a healthier-looking lawn. It is important to cut the lawn frequently to produce small clippings that will fall between the standing blades and decompose quickly. Many golf courses and parks have practiced grasscycling for years.
The key to maintaining a neat appearance is to cut the lawn often enough to produce short, small clippings. Short clippings decompose quickly and will not cover the grass surface. Mow when the grass is dry. This prevents the clippings from clumping and leaving piles on the lawn.
Many homeowners mistakenly cut their lawns once a week, when they have the time during the weekends. Grass should be cut when it needs cutting, rather than mowing on an artificially imposed schedule.
With the Friendly Robotics RoboMower® you can set a weekly program to control the mowing schedule and forget about mowing for the entire season!
The RoboMower® will automatically depart at the day and times scheduled and automatically return to the Charging Station to recharge and get ready for the next scheduled operation.
Does grasscycling cause thatch build-up?
No! Clippings and thatch are simply not connected; research has shown that grass roots are the primary cause of thatch, not grass clippings. Thatch is composed mainly of roots, stems and crowns; it results from the abnormally fast growth of roots and other plant tissues and is caused by improper fertilizing and watering. These plant materials contain large amounts of lignin and decompose slowly. Grass clippings are approximately 80-85 percent water with only small amounts of lignin, and decompose rapidly.
When we stop and think about it, golf courses, sports fields, and parks have been mowing grass for years and recycling with no grass catchers. This done by using "reel" mowers that have seven to nine blades, which are positioned so close together that they result in smaller clipping pieces that can be efficiently returned to the lawn for rapid decomposition.
Thatch, that layer of dead grass roots and runners hovering just above or slightly below the soil surface, is caused by a number of things including poor watering habits, especially shallow watering; improper mowing techniques, especially cutting the grass too short or scalping the lawn; and the frequent use of high nitrogen fertilizers. It is not caused by a build-up of grass clippings.
A small amount of thatch (approximately 1/2 inch) is actually beneficial to a lawn, providing insulation to roots and serving as a mulch to prevent excessive water evaporation and soil compaction.
If a lawn has a thick layer of thatch, a vigorous raking or the use of a mechanical dethatcher will get rid of it. Mild cases of thatch can be controlled by routine aeration. Prevent its return by mowing the lawn to proper height, probably a little higher than usual, by deep soaking the soil each time you water and by switching to slow-release fertilizers.
What benefits do grass clippings provide if returned to the lawn?
Grass clippings returned to the lawn provide up to 25 percent of your lawn's total fertilizer needs. Clippings contain about 4 percent nitrogen, 2 percent potassium and 1 percent phosphorus. While decomposing, they also serve indirectly as a food source for the bacteria in the soil, which are doing many beneficial things (such as decomposing thatch) for a healthy turf environment.
Are mulching mowers any more effective than regular lawn mowers?
Mulching mowers are rotary mowers that cut clippings into smaller pieces and disperse them uniformly back into the lawn for decomposition. Removing only a third of the vertical green growth is very important when using a mulching type of mower. Well-designed mulching mowers distribute clippings more evenly across the lawn surface than regular lawn mowers.
Are sharp lawnmower blades important?
Mowing with a dull blade is like giving your lawn a bad haircut. Rather than cleanly cutting a dull mower blade actually rips or tears grass blades. This not only increases the intensity of the plant injury, but also the ragged edges serve as ideal entry points for various diseases. Dull mowing is especially visible in hot weather when the tip of each grass blade dries out and turns brown. Multiply this by several billion and your lawn may end up looking more like a field of straw rather than a lush green carpet.
When mowing grass that is not wet at the proper height, a sharp blade ensures a clean cut that can seal quickly; which minimizes the potential for disease problems brought on by dull mowing.
With Friendly Robotics RoboMower® use only sharp blades. Replace blades at least once per season, more often if they have been severely dulled. It is recommended to replace all three blades for best performance. Machine sharpening is not recommended, as a good balance cannot be achieved after machine sharpening.
How often should I mow my lawn?
Many homeowners mistakenly cut their lawns once a week, usually during weekends. Grass should be cut when it needs cutting, rather than mowing on an artificially imposed schedule.
Decades of field research and experience have demonstrated that mowing frequency should generally be stepped up to once every five to six days.
Cutting more often means that the grass particles are shorter, and filter down to the soil surface, where they quickly break down and release a surprising amount of nutrients - up to 40 pounds (18 kg) of nitrogen per half-acre (2,000 m²) lot, in addition to providing micronutrients and organic matter which serves as a mulch to conserve soil moisture and modify temperature extremes.
Mowing height should be increased during the hot, dry summer. In most areas the grass will grow more quickly in the spring and fall and require more frequent mowing. The lawn should be mowed frequently so you remove no more than one-third (1/3) of the total plant height.
Mowing regularly and at the proper height improves your lawn. If you allow the grass to grow too long between cuttings, the thick patches of mowed clippings will suffocate your lawn in those areas.
This problem can be minimized by gradually reducing your lawn to its proper height over a period of two or three mowings, rather than scalping it back to that height in one mowing.
Using Friendly Robotics RoboMower® is the best solution to adjust the mowing frequency to the growing of the grass. You can easily set the proper mowing schedule in a weekly program and RoboMower® will automatically mow your lawn.
Does grasscycling spread lawn disease?
No! Improper watering and fertilizing are the primary cause of disease spread. If an accommodating environment for turf-grass disease is present, infestation will occur whether clippings are collected or not. Watering properly, only when needed (one inch of water every five to six days, in early morning) and keeping your mower blade very sharp for clean cutting will help your lawn resist disease.
When and how often should I water my lawn?
Water your lawn early in the morning so water has time to soak into the soil before the heat of the sun causes evaporation. Your lawn needs 1 to 1-1/2" (3-4cm) of water weekly. Sprinklers should be left on long enough to allow water to soak into the ground but not so long to cause runoff. Deep watering allows grass to develop a deep root system, enabling the lawn to resist disease and drought. Over-watering is wasteful and causes your lawn to grow too fast, resulting in more frequent mowing.
Do I have to rake the fallen leaves from my lawn?
Regrettably, too many people waste their precious weekends raking leaves into piles or shattering the quite peace of sunny afternoons with leaf blowers. There is a better solution. Rather than trying to rid your lawn of fallen leaves, you should actually leave them where they are. It is nature’s way to recycle, after all. Certainly no one is raking up and bagging the leaves, which fall in wooded parks and forests. Given a bit of time, all of the leaves are transformed by worms, bacteria, and other organisms into rich humus, which will continue to feed trees, shrubs, and other plants. Your yard is simply an extension of the same natural process. Trees around your property draw nutrients and minerals from the soil, converting those elements into new leaves and branches. By raking up those leaves, you essentially short-circuit the natural cycle by which nutrients are returned to the soil. After a number of years, the soil will lose its fertility. Friendly Robotics RoboMower® has a well-designed mulching deck and blades that rotate in 5800 rounds per minutes enabling to shred whole leaves into very small pieces. The leaves will disappear into a thin layer of tiny particles easily digested by worms and bacteria. The leaves contain all of the nutrients and micronutrients your lawn needs.