Each year, coffee drinkers send 6 million tons of spent coffee grounds to landfills around the country. Most of us are looking for more efficient ways to dispose of kitchen waste to advance sustainable gardening initiatives. Many gardeners swear by coffee ground fertilizer, but are coffee grounds good for grass, and what’s the best way to use coffee grounds on the lawn?
Incorporating coffee grounds into your lawn’s lifecycle is straightforward and, by most accounts, incredibly beneficial. There are some myths about the acidity of coffee and only using coffee grounds for acid loving plants. While it’s true that healthy grass prefers slightly acidic soil and thrives with soil pH somewhere in the range of 6.5 to 7.0, most of coffee’s acidity comes off in your morning cup of java.
A bit of fresh ground coffee won’t transform neutral soil into highly acidic soil, and studies have shown that coffee grinds have a fairly neutral pH after use. Still, recycling old coffee grounds is a great way to use excess organic matter, especially if you love your morning cup. Let’s get on to the eco-friendly fertilizer tips!
Use Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer for Grass
Discover how a simple coffee bean could benefit your lawn as much as traditional peat moss amendments. Learn a bit about compost material, soil health, and how to apply coffee grounds to the lawn for soft, green grass all season long. Make this the year you step into recycled coffee ground fertilizer strategies and organic home garden solutions.
Why are Coffee Grounds Good for Grass?
Coffee grounds are organic matter, and adding organic matter to your lawn or garden soil improves aeration, water retention, soil structure, and drainage consistency. Sprinkling the grounds over your grass is also one of the ways to get rid of weeds without killing grass around it, too.
Coffee grounds encourage beneficial microorganisms and worms to grow. Garden worms are great for your soil quality because they help with nutrient cycling and aerating the soil by moving through it. Be warned grubs like coffee grounds too, so keep an eye out for these unwanted larvae.
Using coffee grounds as fertilizer for grass gives your lawn a nice nitrogen boost. There’s approximately 10 percent nitrogen per pound of coffee grounds, plus trace amounts of phosphorus and other beneficial minerals.
Nitrogen fertilizer stimulates vigorous top growth, which is why many synthetic lawn fertilizers have such a high nitrogen number. Are coffee grounds good for grass? Absolutely.
Where to Find Coffee Grounds in Bulk
Saving old coffee grounds as fertilizer for grass is a fantastic way to bolster the growth of your lawn and home garden. What happens if you have a lot of lawn to cover or want to use the grounds for the best non-invasive ornamental grasses you have? It might take months to accumulate enough coffee grounds to fertilize the average yard.
It’s possible to put the word out to friends and family to save their coffee grounds; however, there are easier ways to amass enough coffee grinds to tackle the lawn.
We recommend asking your local coffee shop for spent grounds. They’re almost always delighted to give the coffee grounds away to someone who intends to keep them out of the landfill. In fact, Starbucks started its Grounds for Your Garden program in 1995.
While it is technically possible to grow your own coffee beans, they are challenging to grow successfully. The average coffee plant takes about three years to reach maturity, and you’ll suffer many bad cups of coffee to rack up your ground count.
When to Use Coffee Grounds on the Lawn
Most homes in North America have either warm-season grasses or cool-season grasses. Cool-season grass has adapted to survive during massive temperature fluctuations but grows best in climates with regular temperatures of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool-season grass is usually found in the top two-thirds of the US and includes varieties like perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fine fescue.
Warm-season grass comes from the planet’s tropical regions, which means they’re particularly well suited to the extreme heat of the Southern US. Warm-season grass thrives in consistent temperatures of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm-season grass goes dormant and turns brown over the winter, and greens back up in warm weather. Popular warm-season grass varieties include zoysia grass, St. Augustine grass, and Bermuda grass.
Each lawn is unique. However, using coffee grounds as fertilizer for grass is well tolerated across all varieties. Coffee grounds are a slow-release fertilizer and provide longer-lasting benefits than quick-release synthetic fertilizer. As a bonus, you can use coffee grounds to keep cats away or sprinkle coffee grounds to get rid of moles as neither species likes the smell.
For best results, fertilize your warm-season grass varieties in early spring, and fertilize your cool-season grass at the end of summer or the start of fall for best growth and nutrient cycling.
What is Compost?
Composting involves breaking down organic material into tinier, absorbable nutrients used by your lawn and home garden to encourage vigorous plant growth. There are many amazing ways to compost, such as traditional hot composting, which means using the natural heat outdoors to speed up the decomposition process and break down organic matter into usable nutrients.
Cold composting, also called passive composting, is simply piling yard waste in an open container and allowing nature to take its course. This method is much slower than hot composting; however, it’s very no-fuss for busy gardeners.
Compost tumblers solve the problem of the need for regular aeration in hot compost, and worm composting involves layering worms, bedding material, and kitchen scraps to produce a steady supply of worm casting fertilizers.
If the idea of a large compost heap doesn’t appeal to you, try convenient countertop compost bins. These little bins are a fantastic way to recycle vegetable scraps, fresh coffee grounds, and organic material into a healthy mulch or soil additive.
How to Compost Coffee Grounds
The most nutritious and delicious compost contains green compost material and brown compost material from regular yard and household waste. Green material includes nitrogen-rich additives like fresh grass clippings, coffee grounds, and food waste.
Brown compost includes carbon-rich materials like dry leaves, wood clippings, shredded paper, or sawdust. The best compost pile includes a balanced ratio of healthy nitrogen and carbon-based additives.
When adding green material like coffee grounds to an already thriving compost heap, balancing it with an equal addition of brown materials such as shredded paper or dry leaves is essential. For every pound of coffee grounds, add one pound of carbon-rich brown compost material.
It’s probably OK to throw some spent coffee grounds in without adding anything else, but heaping coffee into your compost bin without sufficient brown material may compromise the quality of your compost.
How to Make a DIY Compost Bin
Are coffee grounds good for grass? They certainly are; however, composting them into a nutrient-rich additive provides even more benefits for your lawn by introducing microorganisms and micronutrients that develop during decomposition.
Discover how to make a practical compost bin for composting coffee grounds; it’s super-easy, inexpensive, and satisfying once you start getting a healthy turnover of DIY fertilizer.
Get a 3-gallon rubber tub from any hardware store or big-box store in your area, and make sure it has a secure lid. Airflow is essential for excellent compost. To achieve the best airflow in your compost system, drill about ten dime-sized holes over the lid.
Add the dry leaves, the fresh grass clippings, and the coffee grinds, and pop the top on. Compost takes about six weeks to develop into absorbable nutrition and needs stirring and turning every few days.
Once your compost is ready for use, there’s almost no limit to its applications within your yard and home garden. Add an inch of healthy home compost to potted plant soil as a seedling starter, or use your compost as an excellent mulch to add soil structure to established plants and vegetables.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your DIY compost so you can hone in on the methods that work for you and your yard.
How to Apply Coffee Grounds to the Lawn
There are many effective ways to compost and use coffee grounds for lawns, but what if composting coffee grounds isn’t your thing? That’s alright because coffee grounds work pretty well when spread across the grass without special treatment.
In terms of the best methods for how to apply coffee grounds to the lawn, punch a few holes in a plastic bucket to make a DIY spreader or spread the coffee grounds by hand.
Let the coffee grounds dry out a bit in the sun before application; clumpy, wet coffee grounds are tough to work with, and it’s challenging to ensure an even application. Once your coffee grounds are dry, the application is as simple as shaking them over the lawn.
An inch of coffee grounds is sufficient, as you don’t want to smother the grass. After sprinkling your coffee grinds, lightly rake the lawn to distribute the organic material evenly, and water the soil or wait for the next rain.
Coffee grounds need to decompose to release their stored nitrogen into the surrounding environment, and the results of a slow-release fertilizer application might not be immediately measurable. Keep an eye out for those green blades of grass roaring up to the soil surface over time.
Every new garden skill gained starts as a seed of curiosity. We hope you enjoyed learning about organic compost and composting coffee grounds to use as lawn fertilizer.
The more you experiment in your yard and home garden with organic fertilizer solutions, the less you’ll rely on synthetic fertilizer to bridge the gap between your plant’s requirements and your soil’s nutrients, which is always a good thing.
Sustainability in agriculture and food production is a widely discussed topic and will be for the foreseeable future. Home gardeners can only benefit from having a diverse range of knowledge and options to employ when looking to stimulate healthy lawn and plant growth without chemical fertilizers.
Now you have a great handle on coffee composting basics and eco-friendly lawn care solutions.
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