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Are Coffee Grounds Good for Grass? Pros & Cons

shovel with coffee grounds to fertilize the lawn

More and more people are becoming fans of coffee. Waking up each morning to brew yourself a cup of joe, then taking that first, warm sip, is needed by some of us to help start the day off on the right foot. After you’ve enjoyed a few cups, and helped provide your mind with a bit of alertness, you may begin to think about what you can do with your used coffee grounds that are just waiting inside your maker to be thrown in the trash.

Coffee lovers who love gardening and yard work have most likely heard people talk about or read articles concerning the uses of coffee grounds outside. Placing them in a compost pile, sprinkling them on plants, or even using them as a fertilizer for grass is a hot topic of discussion for coffee enthusiasts with a green thumb. But are coffee grounds really good for your grass? The answer to that question is yes, but like with so many things in life, only in moderation. Let’s learn more about your used coffee grounds and what the pros and cons are of using them on your grass.

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What’s So Special About Coffee Grounds?

While most of us who enjoy coffee keep ourselves informed of the health benefits it provides, there are quite a few good things left behind in our brewed grounds we aren’t aware of. Did you know coffee grounds are full of trace materials like phosphorus, nitrogen, copper, and magnesium? These nutrients are there, in the grounds most of us toss into the trash each morning when we clean our coffee pots after use.

Those same materials are great for your lawn due to how they are released. Instead of being released into your turf quickly like some fertilizers, the nutrients in coffee grounds break down slowly, allowing them more time to absorb into your lawn and benefit your grass.

used coffee grounds from coffee machine
Image Credit: RasaBasa, Shutterstock

The Pros of Coffee Grounds on Your Grass

Now that you know about the hidden nutrients in your coffee grounds, let us take a look at a few benefits your lawn will experience if you decide to use your leftovers on your grass.

Coffee Grounds and Worms

Using your coffee grounds on your lawn can also help with the biological activity taking place that you aren’t even aware is going on. Outside, in your soil, are earthworms. Now, don’t freak out about the idea of worms wiggling around in your yard’s soil. Earthworms are good for your lawn. They don’t eat your grass. Instead, they eat the soil and then leave their castings behind. These castings then aerate the soil and aid in breaking down the nutrients needed for a healthy lawn.

When you use coffee grounds on your lawn, the earthworms help get the nutrients inside to not only your grass but the soil below. As they eat the soil, they also spread the potential clumps of used coffee grounds. This allows your grass to get proper moisture if you’ve accidentally used grounds and allows them to clump in one area.

Coffee Grounds Can Kill Weeds

I know, it sounds a bit strange to suggest used coffee grounds are safe for your lawn and then say they’ll kill weeds, but it’s true. The trick when killing weeds with your coffee grounds is the amount you use. When coffee grounds are used to fertilize your lawn, you sprinkle them around and try to avoid clumps that can block moisture. When using them to kill weeds, that clumping is exactly what you want. By clumping coffee grounds around unwanted weeds, the moisture needed to keep them alive can’t reach the roots, thus slowly killing the weed in your yard or garden.

coffee grounds for compost
Image Credit: jokevanderleij8, Pixabay

Fewer Unwanted Animals and Insects

While the earthworms are great for your lawn, other insects aren’t very beneficial. The caffeine in coffee is great at repelling unwanted slugs and snails. Some people even take things a step further and use coffee grounds on their lawn when they are planning an outdoor function or fun outside activities. The aroma is too much for some critters and allows the family a chance at pest-free fun.

Coffee grounds may also help keep the neighborhood cats from using your lawn as their personal litter box. The last thing you want to find when you step out on your grass is a gift from kitties who aren’t even yours. By using used coffee grounds as a border around your lawn you can deter this kind of activity. Cats and a few other animals aren’t fans of the smell and will avoid the area if possible.

Kills Fungus

No matter how hard you work to keep your lawn looking beautiful, fungi can attack. This can leave your grass looking yellow and unsightly. Used coffee grounds can help with this too. By taking your grounds outside, sprinkling them where the fungus is an issue, and raking them into the soil, you can combat this problem without needing to reach out to professionals for assistance.

The Cons of Using Coffee Grounds on Your Grass

You can’t look at the positives of coffee grounds on your lawn without knowing the negative side of things. Let’s take a look at a few of the dangers related to coffee grounds on your grass.

woman holding a box of used coffee ground to use as compost in her garden
Image Credit: DGLimages, Shutterstock

Coffee Grounds Can Dry Out Your Grass

Do you remember when we said using coffee grounds on your grass is good if done in moderation? This is where that comes into play. Tons of coffee grounds tossed around your lawn can cause clamping. Clamping is when a layer block is created on top of your soil by the coffee grounds. The grounds then absorb all the moisture trying to get to your soil and cause your grass to turn color.

If you want to get the benefits of coffee grounds on your grass but avoid this issue, moderation is the key. Don’t go outside and sprinkle coffee grounds onto your lawn daily. Instead, consider making yourself a compost pile.

Compost is organic materials around your home like food waste that can be broken down and used to help your soil. Coffee grounds are an excellent addition to a compost pile. You can even avoid the compost pile every few weeks so you can step outside to sprinkle the grounds for added nutrients for your grass. Just make sure to spread evenly so clamping doesn’t take place.

Coffee Grounds and pH Levels

Coffee is quite acidic which can change the pH levels of your soil if used too often. This is one of the reasons many people use composting instead of direct application of used grounds. It is also why tossing fresh coffee grounds onto your soil is so bad. The pH level inside your coffee can be too much for your grass. Only use used, brewed coffee grounds on your lawn, and avoid using them all the time as they can raise your pH levels too much.

coffee grounds compost
Image Credit: Neslihan Gunaydin, Unsplash

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Final Thoughts on Coffee Grounds & Your Grass

As you can clearly see, there are both pros and cons to using coffee grounds on your grass. If you want to keep your grass looking healthy, while finding a good use for your spent grounds, work in moderation. Too many grounds can have adverse effects on your grass but if you compost, or use sparingly, your lawn can benefit from the many nutrients left behind after you enjoy a nice pot of coffee each morning.

Featured Image Credit: Janet Worg, Shutterstock


Melissa Gunter

Melissa has been a fan of coffee since the first sip she stole from her Granny's cup when she was just a girl. Now, she spends each morning writing with a hot cup of coffee at her side. With a love of sweet and creamy bliss, Melissa and her daughter, Amber, stop by and try out every local coffee shop they see. Neither are afraid to try something new and have a long list of favorite coffee beverages they simply can't do without. When she's not freelance writing about her 2 passions, coffee, and pets, Melissa spends her time with her husband, 2 kids, and 5 fur babies. She also loves diving into the fiction world under her pen name, Rena Marin. If she isn't at the laptop or with the family, Melissa is out enjoying the mountains of East Tennessee she calls home.

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