I'm at the earliest stages of toying with planting a food forest or reforesting part of my property (in rural Auckland - Zone 9a I think). The ground is mainly unmaintained grass and weeds sitting on clay soil - luckily on ground that is not overly steep.

My goals are to offset some of my carbon footprint and hopefully grow stuff I can eat - but this needs to be low maintenance. Importantly, once established I never want to need to take my lawn mower or weed wacker into the area.

I also have a large grass lawn (which I will retain as its between my property and a pond) which generates a lot of grass clippings. Possibly because I don't mow the lawn often enough, but there is way to much to mulch back into the soil.


Can I use these grass clippings as a kind of weed-mat (mulch? I'm not sure I fully understand that term) for the area I am planning to start reforesting? If so, is it just a matter of dumping the clippings and spreading them over the area? Can I make these as thick as I can, assuming that I will not be planting anything from seeds? (ie I will grow/buy seedlings/saplings or, in the unlikely event I do grow from seed I will build raised beds on top)

How do I prepare the ground (I have some time). Can I just mow the area and apply multiple layers of grass clippings to it)? Would it be beneficial to first spray the area with Glyphosate? (I don't use a lot of the stuff, but I am not adverse to using it and I've satisfied myself that its environmental impact is not that great)

  • If you're on any kind of slope, I recommend NOT killing the existing plants - doing so risks causing land "slumps" (as they were known in my part of the US) after a heavy rain. You need the roots of those plants to hold the soil in place on your slope. – Jurp Apr 4 at 0:53
  • @jurp luckily the ground is fairly flat here. – davidgo Apr 4 at 4:06

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