Baltimore County is asking residents to let the grass grow under their feet.
For the second year, the county is urging those in neighborhoods who bag their grass clippings to cut the grass high and leave the cuttings on their lawns to reduce yard-waste collection.
"We had a very good response to the grass cycling program last year," said Charles M. Reighart, the county's recycling coordinator.
Last year, the county targeted 21,000 households in Towson and Timonium and noted a 20 percent decline in their yard waste, Reighart said. The county spent $14,000 on fliers and advertisements to promote the program, but saved $24,000 in yard-waste collection costs.
This year, the county is targeting 35,000 households in Catonsville and Randallstown, which generated 2,300 tons of yard waste last year. The county is spending $21,000 to get the message to those homeowners, and remind residents in Towson and Timonium who received mailings last year.
By cutting grass so that it is no shorter than 3 inches and leaving clippings on the ground, residents not only help the county save money, but also can fertilize their yards, Reighart said. The key, he said, is to cut grass regularly so that clippings don't clump and kill the grass.
Mark Schlossberg, past president of the Maryland Turf Grass Council, said the county's advice is sound.
"We highly encourage customers to recycle grass clippings. It helps the fertilizer last longer," said Schlossberg, who is president of Pro-Lawn-Plus, a lawn-care company. "It's also being a good citizen not to fill the landfills."
Baltimore County recycles the yard waste it collects into compost, but sending trucks to collect the bagged debris wastes gasoline and contributes to air pollution, county officials said.
One Catonsville resident, who would not give his name, said the literature the county mailed seemed too hysterical to be believable.
Pausing from mowing his front yard on Rollingfield Road, he said he intends to keep bagging his grass. "The reason I like to catch it is so as not to have to clean the sidewalk," he said.
Other Catonsville residents said they are following the county's advice.
"I never rake it," said Claire Blake, who sat in a beautifully manicured lawn, weeding flower beds. "I never understood the theory of it anyway."
Ed Albert, who was mowing his grass on Rollingwood Road, said he leaves clippings in the yard. "It's the best fertilizer for the yard," he said. "I wish everybody would do it."