It’s no secret that we have been organic for decades–since 1996 when I first researched why there were so few butterflies on my property and discovered that they were sensitive to pesticides.
Oh simple, I thought. We’ll just use no pesticides. And it’s worked out pretty well, with a few notable exceptions that shall be best left for other stories.
I have posted several times before about something I have called the “Freedom Lawn,” (not my term by the way) which isn’t a political stance, but a lawn that doesn’t use pesticides, herbicide or fungicide (the latter has always struck me as a particularly useless product–but again I digress). For the most part, that’s what we try to maintain, and we do it without any supplemental irrigation as well.
I was amazed, therefore, to read about communities that are going “no-mow.” Basically these communities are deciding that the health of bees is more important than perfect lawns and that for a month–usually May–people who sign up won’t mow their lawns. There are nine Wisconsin communities who participate according to this article from 2021 so there may be more this year.
There are also resources for people who want to participate but may be worried that their lawns may not contain anything of value to the bees, or that they might need to convince skeptical neighbors, towns, or homeowners’ associations of the value of what they are doing.
One thing that we have always tried to maintain is a large clover field for our bees. It’s unobtrusive to anyone walking by and it’s very valuable to the bees. It seems to be used by many different types of bees–and as a secondary bonus, it’s enriching our soil too. It’s not like a wild field of dandelions that someone would perceive as a menace (although in the backyard we do let some of those grow too).
We also have lots of violets which never seem to get too badly out of control–it may be the density of our clay soil. Those are great both for the bees and for the butterflies as well.
Right now all you might see in my yard is dead grass, so that’s why I have no photos with this post. But everything will be awakening soon in my part of the country–and that means that the bees and the butterflies will be right behind it.
How will you take care of your lawn–and its “weeds” this year?