For those who may not yet have heard about it, No-Mow May is an initiative begun a few years ago in Wisconsin, I believe to help pollinators. The idea is simple: people don’t mow their lawn in May so that pollinators have some early blooming wildflowers to get nectar from.
I think it’s been 3 years since the first “No-Mow” and predictably the pushback has started. So I am going to try to provide some common sense ideas so that we can all get along AND help pollinators because that’s the goal.
Now I think we can all agree that while this lawn might be the suburban ideal of the perfect lawn, it does nothing for pollinators.
But let’s take a look at the “no-mow” lawn photo, which interestingly enough, is across the street from this house. I am not sure that they are actually trying for “no-mow;” the house is empty and being renovated so it may just be the result. But it provides a nice discussion point.
What I see in the unmown lawn is really nothing much helping pollinators at this point. The dandelions have gone to seed and there’s really nothing else blooming for them.
This lawn, which is a little further along down the street, is much more diverse. In fact, there’s hardly any grass in the foreground of this photo. There’s a field of chickweed, and in the middle of that, some blue Veronica. Further out are dandelions gone by and I know there’s some henbit too. It’s a really diverse lawn, great for pollinators. And yes, this lawn IS mowed and it doesn’t affect these weeds (with the exception of the dandelion flowers) in any way because they are so low to the ground. So there’s no reason to avoid mowing here.
We have a similar situation with lots of low growing violets, clover and ground ivy. When they flower, the flowers are so low to the ground that mowing has no effect on them. So they are preserved for our pollinators.
I love the idea that we are always thinking about the pollinators and new and creative ways to garden for them. But if you are feeling bad about mowing your lawn, maybe it’s not the worst thing. If I had to choose between mowing the lawn or avoiding pesticides, there’s no choice: always choose to avoid the pesticides. That will help in a far greater way.