What is “No Mow May?”

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What is “No Mow May?”

As the weather gets warmer and our lawns grow longer, many of us are gearing up to spend more time maintaining our yards. While you may be eager to get out and give your lawn a long-awaited trim, someproperty owners are choosing to hold off for just a little while longer.

Plantlife’s No Mow May campaign, launched in 2019, is an initiative designed to benefit plants and pollinators alike. Before joining the trend, though, it’s important to recognize the decision to pause your landscape maintenance may have negative consequences down the road.

What is No Mow May?

Did you know that lawns make up 2% of land in the United States? That’s roughly 40 million acres. While a crisp, clean, well-maintained lawn has historically been the prototype for American landscapes, curb appeal doesn’t typically offer many benefits to wildlife.

Due to habitat loss, the use of pesticides and insecticides, and an overall reduction in biodiversity, wildflowers and pollinating insects have been in steady decline for decades now.

The idea behind No Mow May is that by allowing your lawn to grow freely—no mowing, watering, or fertilizing—for the month of May, you’re encouraging a healthy habitat for bees and other pollinators. The campaign reinforces the concept that by doing less for your lawn, you are helping the environment.

Benefits of No Mow May

The stated benefits of the No Mow May initiative include:

  1. It’s easy.

    Skipping your lawn chores for a while isn’t exactly a difficult task. While those plants grow freely, they’ll also be doing their fair share of work for the environment. In fact, just eight dandelions can produce enough nectar to meet an adult bumblebee’s energy requirements. (Plus, dandelion root systems are great for naturally aerating and fertilizing your soil.)

  1. It diversifies your garden.

    Last year, gardeners participating in “No Mow May” recorded 250 wild plant species. By choosing not to mow, rare plants may take root, including wild strawberries, wild garlic, and more.

  1. It gives the bees a boost.

    According to the 2019 results, the average lawn produced 12 grams of nectar each day—enough to support 1,088 honeybees. When combined, all of the lawns produced enough nectar to support 2.1 million honeybees every day!

  1. It’s good for the environment.

    By giving your lawnmower a break, you’ll help reduce air pollution. Your yard will naturally attract helpful pollinators as a result of the decision to forgo fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. Of course, by holding off on irrigation, you’ll also save water.

  1. There’s room for curb appeal.

    You may think of “No Mow May” as a month of sacrificing your lawn for the greater good, but that doesn’t mean “unmowed” has to mean “untidy.” Trimming edges and the longer areas can make the decision look strategic rather than neglectful.

You can also set up a sign explaining what you’re doing to raise awareness (and possibly encourage some neighbors to do the same).

Turf Health Considerations

While it’s exciting to think about playing an active role in helping the environment, there are a few things to consider before putting your lawnmower back in the shed.

For those with fertilized lawns, we advise against participating in No Mow May.  This is because you should really only be removing about one-third of growth each time you mow your lawn. With that in mind, letting your grass grow for an entire month and then giving it a drastic cut can be incredibly stressful for the turf.

Additionally, some community landscaping policies may not allow for No Mow May’s unruly lawns.

Fortunately, there are still a few workarounds for making your space more pollinator friendly. For example:

Are you interested in growing a lawn that’s both aesthetically appealing and environmentally friendly? Our expert landscapers can help. Visit https://garrettchurchill.com/landscape-maintenance/ to learn more about our lawn maintenance services including annual planting, spring and fall clean-ups, tree care, and turf care.