From the Director’s Desk: No Mow May/Low Mow Spring!

By Fred Breglia

No Mow May or Low Mow Spring means exact­ly what it sounds like: not mow­ing or low mow­ing your lawn for the month of May with a goal of help­ing ear­ly sea­son pol­li­na­tors. Pol­li­na­tors most pos­i­tive­ly impact­ed by this prac­tice include grasshop­pers, but­ter­flies, moths, and a vari­ety of bees. 

The idea of No Mow May/​Low Mow Spring start­ed in 2019 by Plantlife, a group of cit­i­zen sci­en­tists in the Unit­ed King­dom. As part of a con­ser­va­tion study, the group asked home­own­ers to abstain from mow­ing dur­ing the month of May to allow lawn weeds to grow and bloom, thus help­ing the strug­gling pol­li­na­tor com­mu­ni­ty. The results were pos­i­tive enough that the idea of a No Mow May/​Low Mow Spring has spread and is being prac­ticed wide­ly, espe­cial­ly through­out the mid-west­ern U.S.

Mowed and un-mowed areas for 5K
Accom­mo­dat­ing the 5K, keep­ing the rest unmowed.

At Lan­dis, we have a nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring diverse land­scape across hun­dreds of acres. Most of it is wild and will nev­er be mowed. How­ev­er, we do main­tain some areas that con­tain our plant col­lec­tions and gar­dens in order to make them more acces­si­ble to vis­i­tors. To par­tic­i­pate in No Mow May/​Low Mow Spring, we have reduced the amount of mow­ing in these areas to vis­i­tor paths and trails, while leav­ing larg­er sec­tions of lawn com­plete­ly untouched. We have noticed an increase of flow­er­ing plants in the lawns and fields as well as a cor­re­spond­ing increase in pollinators. 

If it is hard for you to com­mit to a no mow­ing sched­ule for the month of May, there are still ways you can par­tic­i­pate and pro­vide addi­tion­al help to pol­li­na­tors. Leav­ing even a sec­tion of the lawn unmown will help a lot. Incor­po­rat­ing native trees and shrubs also help because these plants will flower and pro­vide need­ed food. Trees such as maples, oaks, catal­pa and bass­wood are great choic­es. In the lawn many of the ear­ly bloom­ing pol­li­na­tor plants such as dan­de­lion, vio­let, thyme, clover and for­get-me-not will have no prob­lem spread­ing out if left unmown.

No Mow May is not for every­one or every region, but if you can par­tic­i­pate, it is a sim­ple, few weeks long event that can make a big dif­fer­ence for our nat­ur­al world.

Summer 2023

Volume 41 , Number 2

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