No Mow May

Our first dandelions have started to blossom so I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a pollinator conservation campaign that I recently learned about. It’s called No Mow May. According to Bee City USANo Mow May is a conservation initiative first popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in the United Kingdom, but which is gaining traction across North America. The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow unmown for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. This is particularly important in urban areas where floral resources are often limited.”  (Click link to learn more.)

Now I’m guessing that there are a whole range of responses to this – from people who would love any excuse to not have to mow the lawn for a whole month and those who will be happy not to spend the money on gas for the lawn mower, to those who would never consider not having the perfectly groomed lawn. Even if you are in the latter group the Bee City article is worth reading. It offers alternative ways to support pollinators such as planting flowering lawns (I love this idea), planting flowering trees and bushes or planting patches of native wildflowers. It also tells of a study done in Massachusetts that found that mowing every other week seemed to be as beneficial, if not more, than mowing every three weeks. That’s good news for those who, like me, think that letting the grass grow for a whole month is a bit too extreme – every other week’s not that bad.

Being a beekeeper, people often mention to me their concern about the decline of bees. However, they often don’t realize that honeybees are not the only pollinators that are in jeopardy. The difference is that honeybees are the pollinator that we humans attempt to manage. It’s not necessary to be a beekeeper to promote the wellbeing of pollinators. Simply creating a pollinator friendly environment will help.

Thanks for reading.

25 thoughts on “No Mow May

      1. Yes, all the apple and cherry tree damage and I have an ornamental tree (Weeping Japanese Lace-leaf Maple) and my tree and everyone else who had one had “freezer burn” – the leaves are burgundy colored and they were discolored with splotches of brown the rest of the season, but I did not lose them like you unfortunately did.

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    1. We let most of our back field (about 3 acres) grow through the summer then mow it in the fall when everything is finished blossoming. There are many different flowering plants including different types of clover, birds foot trefoil, Queen Anne’s lace, daisies, thistle, asters, goldenrod, milkweed and more so once it starts to blossom there are continual blooms until after the first frost.

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  1. I’m going to follow the link. Here I live in an HOA and the grass part belongs to them. BUT. I own about three feet around my house that is MY LAND. I have a sign there that says “Excuse the weeds, I’m feeding the bees!” And the dandelions, thistles (native plant), and wild grass is allowed free reign for most of the summer. This year I also had enough energy and good health to plant pots of flowers, including some native ones, and I have a nice growth of Hollyhocks that will flower next year apparently. The HOA may yell, but I think I’ve got strong lungs to yell right back! πŸ™‚ Fascinating article and thoughts! Thanks!

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    1. Argh. I hate it when I spot a typo after I’ve pressed “post” 😦 It ought to read “And the dandelions, thistles (native plant), and wild grass ARE allowed….”, not “IS allowed.” My bad. 😳

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    2. I like the sign. Our manufactured home community has says were supposed to weed and feed but thankfully they don’t enforce it – in fact they don’t even do the common areas. If they did try to enforce it they would have a fight on their hands, especially since my Parkinson’s is potentially caused by some type of chemicals. Thanks for letting me know you found this valuable.

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  2. Interesting. We have very little that is actually mowable. And it is a chore to do it, so it does get long before its done. I have wildflower seed i will be planting this week. Randy put a deer plot seed on the back hill last year. I saw clover coming up already . Hopefully our pollinators are taken care of .

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  3. You’re so right, Ruth. “Creating a pollinator friendly environment. Plant indigenous plants and trees! πŸπŸŒ»πŸ»πŸ™‚

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia bluerockhorses.com

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  4. The neighbors have a tendency to get kind of growly if we go too long without mowing, but we don”t use any kind of chemicals on our lawn, and we have all kinds of clover and wildflowers that have replaced about half the grass. And of course we have lots of dandelions, and are developing a milkweed patch.

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    1. Not using chemicals is probably the most important thing any of us can do. I love the Dutch clover mixed in with grass because even if you mow it when it is flowering it will flower again.

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  5. Yes, I do my best not to but if grass gets to long I do mow. I do stop for bees and I surely don’t want to rake at my age. Love dandelions in my yard.

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    1. We do selective mowing as well Rebecca. I try to wait until dandelions go to seed before mowing and often leave large patches of clover unmowed. I’ll also alternate areas doing part of it one week and other parts the next. I too brake for bees and try to mow when the sun is going down as there are fewer bees out at that time.

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