No Mow May!
The purpose of “No Mow May” is to allow flora to grow to give pollinators such as bees, butterflies and beetles better access to nectar early in the year.
Environmental experts in Canada support the No Mow May movement, calling it high time to support bees and their contemporaries!
No Mow May was created by U.K. conservation charity Plantlife in 2019. The movement has grown to include thousands of lawns in the U.K. in 2021, and the campaign is gaining steam in Canada, as municipalities and environmental groups across the country are asking people to allow their lawns to grow for the month.
The movement is rooted in research. Several studies show that less frequent mowing can be a boon for biodiversity. Findings from the U.K. suggest that allowing plants to flower in May can create enough nectar to support ten times more pollinators. A 2018 study from Massachusetts, meanwhile, found tremendous rise in abundance and diversity of bees in lawns that are mowed every second week instead of every week.
Allowing plants to flower in May to support ten times more pollinators!
Some environmental experts in Canada support the movement as many of the 4,000 different kinds of bees in North America are experiencing population declines. Conserving them is vital to the blooming of various flowers, trees and shrubs and, without bees, we wouldn’t have our greenspaces or many of our foods.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada cautions that the species that proliferate because of No Mow May are mostly dandelions and clovers, which often are not native to Canada, and are not very nutritious to local pollinators. Moreover, longer grass could increase habitat-building for pollinators and other small animals throughout the month, only for those habitats to be destroyed by the first mow. Dandelions are no superfood for bees, but if it’s the only food they have, it’s better than nothing!
At the end of the day, we need to do more than just not mowing – we need to act and plant specific flowers to better service pollinators!
One Way is To Lose Some Lawn!
We know that we have an estimated 40-50 million acres of lawn in North America and that lawns are a biological desert. Birds have fewer places to safely rest during migration and to nest and raise young.
Lawns are horribly environmentally unfriendly too. 80 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns in NA annually and 800 million gallons of gas used annually by lawn mowers. This produces significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases driving climate change.
So consider reversing the typical pattern of small garden beds surrounded by vast expanses of lawn. Larger patches of habitat with lawn pathways will create a rich wildlife habitat and have a better effect on your garden
Research has shown during spring migration 50% of radio-tracked thrushes landed within 55 yards of houses and stayed there all day. Even tiny pieces of nature are important for birds crossing these increasingly fragmented urban and suburban landscapes; so add native plants and provide shelter and nesting areas for birds.
And you can start small by losing just a bit of lawn and nibbling away at it because honestly every bit counts!