The Great Debate... To Cut or Not to Cut!
As spring settles in and nature begins to wake from its winter slumber, you're likely tempted to grab your lawnmower and get to work. But what if I told you
that letting your grass grow wild and free for the month of May could be the best thing you do for the environment? This is the idea behind "No Mow May," a movement that's gaining popularity across the world. By giving your lawn (and back) a break from mowing, you can create a safe place for pollinators and support the ecosystem in your own backyard.
There are several benefits to participating in "No Mow May" and allowing your lawn to grow wild for the month.
1. Promotes biodiversity and lets the environment thrive!
Bees, birds and many other creatures can find room to thrive in the jungle of your front or back yard.
(Even if not a full jungle.) Dandelions are a great food source for the hives as they begin to explode with brood in the spring.
2. You'll save time and money! Keeping the mower and other yard equipment in the shed saves on gas and maintenance. You can also use the extra time to focus on other tasks or hobbies.
3. Improves soil health! Letting that grass grow longer can help soil health by increasing organic matter and promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms. This can lead to healthier plants and a more resilient lawn overall.
Ok, so with all that good... we should all do it right? Would it surprise you that we don't participate in "No Mow May"?
Well here's why and how we help our pollinators.
While skipping cutting is a great way to give bees and other vital creatures a boost in the early spring, it means we all cut in June. (Or the week before if we get the itch.) We create the environment, just to take it all away unexpectedly. Picture it, you're a full-grown adult forager bee heading back to the hive with every grain of pollen you can hold. It's getting dark, and you know that means the night in the hive. Now you're waiting for an early morning to get back out and finish the job. The problem is, when you awake the next day and set out on that flight, it's gone.
To us, "No Mow May" creates a feast or famine situation for bees. All May, foragers are collecting with abundance, the calendar turns, and nothing, or at least much, much less. Instead, we do something a little different. We cut in sections. Level off the front lawn first, let the side grow. Picture a mullet, business up front but a party in the back. Then rotate the cut section to the sides and back as you can. Once dandelions return in the cut sections, moving to cut the others isn't too bad.
Now of course, we'd like to say you should just grow native plants that supply an abundance of nectar and pollen throughout the season, but we understand, you have BBQs to host, and kids to play soccer with. These areas need to be maintained and kept for events just like this and while many people don't like the sound of what I am about to say, you're a part of the ecosystem too. Stewarding the ground for both you and those around you is a fine balance.
It's not a perfect method, but it is a bit of a compromise that keeps bees fed, and kids playing outdoors. What do you do? Do you keep it for May and cut ever week after? Do you have that jungle oasis that bothers the neighbours? Maybe you cut in a pattern like we do... Share your methods below!