Image credit:  twomeows / Getty Images

If you’re interested in pollinator-friendly garden practices, you’ve probably heard of “No Mow May.” The campaign encourages homeowners to skip mowing their lawns in May to help native pollinators like bees and butterflies. The idea is that flowers like dandelions in the lawn can provide vital food when other blooms are scarce early in the season. Some cities even promote this movement by reducing city-wide mowing and encouraging residents to participate.

While the intention behind No Mow May is good, experts like Mary Phillips, Head of Native Plant Habitat Strategy at the National Wildlife Federation, caution that it might not be as beneficial as it seems. Phillips notes that unless your lawn is mainly comprised of native wildflowers rather than traditional turfgrass, allowing it to grow untamed does little to help pollinators. The campaign can also have drawbacks such as promoting invasive species, allowing woody seedlings to grow too large, and causing neighborhood complaints about untidy lawns. Additionally, turfgrass lawns inherently provide few benefits to the environment.

However, there are other effective ways to help pollinators and make your yard more wildlife-friendly:

1. Leave the Grass Longer When Mowing: Instead of neglecting mowing entirely, cut your grass to a slightly longer length (three inches or higher). This helps shade the soil, retain water, and discourage weed growth.

2. Reduce Turfgrass Areas: Reduce or eliminate the amount of turfgrass in your lawn. Consider alternatives like mosses, sedges, and groundcovers, which eliminate the need for mowing and chemical additives. If replacing your whole lawn isn’t feasible, try reducing its size by creating new garden beds or seeding patches of wildflowers or clover.

3. Plant Native Species: Prioritize native plants in your yard. Native wildflowers provide essential food for pollinators, while native grasses, shrubs, and trees support the overall ecosystem and provide habitat for local wildlife. Use resources like the National Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Finder to choose species appropriate for your region.

4. Reduce or Eliminate Pesticides: Avoid using commercial pesticides and fertilizers, which can be harmful to pollinators and other wildlife.

By adopting these practices, you can create a more sustainable and pollinator-friendly garden.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Spruce.

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Expert Opinion: No Mow May

Image credit:  twomeows / Getty Images

If you’re interested in pollinator-friendly garden practices, you’ve probably heard of “No Mow May.” The campaign encourages homeowners to skip mowing their lawns in May to help native pollinators like bees and butterflies. The idea is that flowers like dandelions in the lawn can provide vital food when other blooms are scarce early in the season. Some cities even promote this movement by reducing city-wide mowing and encouraging residents to participate.

While the intention behind No Mow May is good, experts like Mary Phillips, Head of Native Plant Habitat Strategy at the National Wildlife Federation, caution that it might not be as beneficial as it seems. Phillips notes that unless your lawn is mainly comprised of native wildflowers rather than traditional turfgrass, allowing it to grow untamed does little to help pollinators. The campaign can also have drawbacks such as promoting invasive species, allowing woody seedlings to grow too large, and causing neighborhood complaints about untidy lawns. Additionally, turfgrass lawns inherently provide few benefits to the environment.

However, there are other effective ways to help pollinators and make your yard more wildlife-friendly:

1. Leave the Grass Longer When Mowing: Instead of neglecting mowing entirely, cut your grass to a slightly longer length (three inches or higher). This helps shade the soil, retain water, and discourage weed growth.

2. Reduce Turfgrass Areas: Reduce or eliminate the amount of turfgrass in your lawn. Consider alternatives like mosses, sedges, and groundcovers, which eliminate the need for mowing and chemical additives. If replacing your whole lawn isn’t feasible, try reducing its size by creating new garden beds or seeding patches of wildflowers or clover.

3. Plant Native Species: Prioritize native plants in your yard. Native wildflowers provide essential food for pollinators, while native grasses, shrubs, and trees support the overall ecosystem and provide habitat for local wildlife. Use resources like the National Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Finder to choose species appropriate for your region.

4. Reduce or Eliminate Pesticides: Avoid using commercial pesticides and fertilizers, which can be harmful to pollinators and other wildlife.

By adopting these practices, you can create a more sustainable and pollinator-friendly garden.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Spruce.