Chelsea Burns, Content Editor
May 10, 2023
Similarly to Plastic-Free July or Second Hand September, No Mow May is an environmental movement to raise awareness around the importance of pollinators and native plants by promoting no (or less) mowing of your lawn during the month of May.
Lawns take up about 2% of land in the U.S. (that’s around 40 million acres), they take up many resources and yet they’re mostly useless (grass lawns particularly) for wildlife—they’re even harmful when people use pesticides and chemicals to treat them.
The concept behind No Mow May is rooted in the understanding that many common lawn plants, such as dandelions and clover, provide important food sources for pollinators. By allowing these plants to grow and flower without interruption, homeowners can create habitats and foraging opportunities for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
Why May? During May, many wildflowers and native plants are in bloom, and they offer nectar and pollen sources for pollinators. By abstaining from mowing, these plants can flourish and provide a valuable food supply for bees, which are essential for pollinating crops and maintaining ecosystems.
Benefits of Mowing Less Year ‘Round
- Save water while increasing drought tolerance: Taller grass tends to have deeper roots and less water evaporates from the soil.
- Reduce air and noise pollution from gas-powered lawn equipment
- Better conditions for other invertebrates like lacewings and fireflies (they prefer longer grass)
Homeowners Association Holding You Back?
No Mow May is primarily focused on encouraging homeowners to skip mowing their lawns for the entire month, but it can also be adapted to suit individual circumstances. Some people may choose to mow certain areas for safety reasons or to maintain specific features, while still allowing other parts of their lawns to grow wild. You could also try it out in your backyard instead of the front yard.
Because we know that some neighborhoods and neighbors may not understand wanting to let your lawn grow, here are some tips for keeping your neighbors happy while still doing your part for the planet:
- Keep sidewalks and pathways clear
- Maintain a tidy yard (no trash, please!)
- Put up a “No Mow May” sign to help educate passersby
Even if you can’t participate in No Mow May, planting more flowers in your garden beds also helps pollinators. More flowers are always a good idea!