What is a No Mow May and How Does It Help Pollinators in Your Garden?

What is a No Mow May and How Does It Help Pollinators in Your Garden?

Oct 31st 2023

Is it necessary that you immediately go from snow removal to lawn maintenance? Not if you take part in "No Mow May." This new trend originated in the UK and rapidly spread across the United States. Helping the bees is the primary motivation behind No Mow May.

No Mow May

The concept behind No Mow May is to refrain from cutting your grass that month. In the spring, when other flowers are sparse, this allows grass flowers to blossom and provide a food source for hungry native bees that have emerged from hibernation. Lawn flowers have been demonstrated to support a diverse population of bees and pollinators in several studies conducted in various locations in Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Massachusetts.

You could be on the lookout for ways to attract bees to your yard. The loss of habitat is a significant threat to one in four North American bee species. Native bees often go hungry in well-kept lawns. People are urged by No Mow May to realize that things do not have to be this way. These are the most useful hints for having a productive No Mow May.

The Origins of The No Mow May

The environmentalists in the United Kingdom created the No Mow May movement. By not mowing, the grass can create an ideal habitat for beneficial insects. Not cutting your grass will allow weedy plants to flower and be a source of food for bees, butterflies, and other species.

In 2020, when the world was in quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the movement took off. No-mow-May spread like wildfire as people shared their stories on social media. More than 430 locals in Appleton, Wisconsin, took part, and their efforts helped persuade the City Council to suspend their weed ordinance for May. Inspired by the success, the Appleton Bee City committee spread the word and attracted more participants in 2021 and 2022. This is just one step to transforming our lawns and helping pollinators.

How to Get the Most Out of No-Mow May

It may sound crazy to some that you can go an entire month without cutting your grass. You and your neighbors will enjoy the best experience possible with No Mow May if you follow these guidelines.

Spread Awareness

The Xerces Society provides free, downloadable signs that can be printed at home. There's even a kid's version that can be colored in so the whole family can be involved in helping the bees. Invite your neighbors to participate and help them understand the importance of No Mow May.

Follow Local Rules

Grass height is often limited to eight or ten inches by many municipalities and HOAs. If there are regulations regarding grass height, you could be punished for not mowing your lawn. Before committing to No Mow May, it's a good idea to research the grass-height regulations of your neighborhood or community.

Engage The Local Authorities

If you want No Mow May to become a tradition in your neighborhood, contact your city officials or homeowners' association and ask them to adopt No Mow May in your community. Even if your neighborhood doesn't regulate grass height, having the city's stamp of approval could encourage more people to join in.

Lower The Lawn Mower Blades

After a month without being mowed, lawns mowed can look unruly. When it comes time to mow, it's preferable to lower the blades of grass to an appropriate height gradually. Never remove more than one-third of the lush green leafy tissue at a time. Mowing your lawn to the perfect length could take many weekends.

Understand No Mow April or March

The phrase "No Mow May" certainly has a memorable ring. However, "No Mow March" or "No Mow April" early season may make more sense for you, depending on the local climate. The newly emerged spring bees will need nourishment. So, when the flowers in your lawn bloom, don't mow, regardless of the weather.

How Can It Help Pollinators in Your Garden

While May is a great time to do something for pollinators, there are plenty of other opportunities throughout the year.

Bee Lawns Are Good for Pollinators

Raise the height of your lawn mower or reduce the frequency of your mowing's to promote flowering in your lawn. More bees were drawn to lawns that were mowed every two weeks rather than weekly, according to the same study.

A "bee lawn" seed mix, which includes turf grass and low-growing flowers like white clover and spreading thyme, is another choice for reseeding your lawn. Those who find the sight of dandelions or creeping Charlie unappealing may find this alternative more to their liking. If you stop mowing your lawn for a while, you may come to like its new, wild look and wonder why you ever bothered before.

Avoiding Pesticides

Avoid using chemicals that will kill native bees. If you plan on growing flowers for your lawn, it also contributes towards helping create a safe place. For instance, lawn flowers are no match for "weed and feed" solutions as per the weed ordinance. And some grub control chemicals, like neonicotinoid pesticides, contain lethal poisons to bees and pollinators.

Growth Of Native Flowers

If you want to replace your lawn, a great alternative is to replace it with native plants in the flower beds and yard, which can be extremely helpful. These pollinator-friendly plants will wow you with their variety and beauty. The pollinators will never go hungry. Your garden will improve the food supply for bees while offering a beautiful alternative to grass.

Final Takeaway

Lawns are the largest irrigated crop, covering 40 million acres or 2% of the United States' total land area. Mowing, raking, fertilizing, weeding, chemically treating, and watering take time, effort, and money.

Grass-only lawns are often sprayed with pesticides that are harmful to other insects and even people, and they lack floral diversity and nesting sites for native bees. When lawns are allowed to grow wild, biodiversity increases, fewer chemicals are needed, and more time is spent appreciating nature rather than mowing it.

If you want to learn more about how to help pollinators in your garden check out our blogs. Here at DripWorks we offer a wide range of products to help grow and sustain beautiful gardens and to provide native pollinators with the food resources they need.