No Mow May

Gardeners around the country are accepting the challenge of NOT MOWING all or a portion of their lawns for the month of May. The movement began in the United Kingdom, but is being embraced by gardeners in the United States and around the world.

What happens when you let your lawn grow? Non-grass plants in your lawn such as clover, violet, and dandelion have a chance to flower, providing early season food for bees and other pollinators emerging from winter hibernation. Researchers in Appleton Wisconsin, which embraced No Mow May as a city, found three times the number of bee species and five times the number of bees in participating yards as in regularly mown nearby parks. Read a NY Times article about it here.

You don’t have to No Mow your entire yard; just try a patch. Maybe an area in the back yard rather than the front, or just a portion where the kids don’t play. Try a patch with “weeds” that might flower, rather than a section that’s uniformly turf grass. Look on it as an experiment; it might inspire you to do more next year or to think about ditching that part of your lawn in favor of native groundcovers or a perennial meadow.

And if you do, tell us about your participation by filling out our Google form. We will add your yard to a map showing yards in Lexington that are participating. Take a look at our map of homes participating so far!

Take the opportunity also to educate friends and neighbors about pollinator health! We encourage you to put up a sign to pique the curiosity of passers-by and to communicate to neighbors that you are not just being lazy, but engaging in a month of purposeful inaction. You can download the printable sign above from Xerces Society here.

Learn more about No Mow May here. For additional bee-friendly advice, including native lawn alternatives, click here. Also, see our April newsletter with links to other sources of information and advice.

When you do start mowing again, return your lawn to its regular condition gradually. Lawn experts recommend that you not remove more than a third of the grass blade at once, if possible. Set your mower to its highest setting, and then gradually lower the blade height over several weeks.

If you have ticks in your yard, you may be concerned that high grass will make it easier for ticks to find you and other family members. If so, there are several things you can do. For No Mow May, choose an area that isn’t regularly played in by your family. The Cooperative Extension Service on Cape Cod (an area with a lot of ticks) has a great website with lots of good advice.

Good luck and have fun with No Mow May! Afterwards tell us about your experience at