No Mow May Evolves
There has been a growing movement in recent years to let the grass grow wild for the month of May in order to provide early season nectar and pollen for pollinators through the dandelions, violets and other wild flowers to grow.
When we encouraged our followers to stop mowing for the month of May last year, many happily kept their mowers in the garage or delayed their lawn service. Some were frustrated because they lived in neighborhoods that are very strict about lawn care. A few residents were issued warnings by the city. Yikes!
The early flowering plants did help feed pollinators, but perhaps the most important result of taking a break from the usual schedule of lawn care was the opportunity to imagine something different. Just how much lawn does a house need? How necessary is a weed-free lawn? What are some attractive alternatives to turf grass in yard?
Considering a change in the way you approach your land and your lawn, is a very good idea from an ecological perspective. Weed-free lawns are deserts for pollinators. Pesticides and herbicides kill insects–and they affect water quality, which is also a concern.
The main point is that No Mow May serves as a starting point for recognizing how lawns can aid the ecosystem in protecting our pollinators and wildlife. Here are some recommendations for transforming your lawn into a nature-friendly habitat:
- Review city regulations and HOA guidelines regarding grass height.
- Reduce the lawn size and establish a habitat for wildlife by planting Michigan's indigenous plants to promote biodiversity.
- Assess the variety of plants and shrubs you have— are they invasive or non-native? Determine what you want to keep or replace.
- Numerous native plant options are available to substitute shrubs that are nearly identical.
- Refrain from using chemicals as no chemical is entirely safe. If necessary, use targeted techniques.
- Select garden-friendly plants for your home.
- Consider using native grasses or clover in place of turf grass
Take a deep breath and enjoy May and beyond. By leaving the dandelions and violets to grow and planting native plants, you can attract butterflies, bees, and birds back to your yard, transforming it into a thriving ecosystem. There are various resources available to create attractive landscapes that are also hospitable to pollinators. If you want to learn about native plant resources and garden plans, check out Rochesterpollinators.org.