Hold off mowing the lawn until after May, wildlife organization urges. The results are a wider variety of flowers for pollinators when they need them most!
April showers bring May flowers, and if you like food, you should leave those flowers alone.
Not mowing in May results in a greater diversity and number of flowers throughout the summer, a British wildlife organization called Plantlife claims.
The organization conducted an experiment in last year in which hundreds of homeowners agreed not to mow their lawns until June. Participants’ lawns produced a much wider variety of flower species and enough nectar to feed 10 times as many bees as normal lawns.
The longer your grass grows, the greater the diversity of flower species you get, Plantlife found.
Because of this, the organization recommends mowing only once a month at most all summer.
If you can’t wait that long – maybe you want a place to tan or for the kids to play – mow in sections or chunks. Make a cool pattern if you wish. Plantlife suggests a mohawk! Just leave plenty of long patches for the pollinators.
Plantlife botanist Trevor Dines explains why longer lawns breed more diversity:
“We’ve discovered that plants like daisy, white clover and bird’s-foot trefoil are superbly adapted to growing in shorter swards. These short-grass, ‘mower-ducking’ plants stay low down with stems well out of the way of the mower blades, but continually produce large numbers of flowers every few weeks. If these flowers are cut off by mowing, it just stimulates the plants to produce yet more flowers, boosting nectar production.”
“In contrast, tall-grass species like oxeye daisy, red clover, field scabious and knapweed grow upright and take longer to reach flowering size. They can’t cope with being cut off regularly, so only bloom in grass that’s not been mown for several months or more. Our results show these unmown long-grass areas are home to a greater range of wild flower species, complimenting the narrower range found in short-grass areas.”
If your neighbors complain, get one of these cool “Certified Wildlife Habitat” signs to stick in your yard.
But pretty soon, it’ll be the cool thing to do.
It’s already catching on, with some American cities now announcing they will no longer enforce long-grass ordinances until mid June and others offering to pay citizens not to mow!