Tall, flowering grass supports 10 times as many bees as short green grass. Tall grass species like oxeye daisy, red clover and blue buttons also bloom later into the fall than short species like dandelion.
You may have heard of the “No Mow May” campaign, which urges people to leave the lawnmower locked up until June in order to provide food for pollinators.
The British wildlife organization Plantlife, who started it, wants you to take it a step further – only mow once a month thereafter.
The idea is the longer you let your grass grow, the greater the diversity of flower species, providing more nectar for pollinators.
Plantlife conducted a study in 2019 that found that long, flowering lawns supported 10 times as many bees as those kept close-cropped. And the tall flower species keep blooming later into the summer and fall than the short flowers.
“Tall-grass species like oxeye daisy, red clover, blue buttons and knapweed grow upright and take longer to reach flowering size,” the organization said in a press release.
“They can’t cope with being cut off regularly, so only bloom in grass that’s not been mown for several months or more.”
Unfortunately, a lot of people want a lawn they can lie down in, not a thigh-high prairie where they might get bitten by a snake.
For this reason, Plantlife recommends a Mohican-style haircut. Cut your lawn super short once a month (2 inches or less), but leave a long tall strip down the middle, like a Mohawk.
Really, it can be any shape you want (maybe a zig-zag?) The important part is that you leave a chunk of tall flowering grasses reserved for the bees.
“You’ll cut off some flowers when you do mow but they’ll come back quickly; you can even rotate patches around your garden so there are always some areas in flower,” Plantlife says.