~ Betsy Street

No mow side yard – Val Van Meier

Spring yard work got you too busy? Have another cup of coffee next Saturday morning, or read another chapter in your book, or just stare at the sky and clouds. Because, you don’t need to mow your lawn for another month!

Now it’s true being in one of the more seasonally-delayed towns around here, it might be that the call of the mower doesn’t occur til the end of the month anyway. But here’s something to think about.

No Mow May started in the United Kingdom three years ago and is quickly being adopted in communities around the United States. You allow your lawn to grow throughout the month of May without mowing, watering, or fertilizing.

Not mowing in May gives bees and other pollinators critical early meals of the spring, be it from dandelions, clover, or other lawn flowers. The early spring flowers help the pollinator population at a time of year when nectar sources are still in short supply.

Participating communities in the Midwest have seen their pollinator populations increase significantly. In 2020, Appleton, Wisconsin saw five times as many bees and three times as many bee species, according to research compiled by Lawrence University scientists.

Not in Nelson!

Nelsoners typically have not been very competitive about their lawns (unlike suburbs where neighbors try to outdo each other with getting their lawns to look like golf courses). But maybe this will change. Competitions for whose lawn gets the most pollinators could be a win for all flora and fauna, including people.

Fun dandelion fact: They can help loosen hard-packed soil with their deep taproots. Their root systems not only help aerate the soil but pull calcium and other nutrients from the ground and make them available to nearby plants. Who knew dandelions were a natural fertilizer!

For those who can’t resist getting a little exercise behind your mower, another option is to raise the cut to four inches, which will spare many of the flowers. And/or you can mow a section to its well-groomed glory, but still leave an area with an abundance of small flowers.