Typically, a homeowner in any neighborhood that doesn’t regularly mow the lawn is viewed as being lazy, inattentive and neglectful – there’s one in every crowd. However, homeowners are actually being encouraged not to mow their lawns in May – which for some would mean not pulling out the mower until June – because it can help bees and other pollinators get the habitat and forage they need in the critical early part of the blooming season, especially in urbanized areas where floral resources are often limited.
More than a decade ago, the No Mow May initiative began in the United Kingdom and it has spread across North America in recent years. The No Mow May campaign received an endorsement from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the benefits it can provide.
Studies have shown that unmown lawns in the spring increase the abundance and richness of bees and other pollinators during the key spring season when they serve as pollen delivery systems for many plant species and are credited with an increase in the growth of clover and native violets in yards and wildflowers in gardens.
Some homeowners go to great lengths throughout the season to keep their yards in immaculate shape and won’t participate in No Mow May. In addition, some cities and homeowner’s associations have rules about mowing lawns regularly so that may be an issue in some areas (check in advance of letting your yard go wild), but during the early portion of spring, the DNR is encouraging people to think about being part of No Mow May. It may seem against accepted homeowner etiquette protocol, but the conservation efforts at this time of year for pollinators make it worth it to some homeowners – even if the perception might be that they’re lazy.