No Mow May

You can identify your no-mow yard with one of our no-mow signs. These are available for purchase at any of our events and at the Village's Municipal Building, 7 Maple Avenue (order online and pickup). Thanks to Hastings' Own Kimi Weart for the beautiful design! 

No Mow May

Join us in not mowing your lawn in May, to allow early foragers more range.  The blooms that come up in your lawn provide food for early pollinators when there is little else blooming to feed them. It also minimizes disturbance during this time when ground nesting bees would be first emerging after winter.  Pollinator populations bounce back quickly when given a chance. 

Many of us participated last year for the first time and were rewarded with a yard full of blooming violets and clover a-buzz with bees. It’s a simple concept with proven results. A study done in Appleton Wisconsin (see this NY Times article), where 435 homes registered to take part, found that No Mow May lawns had five times the number of bees and three times the bee species than did mown parks. Encouraging—when native bee populations are increasingly threatened by lack of habitat and pesticide use.

Surprised by how much we liked the more wild-looking yard, some were tempted just to quit mowing altogether. However, leaving a non-native grass to grow tall indefinitely along with the invasive plants that have come to inhabit your lawn it is not the most ecological approach in the long run, as these non-native plants provide little-to-no benefit to our native pollinators. If one is inspired by the NO MOW MAY results, the most ecological approach is to plant more native plants and reduce your lawn either by increasing perennial beds or establishing native turf alternatives like Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge), Frageria virginiana (wild strawberry), Antennaria (Pussytoes), among others. Think of lawn more for a path or area rug where you need it for specific play or leisure, not the whole yard, and when you mow, mow less often, perhaps twice a month instead of every week, and mow higher, leaving 3"-4”.

Until we’re ready to take that leap to a fully beneficial yard, NO MOW MAY is a great way to give the bees a head start. We hope you’ll give it a try and see the blooms and bees return!

More: this article from the Xerces Society gives an overview; this one from  USDA Forest Service presents a study on pollinator prevalence in suburban yards and mowing practices, and finds greater diversity of pollinators in areas where mowing is reduced, or read this article from Schenectady's Daily Gazette.