“No-Shave November” is a month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness. In a similar fashion, “No Mow May” is the type of campaign that exists to raise awareness about bee populations.
According to the British wildlife organization Plantlife, letting the flora on your lawn grow during the month of May can have drastic benefits for bee populations.
This isn’t just speculation either – the organization conducted experiments last year with hundreds of homeowners who agreed not to mow their lawns in May up until June. Because of that, their laws produced a much greater variety of flowers and helped feed 10 times more bees than usual. They also concluded that the longer these flowers were allowed to grow, the more bee populations benefited.
How often should you mow your lawn?
Based on these findings, Plantlife recommends lawn owners everywhere to mow their lawns no more than once per month during the entire summer. May is the most important month of that whole period, however, as that’s when beehives need the most nectar.
If you don’t want to wait that month or you want to use your lawn for more than just walking through it, the organization suggests mowing it in sections. You can do half-n-half, mow one half of your lawn one month, and the other – the next month.
Or, you can mow your lawn with a more practical plan – you can mow pathways here and there to help you move, or small patches for sunbathing and playtime while leaving other patches to grow. If you want, you can use some decorative fences to further decorate your unmowed or partly mowed lawn into a thing of beauty.
However you choose to go about it, the more of your lawn you choose to leave unmowed, the more you’ll help the bees in your area. And by doing that, you can help not only save the biodiversity around you but consequently – lower fruit and veggie prices next season as farming them will be much easier with more bees around.
Trevor Dines, a botanist at the Plantlife organization explains it like this:
“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.”
Of course, there are drawbacks. Having more bees in your yard can be problematic if you have pets or kids. You’ll either have to be extra strategic with your mowing patterns or use some bee repellent for your children and pets. Teaching your kids to avoid bees is also a good idea as is testing them for bee allergies.
Still, fortunately, bees are generally non-aggressive unless you accidentally attack their hives. And, if your neighbors complain, you can always try to recruit them to the cause or stick one of these signs by your fence to show them you’re not budging.