No Mow May 2022

I wish. I've had to mow the lawn twice now and I've had to set my mower to its highest cut level. That **** would wind up so tall it would be unsafe to back down my driveway. People walking by might not see our car in time. ;-) I have a battery-operated one so that's the best I can do for now. I did plant a lot of clover in the lawn mix last year so the bees do have some attractions at least.


this is a very bad idea.

May has one of the highest growth rates of the season (exacerbated this year by our wet spring). By June you will be faced with grass that could be a foot long. Have fun dealing with that.


At least I'll have an excuse as to why the yard looks like crap lol. Plan to take it as low as the mower will get it on the 30th and see if I can make it though May. Haven't used any fertilizer since last spring so I think I have a chance, maybe. 


Mowed the front which looked pretty ragged due to a certain type of weed and left the violets and dandelion as they are lower. They are major early bee food. Isn't that the aim?

But I usually look for a compromise so I might go for mid May for the backyard, which is usually nibbled down and flattened out by the dozen deer that call my property home. Let's see if I can hold out.

As well, I've created Beelandia by planting several species of snacks for pollinators. And this year went full tilt boogie bee smorgasbord by starting 2 types of Hyssop from seed, one which required cold stratifying in the fridge, as well as Echinacea for Goldfinches, Allium, Zinnia, Lavendar, Chocolate Mint, Butterfly Bush, Honeysuckle, Columbine, etc. for the birds and bees yet not tempting to deer. Unless I decide to eat the Nasturtium, there is not a shred of food for humans. In the words of Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat cake."


Almost made it through May last year, but not quite.  But then, the growth doesn't start as early here in the frozen north as it does in NJ, barely green now, no noticeable height.  No mow May sounds like a great idea for the bees etc., and gives me an excuse for leaving my lawn shaggy a few extra weeks while the squill leaves build up reserves for next year.

eta: never attached a picture before, don't know why it's so big, the flowers themselves are tiny.


mjc said:

Almost made it through May last year, but not quite.  But then, the growth doesn't start as early here in the frozen north as it does in NJ, barely green now, no noticeable height.  No mow May sounds like a great idea for the bees etc., and gives me an excuse for leaving my lawn shaggy a few extra weeks while the squill leaves build up reserves for next year.

eta: never attached a picture before, don't know why it's so big, the flowers themselves are tiny.

Squill is on my list. I'm crazy for the blues and my garden is dominated by them. I'll fool around with the lavenders and purples but my heart skips a beat when I see a delphinium in bloom.

How far up in the frozen north are you?


mjc said:

Almost made it through May last year, but not quite.  But then, the growth doesn't start as early here in the frozen north as it does in NJ, barely green now, no noticeable height.  No mow May sounds like a great idea for the bees etc., and gives me an excuse for leaving my lawn shaggy a few extra weeks while the squill leaves build up reserves for next year.

eta: never attached a picture before, don't know why it's so big, the flowers themselves are tiny.

Hah!  Here in Edmonton, we envy your patchy grass, we still have ice on the ground in our yard.  The MOL diaspora stretches from the South of Australia almost to the the edge of the Arctic.

Those flowers are absolutely beautiful.  I look forward to our bulbs to come.


Morganna said:

Squill is on my list. I'm crazy for the blues and my garden is dominated by them. I'll fool around with the lavenders and purples but my heart skips a beat when I see a delphinium in bloom.

How far up in the frozen north are you?

I was reading this thread and wondering how this sort of thing effects birds.  I expect a lot of their potential food would benefit from these sorts of practices when it comes to lawns.


GoSlu,gs said:

I was reading this thread and wondering how this sort of thing effects birds.  I expect a lot of their potential food would benefit from these sorts of practices when it comes to lawns.

Well, I think the Robins might appreciate a good mow. They are bold little beasties and hang around while I weed to poke their beaks in the earth with an eye on a juicy worm. Matter of fact after 27 years of back yard birding I finally got to witness a first flight thanks to nesting Robins outside of my art studio. Years of offering nesting boxes to melodic Wrens and scrappy Starlings and not once did I see the hatchlings take to the air, till an attentive mother Robin let her chicks leave the nest.


GoSlugs, we are in *southern* Wisconsin, where juncos go to spend the winter.  I keep forgetting you are in Canada -- as a long-ago CA girl, i always enjoy seeing your slug : )

Morganna said: "Squill is on my list."  Around here, some of the bigger older houses have whole yards of it this time of year.  otoh, somebody on the radio the other day was saying it might alter soil chemistry enough to impede native plants. otoh again, there aren't many native plants in our "lawn," lots of dandelions, violets, plantain, campanula etc. along with the struggling grass.  No wonder the grass is always trying to escape into the flower beds....

(oops it was Morganna who asked how far north)


mjc said:

GoSlugs, we are in *southern* Wisconsin, where juncos go to spend the winter.  I keep forgetting you are in Canada -- as a long-ago CA girl, i always enjoy seeing your slug : )

My sister is getting ready to move from   CA to Green Bay. I keep telling her that Wisconsin is Alberta’s Florida but that is tongue in cheek. My parents went to school in Superior before I was born so I have heard stories about snow drifts up to the eaves. 


"Wisconsin is Alberta’s Florida" - well, that's what the juncos seem to think. I gather Wisconsin is also Chicago's Adirondacks/New England.

15 years ago when we moved here, our neighbors made a snow Easter bunny, but not a lot of snow any time this year, very dry.


I can't believe that May is the right month everywhere. I kinda think it should be no mow April around here actually.  (Or maybe mid-April to mid-May.)  But we have just done our second round of lawn reseeding after our renovation contractors completely destroyed more than half of our yard in 2020-21, so we have to water much more than normal now (and not mow for a few weeks) and then we will certainly have to mow at some point in May or the grass will be knee-high.  


sac said:

or the grass will be knee-high.  

A number of posters have said something similar but isn't knee high grass kind of the point critter wise?


GoSlugs said:

sac said:

or the grass will be knee-high.  

A number of posters have said something similar but isn't knee high grass kind of the point critter wise?

no, it doesn't need to be knee high.  Just a few undisturbed weeks is all.


My lawn doesn't get watered unless it rains and I think I'll be OK. Haven't mowed for almost 2 weeks and the grass is maybe ankle high in some good spots. Maybe I'll just keep it edged in May so the house doesn't look abandoned 


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation runs BeeCityUSA.  Here are their recommendations about how to go about No Mow May.  There are printable signs on their websites that can be placed in the yard to explain why the lawn is unmowed.  A mowed buffer seems like an especially good idea.: 

What About Weed Regulations?

Most cities and municipalities have some form of weed ordinance that dictates the height and sometimes even the types of plants a homeowner is allowed to grow. Unfortunately, many of these ordinances are woefully out of date and out of touch with the modern movement towards creating yards that support wildlife in urban settings. While local ordinances will vary greatly from place-to-place, here are a few tips for keeping local officials, and your neighbors happy:

  • Maintain a mowed buffer. Yes⁠, after spending a considerable amount of time discussing the problems with lawn, we are suggesting you keep some⁠—strategically. Keeping a mowed edge in front of or around a natural planting of a foot or two may be all that’s needed to define “lawn” from “garden” and keep you in step with local ordinances or Homeowner Association guidelines. Maintaining a tidy mowed edge also makes a busy natural planting look less overwhelming, and makes these spaces look intentional rather than neglectful.
  • Engage with your city council, health department, or other local officials. Tell them what you are doing, why, and begin a conversation about how they can support natural landscapes in their community. This fact sheet from Penn State can help arm you with facts to overcome the common myths that have led to overly restrictive weed ordinances.
  • Suggest an “opt-in” program, such as a Natural Lawn Registration program to sidestep the need to re-write a health code ordinance. Under such a model, a homeowner may register their natural landscape with their local health department. The health department can then decline to fine registered properties as long as they are maintaining the natural landscape properly and not encouraging the spread of noxious weeds.
  • Educate your neighbors and passersby about your landscaping choices. Displaying a simple sign designating your yard as pollinator habitat can be the difference between it being seen as a neglected area to people viewing it as an important part of a thriving landscape. Xerces offers downloadable signs for No Mow May and you can receive a pollinator habitat signs as a thank you for your donations through our gift center.

https://beecityusa.org/no-mow-may/


Anybody know if goat rental is legal in Maplewood? Even with the buffer there's a lot of grass to be cut Wednesday  tongue rolleye  


Well ... we managed to do One Mow May (about a week ago.)  A lot of newly seeded areas in our yard meant a lot of watering and thus resulted in exceptionally tall grass.  We'll try again next year. (Normally we do not water our lawn at all, figuring that it is better for it to go dormant in a dry spell than to become dependent on the watering, but we make an exception for when we have to reseed.)



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