‘No Mow May’ Isn’t The Best Idea for Minnesota Pollinators
You might have heard about the 'No Mow May' movement in Minnesota as a way to help out pollinators, but now some experts are saying it might not be the best idea.
If you're not familiar, the concept of 'No Mo May' is pretty self-explanatory: You don't mow your lawn during the month of May here in Minnesota, as a way of helping out bees and other pollinators.
According to this University of Minnesota story, those weeds many of us try to get rid of in our lawns are actually a food source for pollinators. Here's the science behind how not mowing your lawn in May can help our pollinator population:
In May, many bees are coming out of hibernation and need flowers to feed themselves and their babies. The main purpose of No Mow May is to encourage people to let spring flowers in their lawns, like dandelions, white clover and creeping charlie, bloom before mowing.
The No Mow May campaign has been picking up in popularity across the Land of 10,000 Lakes for several years now. But now, though, comes word that No Mow May might not actually be the best for our Minnesota pollinators.
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According to Associated Press gardening columnist Jessica Damiano, the concept is well-intentioned but is actually a bad approach. In this MPR story, Damiano explains that letting your lawn grow during May only to mow it back down again on June 1st could harm pollinators who actually have been using your lawn as cover.
She says that instead of not mowing your lawn during May, setting up a more permanent cover for insects would be more advantageous. To further explain her suggestions, MPR noted that Damiano talked to Tamson Yeh, a turf specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Suffolk County, New York.
Yeh and Damiano both agreed that instead of just waiting until June to mow your lawn, a better approach might be to replace part of your lawn with native plants or plant a wildflower meadow instead. That would give pollinators a permanent place to find food throughout the year, not just in May.
I'm all for helping pollinators. Plus, planting a wildflower meadow or native plants would also mean I have less lawn to mow, as well. Talk about a win-win, right? You can get more information about how to help pollinators in Minnesota from the DNR, here.
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