Americans have a love affair with lawns—maintaining roughly 40 million acres, or 2% of land in the US, making them the single largest irrigated crop we grow. Lawns require frequent mowing, raking, fertilizing, weeding, chemical treatment, and watering—sucking up time, money, and other resources. Not only are lawns burdensome for the people maintaining them, but they also provide little positive benefit to wildlife, and in fact are often harmful. The traditional monoculture lawn lacks floral resources or nesting sites for bees and is often treated with large amounts of pesticides that harm bees and other invertebrates. When we think of habitat loss, we tend to imagine bulldozers and rutted dirt, but acres of manicured lawn are as much a loss of habitat as any development site. https://beecityusa.org/no-mow-may/
No Mow May is a voluntary movement that started in the UK to encourage homeowners to temporarily park their lawnmowers and let nature take its course, in order to increase habitats for bees and other pollinators.
The movement is spreading in the US as well. In 2020, Appleton, Wisconsin was the first US city to participate officially. A subsequent study of homes of those volunteer participants found they “had more diverse and abundant flora than regularly mowed green spaces throughout the city. No Mow May homes had three times higher bee richness and five times higher bee abundances than frequently mowed greenspaces.”
We are encouraging Lexington to get behind No Mow May. If you don’t feel inclined to let your front yard go wild for a month, think about the back yard, or even a small part of the back yard, and give it a try. Learn more at https://beecityusa.org/no-mow-may/ or search for “No Mow May” online.