No Mow May is trending now. The idea is to not mow your yard during May in order to support pollinators who will feed on common lawn weeds like dandelion and violet. This trend is misguided and helps to continue to blur the line between a yard that is just weeds allowed to grow and a native garden. It would be better if everyone had a pollinator garden where plants bloom throughout the growing season to support a sustainable habitat for all insects.
Native early pollinators come out much earlier than may. Having food sources available for native insects in March and even February is important. Native pollinators are looking for native plants. Shrubs like the plum, service berry, and spicebush bloom early to sustain spring pollinators.
Many of the flowers growing in our lawns are not native. Dandelions, clover, purslane, and mustards are common lawn weeds that bloom, but they are not native and we don’t need to protect them. The majority of the bees visiting our lawn are non-native honeybees. Caring for honeybees is the responsibility of their owners, we do not need to devote our garden space to their care.
Lawn care can harm pollinators. Mowing can destroy hibernating butterflies and crush the underground burrows of bumblebees and beetles. Mower engines usually do not have mufflers and will drown out bird songs which can interrupt their ability to defend their territory and find mates. Lawn mowers pollute a lot, more then cars even. If you have a lawn service, they may be adding fertilizers and pesticides to your lawn that kills pollinators and pollutes soil and ground water.
Let’s call it Less Lawn May, or Murder your lawn May? May is a great time to put in a new native plant garden. Less lawn and more native plants mean more habitat for pollinators, birds, and all creatures. Gardening for pollinators means you need a variety of plants with blooms occurring throughout the year. Plant asters for blooms up till frost and witchazel for blooms on warm winter days.