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Giving nature a helping hand — ‘No Mow May’

While it may be obvious that not mowing your lawn during the month of May will leave you with a sea of beautiful golden crowns of dandelions or a hotbed of yellow disaster.

An insect on a flower of the cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris ), in Balcalı - Adana, Turkey. Courtesy of Zeynel Cebeci, Creative Commons - 4.0.
An insect on a flower of the cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris ), in Balcalı - Adana, Turkey. Courtesy of Zeynel Cebeci, Creative Commons - 4.0.

While it may be obvious that not mowing your lawn during the month of May will leave you with a sea of beautiful golden crowns of dandelions or a hotbed of yellow disaster, depending on your outlook, there is a very good reason to leave your yard in a wild state.

Many people are rethinking how they care for their yard by cutting back on lawn chemicals and fertilizers. And there’s a push for “No Mow May.” In other words, according to CBC Canada, you’re either “on Team Nature or Team Turf War. It all depends on your mindset, and lately, that mindset appears to be shifting.”

Twitter post on May 20, 2021.

This year, No Mow May, a campaign created by U.K.-based Plantlife, was adopted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada as a way to convince Canadians that it is OK to let their lawns grow wild.

And like PlantLife UK, The Nature Conservacy asked that people lock up their lawnmowers on May 1, “and let the wild flowers in your lawn bloom, providing a feast of nectar for our hungry pollinators.”

Twitter post for NoMowMay

Down in Greensboro, North Carolina, local news outlet News 2 cited Gardens Illustrated, pointing out that not mowing as often cuts down on the pollen count because you’re not stirring up all the weeds and dust.

“It may seem counterintuitive but cut back on watering your lawn. Watering less will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots and develop resistance to drought. And because watering at night can actually promote fungus, water only during the early morning,” said Catherine Roberts, Ph.D., Consumer Reports Health Editor. 

Twitter post for NoMowMat

Perhaps more importantly – bee colonies have been struggling to survive around the world, mainly due to our ever-increasing use of pesticides.Not only are pollinators impacted by pesticides, but many common lawn pesticides are believed to be linked to a variety of conditions like diabetes, and reproductive and developmental problems.

The pesticide and fertilizer industry maintains that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of existing lawn pesticides means the chemicals should be safe to use as directed on the label. Bit this is not always true, as was discovered by the makers of Roundup. Roundup’s active ingredient is called glyphosate and has been implicated in non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Twitter post for NoMowMay

Cynthia Curl, an environmental health scientist at Boise State University in Idaho who studies the chemical, said, “many assumptions have been made about the safety of glyphosate that are now being actively questioned. We will see an explosion of information about glyphosate, and it’s about time. We’re really playing catch-up on this one.”

So give nature a chance and help our pollinators. We all have to survive together, and looking at “weeds” with a more sympathetic eye will certainly help, especially the honeybees.

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Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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