(WGN NEWS NOW) — The collective effort of delaying that first yard mow is truly a grassroots effort, and it comes with multiple benefits.
Important caveat to this article: many municipalities and homeowners associations have ordinances and policies in place which dictate the allowable length of a lawn so check with your local authorities before deciding to join the no mow movement.
According to Bee City USA, the conservation initiative was first popularized in the United Kingdom by Plantlife but officially crossed the ocean to North America when in 2020 the City of Appleton, WI suspended its weed ordinance for the month of May.
The goal of No Mow May is to allow wild flowers of every species, including dandelions, to bloom in abundance and give the pollinating population a post-hibernation nutritional jump-start. A Bee Campus USA affiliate, Lawrence University, found uncut lawns in Appleton’s first year of the program had five-times higher bee abundance than nearby parks which had been mowed.
Laura Rost, Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA Coordinator, adds longer blades and less mowing also benefits the grass itself by encouraging deeper root growth thus making it more drought resistant and better able to use nutrients from within the soil.
In Chicagoland, at least two local governments participated in a version of No Mow May. Both Glenview and Westmont suspended their weed and grass length ordinances through May 9 with a No Mow ’til Mother’s Day initiative. According to the Daily Northwestern, Evanston’s city council was planning to participate in something similar but ultimately decided against it.
Those who choose to pursue a less-mowing-method may also want to consider their neighbors and, again, be careful not to violate any local restrictions.
Correction: in the video interview, Laura Rost stated 36,000 species of native bees but meant to say 3,600.