Posted on

Says we should have a No Mow May

Vox Pop

Nothing like the noises of spring - waking up to songbirds in the backyard, the sun rising over the trees, and the noise of lawnmowers running from dawn until dusk all weekend long!

As we head into this spring, though, I want to bring attention to a growing movement - No Mow May! Last year, my family participated in an unofficial No Mow May, making it to Memorial Day weekend before the combination of long grass and city notice prompted our first mow of spring. And heading into this spring, we will once again be waiting to mow as long as possible.

Why do we do ‘No Mow May?’ It’s all about the bees. At the start of spring, there are typically very few food sources for bees, especially in the city, and they depend on a limited set of flowers like dandelions. Limiting mowing in early spring can help increase bee populations by preserving this food source. Bee populations are critical to our farming - according to the FDA, nearly 1/3 of crops depend on bees to pollinate the crops, providing $15 billion in value to farming across the country. But bees have been dying in huge numbers across the country, due to habitat loss, loss of food sources, diseases, and pesticide use.

Although it is a newer idea, ‘No Mow May’ has been tried in other communities. Appleton started No Mow May last year as an optional choice for city residents. Research on bee populations showed that bees were 5x more abundant on properties that were not mowed and suggested that the efforts helped support a healthy bee population.

I am hoping to bring this issue to the city council in the future and also hope that as a community, we are open to allowing some personal choice about our early spring mowing practices. I realize that to some, my lawn may have looked ‘messy’ or ‘unruly’ last spring. I don’t want or expect everyone to let their lawn grow long every spring. But I would like to be able to make a choice to help out the natural community (and our farmers too) without threat of fine every spring.

— Ben Koch, Medford