Ever heard of No Mow May? It’s a brand new initiative for lawns that can help early spring pollinators, BUT it may not be for everyone. At Sunday, we’ll help you navigate how to help pollinators while keeping your lawn in top shape.
First off, why do we mow the lawn? Beyond maintaining a uniform height for general aesthetics, personal recreational reasons, and perhaps potential HOA or city fines – here’s the science behind why we encourage mowing at Sunday:
Essentially, No Mow May (NMM) is a pollinator-forward initiative started by Plantlife, a non-profit based out of the UK. The intention of NMM is to significantly increase the number of flowering plants (or foraging opportunities) for pollinators by not mowing. By not mowing in the month of May, it gives way for weeds like dandelions, clovers, and violets to flower. As a result, these more hardy plants are helping support early spring pollinators to find more foraging opportunities before other spring blooms emerge.
The initiative has gained traction through Bee City USA: No Mow May and is now sponsored by Sunday’s 1% for the Planet Partner: Xerces Society (No Mow May) in an effort to support pollinators and connect more green corridors in urbanized areas for pollinators. Here are just a few cities and organizations participating in NMM 2021:
While not everyone is going to be able to participate in NMM – here’s a quick glance at the benefits of not mowing in early spring:
Sunday ProTip: Once normal mowing resumes, it’s important to note that some of the work done to conserve water and reduce fuels will be brought back up a bit. However, with Sunday’s recommended lawn care routine you’ll mow less and reduce water use over time.
Essentially, the slowest growing grasses. These species can tolerate dramatic shifts in mowing height and recovery.
Weed control is good. In general, spot treatment for weed control is good during this time. Treat weeds with Sunday’s Weed Warrior and Dandelion Doom as directed. If you need to spot-treat flowering weeds, just make sure to remove flowers before treating to reduce impact on pollinators.
Seeding is good. If the lawn is starting to thin or is already thinned out, this is a good time to spread seed. This is especially true if you choose to participate in NMM because while the grass is growing taller, it will help hold moisture.
Applying nutrients is not so good. At Sunday, we do not recommend applying your Sunday nutrients during NMM. Why? You do not want to apply to really tall grass (and preferably should wait until the grass is cut). So, if you do participate, mow first, then apply your Sunday nutrients after Memorial Day.
The Immense Increase of Biomass in May
The average lawn is growing rapidly in May and by not mowing, your grass will get really long and thick. This can cause a variety of issues for your lawn and overall, MAY harm seasonal growth. Common issues can also include:
Sunday ProTip: What to do with excess clippings? Composting and utilizing as “mulch” in a native plant or garden bed are some Sunday solutions to help you utilize those excess grass clippings effectively.
HOA Guidelines & City Ordinances
If you live in a home under city ordinance or HOA restrictions, you might want to check how tall your grass can get to determine whether or not you can participate in NMM. Otherwise, not mowing can lead to fines from the city or HOA if the lawn is not maintained according to set standards.
Violating the ⅓ rule for mowing
The Sunday Lawn Program works best when this mowing guideline is following alongside nutrient applications and seeding of Sunday products. Follow our Do’s and Don’ts for Mowing to learn more.
Sunday ProTip: If participating in No Mow May – make sure your blade is very sharp. When grass grows excessively long, it won’t be as rigid during mowing which can cause shredding if the blade isn’t sharp.
If completely stopping mowing is not an option, mowing less is a great option for most lawns. This way, your lawn stays on track, and you can make small changes to help your local pollinators too.