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No Mow May

Spring is here! Buds are appearing on the trees, birds are busy nest building and, of course, the sound of lawn mowers is now infiltrating the sunny evenings and weekend mornings.

While many gardeners are now thinking about cutting their grass, Plantlife are urging, via their annual No Mow May campaign, to hold on for another few weeks and provide some much needed space for nature.

Since the 1930s almost 97% of flower rich meadows have been lost in the UK, resulting in loss of vital food for bees, moths and butterflies, with 80% of butterflies now in decline and 24% of Europe’s bees at threat of extinction. Any break that you take from your mowing routine has a positive impact on wildlife.

All you have to do is keep the lawn mower in the shed until the end of May. Alternatively you can choose a particular area to leave un-mowed, or you can just cut a path through your lawn, leaving the rest free to grow. Hopefully it won’t be long before you see wildflowers, bees and butterflies flocking to your garden. At the end of the month you’re encouraged to take a survey of the species present and report this to Plantlife.

In 2021, gardeners taking part in No Mow May recorded 250 wild plant species in their gardens including wild strawberry and garlic. Participants saw lawns transform from boring monoculture to diverse spaces with species including daisies, germander, speedwell and creeping buttercup. Rare species have also been noted in some gardens such as meadow saxifrage and various orchids. And in 2019, the total flowers recorded in a Plantlife survey of the project was calculated to be enough to support 2.1 million honey bees!

And when May ends, you can think about how to take action to benefit wildlife in your garden all year round:

  • Try the tiered lawn approach. This involves keeping your grass at different lengths, meaning shorter flowers can thrive alongside taller ones.
  • Cut your mowing down to once every 4 weeks
  • Leave some areas uncut all year round
  • Stop using pesticides or weedkillers
  • Add some wildflower seeds to any bare soil patches

Holding off on cutting your lawn will not only benefit wildlife, but tackles pollution and sequesters carbon. Plus the added benefit that you can take mowing off your to-do list for the month and spend more time enjoying being outdoors.