Why No Mow May could benefit your garden and the environment

This year, we’re looking at different ways each month we can all do our bit to improve the environment around us.

To date we’ve looked at how packed lunches can help reduce single use plastic and make us less wasteful, as well as how we can all make changes to save energy at home and in the office.

As May approaches, we’re turning our attention to No Mow May, which is continuing to gain momentum each year.

What is No Mow May?

It’s exactly what you’d expect – choosing not to mow your lawns for the entire month of May. In the UK it’s spearheaded by Plantlife, who have a mission to protect and restore the diversity of wild plants and fungi in our countryside and back gardens.

That’s because there is a real benefit to not mowing grass for a month, most importantly how it allows flowers, bees, insects and butterflies to thrive. Research highlighted by Plantlife and Countryfile indicates that 97% of meadows in the UK have been lost since the 1930s, with insects such as butterflies on a decline as a result of this vastly reduced environmental landscape. The campaign highlights however that consciously mowing a lawn less creates more food for bees, moths, beetles, butterflies and other pollinators. Ten times as much in fact.

It’s not just the bees that benefit when our gardens are more diverse though, Professor Dave Groulson at The University of Sussex highlighted to CNN recently that three quarters of our crops depend on insect pollinators – making it a great cause for everyone to get behind.

Why are plants so important?

For those who were paying attention during science lessons at school, you’ll be familiar with photosynthesis.

“Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy in the form of sugar.”

– National Geographic

This process provides the oxygen we breathe and the energy animals need, making it extremely precious. Opting not to mow your grass for the entire month of May allows wildflowers to regrow and helps boost the ecosystem in your back garden.

Every flower counts

As you watch your grass grow, keep an eye out for new wild flowers and plants that start to pop up, and how many more insects you see visiting your garden.

At the end of each No Mow May, participants are encouraged to head over to the Plantlife website to take part in the Every Flower Counts survey. Recording the number of flowers in a square patch of your lawn to get a personal nectar score and see how attractive your lawn is to pollinating species.

And don’t forget to share your photos of your finds with friends and family to help spread the word of the importance of letting the grass grow.

Helping plants and pollinators thrive

Once No Mow May comes to its end, there’s still plenty of ways you can help to encourage insects and plants into your garden.

Experts at Countryfile suggest only cutting your lawn once a month, or every four weeks – opting to let it get a little longer in between cuts. As well as leaving areas completely uncut, to allow taller wildflowers such as red clover to establish themselves. Opting not to use weedkiller and harsh chemicals can also help to protect the wild flowers and plants in your garden, as pesticides can remain in soil a year after use.

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