Admit it, one of the only things that's kept you going during the stay-at-home days of COVID-19 has been spending time in your yard, blissfully trimming the hedge, loving your begonias and evening mowing your lawn.
While the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) realizes you need your outdoor therapy, they would like to make a suggestion.
Take the month of May off from tackling the chore of lawn mowing. You'll be helping nature.
A movement that began in the U.K. is now picking up steam in Canada as well. It's a concept called "No Mow May," and it's a call to help wild pollinators and other wildlife in the greenspaces where we live. With habitat loss and degradation as the major cause of wildlife decline, the Nature Conservancy, a non-for-profit land conservation organization, is suggesting that we keep our lawn mowers in the shed for the month of May for the benefit of nature.
"If you imagine dozens and dozens of backyards doing things to improve habitat for native pollinators and migratory birds, this can have a big impact on nature and the quality of our urban ecosystems,” said Carys Richards, NCC’s Communications Manager in Alberta. “By letting flowers bloom on your lawn, including dandelions, you can provide an important source of nectar and pollen for wild bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.”
Bees and butterflies are the most familiar insect pollinators, while moths, flies, beetles and ants are lesser-known pollinators that still play an important role. In recent years, there has been a sharp decline in some pollinator populations due to climate change, habitat loss (including the loss of native plants) and pesticides. Many of the fruits we buy or that we grow in our own gardens, including strawberries, apples and melons, depend on pollination by wild insects.
If you just can't find it within yourself to stay away from the mower for a month, NCC suggests delaying the first spring mow as long as possible, mowing less often and mowing slowly to allow insects, frogs and other wildlife to move out of the way. You can also practice “rotational mowing” to allow some patches of grass to support flowering plants. One study in the UK found that changing a mowing routine and allowing plants to flower can create enough nectar for ten times more pollinators. It is suggested to mow your lawn every four weeks (depending on how fast it’s growing), which results in a higher number of flowers on your lawn.
Richards says that trying to increase your lawn’s diversity is important for urban nature because lawns are one of the largest green spaces in our towns and cities. Canada has an estimated 6.2 million lawns. Supporting nature in our backyards is also a great way to learn about Canadian wildlife that lives around us.
Other tips on how to attract pollinators can be found HERE. :
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast.