No Mow May comes with caveats
Your neighborhood may be quieter this month as some homeowners opt into No Mow May, a viral movement that encourages residents to ditch their lawn mowers and let their grass go wild till June.
Why it matters: With spring gardening season underway, homeowners are wrestling with personal decisions about how to tackle lawn care, Axios' Jennifer Kingson reports. To mow or not to mow? Irrigate? Fertilize?
- The "No Mow" and "Low Mow" campaigns aim to make yards more conducive to bees and butterflies — but you might face blowback from your neighbors if you try it out.
- Homeowner associations have been clamping down on residents who let their lawns go brown or wild, even taking people to court over the state of their yards.
Plus: Keeping your lawn long may not bring on the bees anyway, according to Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
What they're saying: Many patches of turf are maintained to be weed free and — when left unmowed — the flowers that bloom from these lawns are wind-pollinated, meaning they do not support animal pollinators with nectar or pollen, DeLong-Amaya tells Axios.
- Even if there are blooming plants intermingling in the lawn grass, it's likely that they're non-native plants, making them less likely to attract native pollinators.
- Instead, "homeowners interested in having a pollinator-friendly lawn can intersperse nectar-producing and pollen-producing low growing natives into the turf," DeLong-Amaya said.
Zoom in: Austin requires residents to keep grass and weeds below one foot, according to the city's code violation website, which adds that long grass can create "unsanitary conditions."
- "Keeping grass and weeds short is an important way to prevent rodents, insects and stagnant water from developing as a result of overgrowth," the city site reads.
A better approach in Central Texas, DeLong-Amaya suggests, is shrinking the size of your lawn "to the smallest footprint possible" and planting pollinator-friendly native plants.
- Plus, cultivate your landscape using organic methods to avoid harming pollinators.
- "Be mindful that even organic products can also be poisonous, so research products before applying, and be sure to closely follow label instructions," DeLong-Amaya added.
The bottom line: Towns that adopt "No Mow May" agree not to issue citations to homeowners who let their grass grow long, but Austin does not have such a policy.
More Austin stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Austin.