Ontario – Let Your Grass Grow

Why ‘No Mow May’ could be a boon for Toronto’s bumble bee populations

Like the hair on our heads during coronavirus lockdowns, conservationists are encouraging people to let their lawns grow a little wilder than usual this month.

That’s the idea behind the burgeoning “No Mow May” movement, which, as you might have guessed, is calling on homeowners to park their lawn mowers this month for the sake of local bees and other pollinators.

Organizers say doing so will help introduce much-needed biodiversity and more native flowering plants, both of which are sorely lacking but essential for healthy urban bee populations.

“The sheer quantity of flowers and nectar production on lawns mown once a month can be astonishing,” said Trevor Dines, a botanical specialist at the conservation charity Plantlife, based in the U.K.

Plantlife, which is spearheading the initiative, says mowing your lawn just once a month can lead to a 10-fold increase in the number of bees pollinating the area.

The argument is backed up by a 2019 paper published by scientists at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, which found that “intensively managed” lawns have been shown to have “clear negative ecological effects,” especially in urban areas.

And while Torontonians with more time on their hands might be itching to do some yard work as the weather improves, local conservationists say wildlife would indeed benefit from a more widespread “no mow” philosophy.

“Trying to increase the diversity of your lawn is actually a great idea because it really is one of the largest areas of vegetation that’s within most of our urban areas,” said Dan Kraus, a senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Kraus said reduced mowing, fertilization and irrigation could eventually help introduce helpful native species, such as wild strawberries, wild blue violets and trout lilies to more Toronto-area lawns. – CBC

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I have been saying this for years.  Grass needs to have minimum length bylaws as well as maximum length.  Minimum of 10 cm.  This slows the rain water runoff allowing more of it to soak into the ground.  Keeps ground from drying out too quickly. Keeps lawn greener during extended dry periods.  Its all good.

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