No Mow May
TAKE PART IN THE ‘NO MOW MAY' CHALLENGE'
Letting the flowers bloom on your lawn helps to provide a vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. This is why we’re asking you to take on a special challenge to support Plantlife’s 'No Mow May' project. Plantlife are a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi.
Changing your mowing routine and allowing plants to flower can create enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators, producing a combined 33kg of nectar sugar per day, which is enough to support around 60,000 beehive. You’re also more likely to spot a greater variety of flowers popping up in your garden. You may decide to just leave a strip unmown, or go the whole hog and leave the mower in the shed for a month and put your feet up – and watch the grass grow!
At the end of the month, you can count the flowers on your lawn to take part in Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey. A great activity to keep the kids busy! You'll then get your own Personal Nectar Score, which tells you how many bees your garden is helping to support.
Traditional lawns are often cut in manicured strips, but this new research demonstrates the spectacular benefits both we and our garden wildlife receive from not mowing throughout May. Like the nation’s lockdown haircuts, can we adapt to a less rigorous regime? Research shows that there is an astonishing diversity of wild flowers growing on Britain’s lawns: over 200 species were found, including rarities such as meadow saxifrage, knotted clover and eyebright.
The best lawn “haircut” was found to be the “Mohican” – this gave an ideal proportion of grass being cut every 4 weeks, and longer grassed areas where slower growing, rarer wildflower species could grow. The highest production of flowers and nectar sugar was on lawns cut once every four weeks. This gives ‘short-grass’ plants like daisies and white clover a chance to flower in profusion, boosting nectar production tenfold.
Areas of longer unmown grass were, however, more diverse in their range of flowers, with other nectar-rich plants like oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed increasing the range of nectar sources for different pollinators and extending nectar availability into late summer.