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How 'No-Mow May' Ruins Your Lawn


No-Mow May is the trend of abstaining from cutting your grass for the entire month of May to promote flower growth for bees and other insects to consume nectar from. This trend sounds great in theory but has many hidden side effects that may make you reconsider.

By letting your grass grow beyond normal length, you may start to notice the ground stays wetter longer from the additional shade. This can be a benefit in some areas of the world, however for others it promotes the growth of mold and other fungi in your yard which can slowly damage your lawn. The shade that holds the moisture in can also stunt the growth of lower-growing plants like clover, which provide flowers all summer long for the bees. This moisture can also lead to a less-even yard than before, which is time-consuming to fix.

When you do finally go to chop down the jungle you’ve grown you may notice some issues arise that didn’t occur before. You’ll have a difficult time cutting the grass because it’s longer than most residential mowers are designed for, and you’ll have to do multiple passes over each section of grass. Even then, you’re bound to miss some stray blades of grass that will result in your lawn looking uneven and your landscaper looking annoyed. Not to mention the added moisture the taller grass retains will clog up most mowers, meaning you’ll need to stop and clean off the blades often while mowing. Don’t be surprised when you pay three times as much the first week of June for a lawn mow.

After you do mow back down to normal length, your lawn is going to suffer. Grass blades typically get shocked if you trim more than 1/3 of the length in a week. Grass, like other plants, does not react well to losing most of the leaves they spent time and energy growing. This can result in patches in your lawn, yellowing, and slowed growth. This environment is perfect for the weeds to make their slow takeover. All the dandelions that matured over the month will have spread their seeds around your lawn (and your neighborhood), resulting in more weeds than before. The weeds will begin to compete for space and nutrients in your yard, killing off some of your grass.

Other organisms that could move into your grass are deer, rabbits, rodents, and snakes. Every year I hear of some poor teenager that was mowing the lawn for their parents and ran over a bunny or snake and learned about the circle of life the hard way. A more serious danger is fawns, yes Bambi can be dangerous. Getting too close to a hidden fawn in your yard could result in a mother deer seeing you, your child, or your pet as a threat to their fawn and may attack.

Now let’s talk pests. You may be okay with bees and butterflies in your lawn, but other pests will welcome themselves into your longer lawn too. Ticks and fleas will love the safe haven you’ve provided them. Especially the ticks (that carry Lyme and other diseases) that hitched a ride on the deer that likely took naps or grazed on your tall grass. Lyme disease can pose a serious health risk to you, your children, and your pets.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t save the bees, but there may be better options you can take to provide flowers in your yard to give them a source of nectar this summer.

Posted on May 16, 2023

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