Beyond No Mow May

Monday 30th May 2022

As we head towards the end of No Mow May, it is worth considering whether you could go further – how about leaving some of your lawn uncut until the end of the summer?

No Mow May is the successful campaign led by our friends at Plantlife – the message is simple, leave your lawn uncut for the month of May, and that will allow wildflowers to bloom.  This benefits plants, but also thousands of pollinating insects which rely upon flowers to survive.  Even common flowers in your lawn – like dandelions, clovers and yarrow – can be of huge benefit to bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other pollinators.

But the biodiversity of your lawn exists beyond May, and relies upon more than just the flowers.  There are a huge variety of pollinators, and these are active at different times of the year.  This means that ideally you should provide a source of nectar and pollen all the way from early spring to the Autumn.  In my lawn I can see that the Bird’s Foot Trefoil is yet to flower – it would be a shame to cut just before this useful plant gets its chance to bloom.  And if you want the flowers in your lawn to flourish you need to allow them to set seed, so please give them that opportunity.

Green Grasshopper (c) Darren Bradley

Beyond pollinators, there are lots of other animals that live amongst the long grass.  Grasshoppers and bush-crickets are the insects of long grass that first come to mind – they need the structure of the habitat, rather than the flowers.  Lots of spiders also need the long grass to provide a scaffold for their webs.  If you lie down in the long grass in summer you will find all sorts of lives playing out amongst the complex structure of the grasses, flowers and seed heads – butterflies and moths laying their eggs, shieldbugs searching for a mate, predatory beetles stalking their prey.

So, as we approach the end of No Mow May, before you reach for your mower have a thought for the wildlife that could benefit from a few more months of no-mow, and consider letting the grass grow long for longer.

We have lots of useful information about managing land for pollinators on our website:

How to create a meadow

How to manage your meadow

How to help pollinators in your garden

Slender Robberfly (c) Darren Bradley