During the month of May, the city of Red Wing is allowing residents to grow out their lawns in order to protect pollinator populations.
City Council Administrator Kay Khulmann explained how the movement works.
“Council President Becky Norton came forward with an idea called ‘No Mow May,’ which I hadn’t heard of. The idea behind it is how pollinators in the spring are not really up and active yet, so they are living in the grass. So if we don’t mow the grass then we won’t, by accident, kill some of our pollinators that we need,” Khulmann said.
Bee City U.S.A. is the organization that backs this idea with their goals to protect pollinators. According to their website, the No Mow May movement is a conservation initiative. The idea originated with an organization from the United Kingdom called PlantLife.
The Bee City U.S.A. website says, “The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow unmown for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. This is particularly important in urban areas where floral resources are often limited.”
Appleton, Wisconsin, became a hub for research because of its efforts to join No Mow May. Over 400 residents participated and Lawrence University conducted a study in the area on the impact of not mowing for an entire month.
“Not only were the abundance and richness of bees higher in the yards of properties participating in No Mow May, but they were way higher. Participating yards had three-times higher bee species richness and five-times higher bee abundance than nearby parks that had been mowed,” the website stated.
Red Wing is encouraging residents to participate this May.
“We are telling people, ‘You don’t have to mow in May if you don’t want to.’ The grass can grow higher than the 6-inch standard that the city usually sets,” Khulmann said.
Usually the city gives citations for overgrown lawns; however, during May, they will not be giving out citations or fines. The city’s parks and cemeteries will continue to be mowed by the city.
Khulmann said, “I hope people start to pay more attention to the science behind it because, for me, I didn’t really know about this until it was brought to my attention. Hopefully in the future we will be able to participate more fully within certain parks throughout the city.”