Mowing tips for encouraging wildlife
Cut once every four weeks: The 2019 No Mow May experiment revealed the highest number of flowers on lawns mown in this way. Ideally, leave around 3-5cm of grass length.
Leave areas of long grass: This results in greater diversity of flowers in areas of grass that are left completely unmown, with oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed offering up important nectar sources.
You don’t have to stop mowing completely: Some species, such as daisy and bird’s foot trefoil, are adapted to growing in shorter swards. Cutting flowers from these plants once a month stimulates them to produce more blooms.
And it’s not just a belief: there’s now proof. Following the launch of No Mow May in 2019, figures show that if you mow less, the pollen count on your lawn can skyrocket: changing the way we mow can result in a tenfold increase in the amount of nectar available to bees and other pollinators.
The statistics for wildflower meadow loss are shocking: around 7.5 million acres have gone. The loss of this landscape means a loss of food source for pollinators, which is one of the key drivers of their decline.
The ultimate concept of No Mow May is not really to stop mowing in May specifically, or to leave whole swathes of your lawn unmown. Behind the catchy title is a simple concept: get people to change their habits so that they mow less – ideally once a month – and possibly even leave a patch or two of grass to grow long. Gardens can really make a difference to the number of wildflowers in this country.