Must you do No Mow Might? The professionals and cons… – The Center-Sized Backyard

April fifteenth, 2024
Posted In: Wildlife & eco

The fundamental concept of No Mow Might is straightforward. Simply don’t mow your garden in Might, which permits some wildflowers and weeds to bloom. This – together with longer grasses – offers useful nectar and habitat for pollinators simply when they’re hatching or popping out of hibernation. And so they in flip are a meals supply for birds, bats and different wildlife.

And it saves you effort and time.

It’s an initiative began by the charity, Plantlife. It has now unfold everywhere in the world.

‘Your garden is an eco-system,’ says Plantlife. There’s a posh community of funghi, worms and microbes within the soil. And the grass above has the potential to feed and shelter a variety of wildlife. Bugs are on the backside of the meals chain, and as much as 40% of our insect inhabitants is declining or in peril of extinction. That endangers our personal meals provides.

Is No Mow May right for your garden?

The primary causes are lack of habitat because of constructing and the usage of pesticides. However we will reclaim a few of that habitat by re-thinking how we deal with our lawns.

No Mow Might is a chance to seek out out what dwelling with a less-than-perfect garden is perhaps like. I feel one most important benefit is that it’s an experiment in approaching garden care in a different way. Should you don’t prefer it, you possibly can return to common mowing. You received’t injury your garden completely.

In some locations, rising your garden grass longer just isn’t permitted. Should you dwell in an space recognized for wildfires, then longer grass in dry climate might be both forbidden or unwise. There are additionally locations the place your garden top is regulated by bye-laws. You’ll have to vary your native laws if you wish to develop your grass longer.

Nonetheless, most of the different No Mow Might ‘issues’ are usually not essentially confirmed by scientific analysis.

This might be my third 12 months of doing No Mow Might, so this publish is predicated on each private expertise and analysis.

What to consider earlier than beginning

Man Jenkins of Johnson’s Garden Seed says that you need to firstly take into consideration what you utilize your garden for. When you have kids who play ballgames on it, for instance, then letting your complete garden develop lengthy just isn’t essentially going to be the most suitable choice for you.

He recommends leaving a part of the garden to develop lengthy reasonably than the entire garden.

Leave a part of your lawn to grow long

You’ll be able to depart part of your garden to develop lengthy. Each of those lengthy grass areas have been intentionally created as mini meadow areas. You’ll need to study find out how to flip garden into meadow because it does require extra than simply letting the grass develop. However letting some areas develop lengthy in No Mow Might could possibly be a straightforward approach of beginning to experiment with it?

‘Take into consideration what wildlife actually wants,’ says Man. ‘They’re extra probably to make use of a strip of longer grass that’s close to to shelter, for instance alongside a hedge or fence line, reasonably than an uncovered space within the centre of the grass. Distinction appears to be like good too – a drift of lengthy grass and flowers can look good surrounded by lower garden.’

That is echoed by wildlife backyard knowledgeable Joel Ashton in 5 straightforward wildlife backyard suggestions. He says that individuals typically place chook feeders in the course of gardens. Nonetheless, birds want feeders to be near shelter to allow them to make a fast escape if predators seem after they’re feeding.

Combine short and long grass in your lawn

A mixture of brief and longer grass at West Dean Gardens in Sussex. The highest photograph exhibits a intentionally created strip of meadow, whereas the photograph beneath it exhibits lengthy grass left to develop beneath outdated fruit timber. The adjoining garden is mown.

Is a garden dangerous for the atmosphere?

Some folks will let you know that you could maintain your garden good with weekly mowing, utilizing weed-killers, moss killers and fertilisers. Others will say you don’t want all these chemical compounds and mowing. And a 3rd group now declare that lawns are ‘inexperienced deserts’ and dangerous for the atmosphere.

Nonetheless, as David Hedges-Gower of the Garden Affiliation says ‘A garden is product of hundreds of vegetation.’

Planting hundreds of vegetation is at all times an excellent begin if you wish to be environmentally pleasant. However you might want to select the appropriate vegetation, which is able to develop properly in your space.

A garden absorbs rainwater and helps stops city drains from flash flooding. It additionally absorbs warmth, air pollution and carbon dioxide, and offers a house for worms and soil micro-organisms.

Nonetheless, common petrol mowing and/or irrigation plus the usage of fertilisers and pesticides can cancel out these environmental advantages.

Lawns are good for some environments, not for others…

Some climates are usually not appropriate for lawns. At any time when I verify the analysis behind the ‘lawns are inexperienced deserts’ articles and posts, I observe that it’s carried out in hotter, drier climates, normally within the Southern components of the USA.  In some components of America, watering the garden accounts for a excessive proportion of water use.

Within the UK and in different delicate climates, hardly anybody waters their lawns, even within the driest areas like mine.

One other downside is that US lawns primarily use grasses derived from European imports. Within the mistaken local weather and soil, you might have to work onerous to maintain these wanting good.

Within the UK, a lot of our lawns are constituted of native bents and fescues. They’ll thrive on fairly a little bit of neglect.

So, as with all gardening, it’s ‘proper plant, proper place.’

Grass-free lawn

You don’t want plenty of grass for a ‘garden.’ It is a backyard I visited earlier this 12 months. I seen that we had been strolling throughout one thing that seemed like a garden, nevertheless it was really clover, daisies and ajuga.

Can I mow earlier than No Mow Might?

Sure, the charity Plantlife, says that many wildflowers emerge finest from a brief garden. Mow your garden as standard in April until you might be encouraging spring wildflowers.

I’ve two patches of mini-meadow in my entrance backyard. These are for spring flowers, reminiscent of wild tulips and daffodils, primroses and violets. I’m planning so as to add cowslips. So I received’t mow these two patches till mid to late summer season.

After I spoke to go gardener of Nice Dixter, Fergus Garrett, he mentioned that variety is the important thing to rising biodiversity. Some species want brief grass and others want longer. Each approaches could be wildlife pleasant.

And in The Guide of Wilding by Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell, they are saying that brief grass mimics meadow areas grazed by herbivores. There’s a position for brief grass in wildlife pleasant gardens – however very, very brief grass has fewer advantages.

Some folks imagine {that a} garden is a ‘style’. However botanist James Wong says that human beings are descended from forest edge dwellers. We instinctively really feel most at residence with timber behind us and an space of open grassland forward.

On this context, ‘the garden’ is as outdated as humankind.

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What occurs when you cease mowing the garden?

Not a lot occurs within the first two weeks. The grass will get a bit longer. Daisies and clover must be the primary to flower.

You received’t get a garden full of lovely wild flowers in a single ‘No Mow Might’. Should you do need a meadow garden with wildflowers, you’ll have to actively create one, not simply cease mowing. See find out how to create a mini meadow backyard.

Some associates of mine as soon as sowed meadow wildflower seed of their empty raised beds. It created a ‘raised mattress meadow’ and seemed lovely for months at a time. This 12 months, I’m going to do that in my raised veg beds as a substitute of the grow-your-own. I’ll report again.

My lawn after 31 days No Mow May

My garden after 31 days of No Mow Might. You’ll be able to simply see a patch of buttercups close to the bench and nearer up you possibly can see clover and daisies flowering. Many lawns are designed to have a proportion of clover in them and the flowers are essential for a number of species of bee.

Which flowers do you get in No Mow Might?

Within the second two weeks, extra flowers will begin to seem. In my backyard, that is daisies, dandelions, buttercups, clover and yarrow. They’ve been joined by primroses and violets.

Man Jenkins says that when you’ve got a reasonably new garden, it’s unlikely to have any flowers rising. It’s going to simply be all grass.

Throwing packets of wildflower seed into the garden received’t assist as a result of garden grass could be very dense and it’s onerous for seeds to ascertain.

So that you received’t get the wonderful meadow of wildflowers promised by some advocates of No Mow Might.

However, for precisely the identical cause, your backyard is unlikely to be ‘overwhelmed with weeds’, as predicted by some critics of rising garden grass lengthy.

Sure, you’ll get a couple of extra weeds in Might in case you cease mowing. Once you begin mowing once more, the grass thickens up and begins to out-compete the weeds once more. We do have extra daisies and dandelions than we did, however they haven’t ‘overwhelmed’ the garden grass. Nor are they more likely to.

By the top of the 4 weeks, my garden grass was about 6″ excessive. Some folks would suppose it simply appears to be like overgrown.

However I beloved the best way that the backyard gave the impression to be buzzing with life after I went out very first thing within the morning. There gave the impression to be extra birdsong.

The effects of No Mow May on my lawn over nearly a year.

What the garden appears to be like like a 12 months after No Mow Might. As you possibly can see, the grass is longer in Might, however just isn’t essentially a ‘meadow.’ Nonetheless, the garden, one 12 months on, is okay. We’ve by no means used fertiliser or weed-killer on it, and we mow each 2-3 weeks besides in winter or throughout a drought once we don’t mow in any respect. It hasn’t been overwhelmed with weeds, though it definitely isn’t an ideal garden.

So why may No Mow Could also be a nasty concept?

Some folks say that rising your grass lengthy will encourage ticks.

There was a rise in ticks in gardens. Consultants imagine that that is primarily because of a rise in deer visiting gardens, as deer are main carriers of ticks.

Ticks are additionally extra related to woodland areas than lengthy grass. They want moist situations and longer grass could be too dry.

There was scientific analysis accomplished by the US Division of Agriculture (Forest Service), revealed in Science Day by day. It checked out whether or not ticks elevated in suburban gardens if the garden was allowed to develop lengthy. On the finish of the examine, no ticks had been present in any of the gardens.

In fact, one piece of analysis isn’t sufficient. Ticks carry some critical ailments. When you have deer visiting your backyard otherwise you dwell in a wooded space, you need to be ‘tick conscious’ no matter what you resolve to do together with your garden.

I’ve solely ever bought ticks from one backyard. It had plenty of timber however not a lot garden and nearly no lengthy grass

Ticks in gardens is a matter, and one we should always all keep conscious of.

However, to this point, it appears more likely to be a No Mow Might fable.

What occurs after No Mow Might?

There are two points to this. Firstly, what occurs to the wildlife that has loved your longer garden? Have you ever inspired it to flourish solely to desert it to a merciless world?

By June, the pure world is in full summer season mode. There’s extra greenery, flowers and habitat than earlier within the 12 months. Once you lower your garden, wildlife has an excellent probability of discovering different habitats and meals sources.

And you’ll actively backyard for biodiversity, ensuring your borders have wildlife-friendly vegetation in them. It doesn’t must be a wild-looking backyard, as you possibly can see from Nice Dixter’s lovely but biodiverse borders.

Great Dixter has beautiful borders and biodiversity.

Nice Dixter is understood for combining lovely borders with biodiversity. It has each brief lawns and longer grass in numerous components of the backyard.

In the case of the precise mowing, Plantlife suggest that you simply mow from the centre of the garden, working in direction of the sides. This provides small creatures, like frogs and toads, an opportunity to flee.

Should you mow all the best way spherical the sides to the center, then you would lure these within the centre.

Will I be capable of get my garden ‘again’?

Secondly, we’ve all learn or seen dire warnings of what’s going to occur to your garden after No Mow Might. I’ve seen the phrase ‘catastrophic’ used.

The issue is that this. You place the garden beneath pressure by letting the grass develop lengthy, then chopping it very brief in sooner or later. That can take off many of the grass ‘leaf’ space and depart simply the brown stalks.

If June is then a dry month, your grass will battle to develop. Weeds will discover it simpler to ascertain within the naked patches left.

Nonetheless, Man Jenkins says you possibly can keep away from putting your grass beneath this pressure by mowing it on the very best setting for the primary lower. ‘Then depart it at the least per week earlier than doing the second, shorter lower.’ This permits the grass to re-grow shorter leaves earlier than it’s lower actually brief. Disaster averted!

What happens after No Mow May?

What occurs after No Mow Might? We did lower our garden all the way down to brief in sooner or later, leaving some brown patches. However they recovered shortly as there was rain in June. You’ll be able to keep away from this by doing one longer lower after which a brief one per week later.

He additionally warns that in case you let your garden develop even longer – says for 2-3 months, then commonplace mowers could battle to do the primary lower. It’s possible you’ll must scythe or chop it down roughly first, then use a mower.

I’ve to confess that we lower our grass utterly brief in sooner or later, though this 12 months I’ll comply with Man’s recommendation. We’ve accomplished No Mow Might for 2 years. The primary one was two months earlier than the most popular summer season ever recorded within the UK, and there was additionally a drought.

However fortunately there was rain in June and the very brief brown patches had recovered. We didn’t mow it throughout the drought – and that’s necessary. Grass nearly stops rising in very dry climate, so that you shouldn’t must mow your garden.

Longer grass can be extra drought resilient. You don’t must water a longtime garden. It goes brown, then bounces again when the rain comes.

What are you able to do as a substitute of No Mow Might?

Should you’d prefer to have a extra wildlife pleasant garden, however don’t need a month of longer grass, you possibly can simply mow much less.

A tightly mown garden might be about 2″ excessive however you’ll must mow weekly to maintain it that approach, particularly if the climate is heat and moist.

However in case you maintain it a bit longer – as much as round 4″, you received’t must mow so typically. This may allow small flowers like clover and daisies to flower ‘beneath the mower’. It’s much less be just right for you.

I used to be lately studying a classic gardening e book. It referred to the ‘fortnightly mow.’ Mowing weekly could also be fairly a contemporary behavior.

You may also cease utilizing weedkillers and fertilisers. Should you typically depart the garden clippings on the garden, they are going to rot down and fertilise the garden.

And you’ll hand-weed. In case your garden grasses develop properly in your space, then they’re fairly good at out-competing weeds.

As soon as once more, if a garden will get too many weeds, it could be that the grass kind itself isn’t proper to your space. Think about altering your grass seed.

Which garden is best for you?

There’s extra right here about whether or not you want a excellent garden and the way you make it extra sustainable.

However I’ll definitely be doing No Mow Might once more this 12 months.

Above all, I feel it helps you realise that your garden is resilient, that it doesn’t matter if it’s not excellent. And also you don’t must mow it recurrently in case you don’t need to.

No Mow May - the myths and facts

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