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Why Stop Mowing Your Lawn and What Happens When You Don’t Mow

Your bright green lawn may look lush, but it’s actually an ecological wasteland.

“The idea of ​​this ideal lawn is that nothing else can live there,” said David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, a nonprofit conservation organization. “It’s like a dense, eternally green carpet.”

As our communities have encroached on wildlands, this cut turf has spread over tens of millions of acres across the United States, displacing native plants and leaving butterflies, birds and bees with fewer options. places to feed, rest and nest. As a result, their populations plummeted.

But let your grass grow a few inches and some of that wildlife will start to return. That’s the idea behind the “No Mow” movement, a campaign in the United States and Britain to stop the use of herbicides, pesticides and energy-guzzling lawn mowers during the month of May.

This is a good first step, but there are many things you can do to make your garden more welcoming to pollinators and other creatures.

Here’s how:

A true pollinator lawn or garden will feed, shelter, and act as a nursery for wildlife all year round, but it will require more work than simply storing your mower for a month. You will need to research native plants suitable for your area and not just rely on what will grow if you let your grass grow. A lot pollinators only feed on the nectar of specific plants.

But making the effort to convert even part of your yard helps restore much-needed habitat.

“A quarter of an acre of land is not going to reverse the trend of decline in songbirds or pollinators,” Mizejewski said. “But if thousands or even millions of us are doing this, just do the math. It adds up.

Have you started transforming your lawn? We’d love to see how it goes.

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About this story

Editing by Ana Campoy, Joe Moore and Monica Ulmanu. Copy edited by Melissa Ngo. Additional support from Julie Vitkovskaya.