How often do you get a chance to accomplish something good by doing nothing? By taking it easy on lawn mowing for at least a few weeks in spring, we can help provide a favorable habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
The Village of Westmont has taken a formal step toward encouraging this behavior with its “No Mow Till Mother’s Day” program. The Environmental Improvement Commission (EIC) proposed, the Public Works Committee recently recommended, and the Village Board approved, a resolution to launch the program.
Westmont residents are invited to register online. Once enrolled, they will not be subject to lawn-mowing code enforcement through Mother’s Day, May 9. After that date, regular enforcement resumes.
People may even choose to designate a specific small section of their yard for the no-mow event. The village will provide and deliver yard signs to explain the reason for the taller grass and “weedy” species like white clover, violets and dandelions.
“Pollinators are essential to the success of our environment,” said Jon Yeater, who helped launch the program. Many species of pollinators live on lawns after they emerge from hibernation in the spring, he said. By not mowing during this critical time, pollinator habitat is left mostly undisturbed, which allows the flowers that pollinators rely on to grow at a time when resources might otherwise be scarce.
The first initiative of its kind in the DuPage area, the program was inspired by a similar one in Appleton, Wisconsin, which focused on giving bees a boost. Appleton’s 2020 “No Mow May” lawns found a fivefold increase in bee abundance and a threefold increase in bee diversity in June, compared to nearby parkland that was mowed regularly.
Pollinator- and butterfly-friendly lawn and garden practices help replace habitat lost to development, and provide a way for people and pollinators to happily thrive together. Timing lawn mowing for the benefit of early spring pollinators is an important step in promoting their recovery.
Who can argue with being lazy if not doing something will help the butterflies and bees?