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Why grass experts say No Mow May might be a bad idea for local lawns


No Mow May campaigns are about to kick off, but experts at the University of Guelph warn that letting your grass grow could do more harm than good.

The No Mow May campaign was first popularized in the United Kingdom with a simple concept – let your grass grow throughout the month of May to help insect pollinators.

But experts believe not mowing your lawn could cause a turf war within the turf.

“That might seem, in theory, like a good idea. But what's going to end up happening is you're going to have competition and overcrowding and self-shading. Self-shading is when you have plants within a community that shade each other,” said Katerina Jordan with the Guelph Turfgrass Institute.

The institute said leaving your grass untouched can lead to more turf troubles.

“You're actually really increasing your chances for weeds and you're making it much harder to maintain that lawn that you're going to enjoy for the rest of the year,” warned Eric Lyons, another expert at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute.

Weeds don’t only make your grass look bad, they can also harm your lawn.

“The number one weed you often find in lawns is dandelions. And the Nature Conservancy of Canada will even back me up on this – dandelions are an incomplete food source for pollinators. And they're not even native,” said Sarah Stricker, at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. 

For those who do not want to use their grass as a space to help pollinators, there are options.

“You can mix in low mow flowers. Clover is a perfect example. So there is no problem with having a grass and clover mix. And the beauty of clovers is you can mow it. So again, no reason to just leave it be for an entire month,” said Jordan.

Experts believe a No Mow campaign makes more sense when there’s little rain and extended periods of high heat – something May isn’t necessarily known for.

While No Mow July may not roll off the tongue the same way – it could stop you from having to roll out fresh sod. Top Stories

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