Got dandelions? Why you should let them grow, along with your grass
'No Mow May' is an idea that started in the U.K. but is starting to gain “steam” here in Canada, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
“(It’s) a way to offer pollinators more food, early-on in the springtime,” Jensen Edwards, spokesperson for the NCC told CTV News in an interview Friday.
Edwards said letting your grass and plants grow at this time of year will help the bee population, and can save you time!
“On average, a household with a lawn spends about 20 hours of their year looking after their grass,” said Edwards.
Plus, the NCC estimates there are 6.2 million lawns in Canada.
“They’re almost more like an extension of the carpet in our living room,” said Edwards. “That’s a lot of green space all those lawns but they’re not necessarily productive green spaces for the nature around us.”
The NCC is encouraging Canadians to convert all or part of their lawn into a garden with flowers and plants.
“If we can get people to even convert 10 or 20 per cent of their lawn into a native species garden, which is a lot less maintenance, we’re talking about taking a million lawns out of the equation,” according to Edwards.
And with the help of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, green thumbs can pick the best plants for Windsor-Essex. The agency has a “Grow Me Instead” program.
“It compares plants that we are familiar with that aren’t necessarily native with plants that achieve similar aesthetics in your yard perhaps but they’re actually native here so they’ll grow better,” said Edwards.
The NCC estimates there are 800 different species of bees on the continent and not all of them have evolved to seek out common weeds in Windsor-Essex like dandelions.
For residents who do avoid lawn-cutting in the month of May, a word of warning from the city about their yard maintenance bylaw.
“Grass has to be maintained below 30 centimetres or 12 inches,” said Kevin Kuprowski, a bylaw enforcement officer with the city.
Kuprowski said yard maintenance enforcement is based on complaints to the city.
“We give them seven days’ notice, if isn’t complied with we would have to do the clean-up ourselves and charge on the clean-up and administration fees,” said Kuprowski.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has more tips on how to attract pollinators here.