No Mow May a starting point for Manitobans to naturalize their yards: Nature Conservancy of Canada

A new initiative has started to sweep across the world calling on people to hold off on their spring cleanup to protect their backyard ecosystem.

No Mow May calls on people to leave their lawns and yards alone so that the insects and creatures in the yards have the ability to properly adjust to the warming weather.

“The idea sprung from the thought of giving a chance for your plants and your yards to wake up in the spring before you clean up your gardens or mow your lawns, to give some of the insects and species that live in the debris a chance to come out of hibernation and move around,” said Rebekah Neufeld, the manager of conservation, science and planning with the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Manitoba Region.

While the slogan – No Mow May – encourages people to hold off mowing for as long as possible, Neufeld said they want to see people expand on that thought and create a natural habitat in their yards.

“By just making small changes in our backyards we can kind of help conserve some of those species and give them a better chance to thrive.”

She said depending on where people live, they could have a variety of insects that call their yards home. Even small creatures like frogs could rely on how people care for their yards, she said.

Neufeld suggests people plant flowers and other plants that are natural to the area and can help the ecosystem thrive.

“It is also a really good chance for people to see and be more aware of the really cool plants and the nature in their backyard and maybe build that connection to nature close to home.”

A spokesperson for the City of Winnipeg said the city encourages biodiversity in people’s yard.

“Beneficial insects need a well-rounded habitat with a diversity of native species which would not commonly occur in a residential lawn or even a no mow area. The best way to meet the needs of beneficial insects is to dedicate a portion of your yard to them through the creation of year-round pollinator habitat by planting a native wildflower garden,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Neufeld said if everyone takes little steps toward cultivating a more vibrant ecosystem in their backyards, it could have a significant impact on nature as a whole.

“People will likely start seeing a lot more species in their backyards. So they could have pollinators that could support your gardens…you might see a lot more birds and other wildlife that are able to thrive in the area.”

Neufeld and the city said if people want more ideas on what to plant, they should talk to their local garden centres, with the city adding people should avoid big box stores that offer wildflower mixes.