Don’t Mow a Section of Your Lawn and Watch What Happens

Posted on March 22, 2016
Monarch Butterfly by Marie-Ann Daloia

Monarch Butterfly by Marie-Ann Daloia,, used with permission.

Ever wonder what would happen if you decided not to mow part or all of your lawn? Well, something amazing of course! Over the course of one to two years, native wildflowers and grasses will begin to grow. Even a small area will provide benefits!

  • habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife
  • infiltration area for storm water
  • soil erosion

Places that are not mowed are valuable components of sustainable landscapes.

Perhaps you have or want to grow a vegetable garden? By not mowing the lawn that surrounds it, you will attract many beneficial insects and birds that help keep unwanted pests under control. Maybe even reducing, and possibly eliminating, the need for chemical insecticides.

Another benefit to letting your lawn grow is that the soil will maintain more moisture. This in turn will help the trees and plants handle the long dry summer months better.

Maintaining a smaller amount of mowed lawn will not only save time and money, but is critically important in protecting pollinators, which need our help. Pollinating insect populations are on a sharp decline due to habitat loss. According to the NH Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. A mowed lawn also does not provide food for birds, in the form of seed heads and insects.

So try this experiment with your kids or for yourself. Choose an area of your lawn and stop mowing it. Over time observe with your children the changes that are happening. Together you can watch something amazing happen!

This article was written by Laura Deming, Senior Biologist and Traci Bisson, UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardener.