Eco experts encourage Canadians to let lawns grow this month
TIMMINS -- Lawn owners are welcome to slack on their lawn care this month, dubbed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada as 'Slow Mow May.'
The organization's media relations director said delaying your spring lawn trim or taking more time than usual to mow your lawn can give pollinating insects a running start to the season.
"Our lawns can be very important for nature, in terms of helping pollinators," said Andrew Holland. "By letting the flowers bloom on your lawn, including dandelions, you can provide an important source for nectar and pollen for wild bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects."
Holland also encourages people to stomp around their lawns before revving the mower or trimmer, to give the insects a chance to scurry away.
Communities usually have length limits for residential lawns, but he said posting and slowing your mow as much as possible can do wonders in supporting the pollinator population.
Reversing declining pollinator population
The population of pollinating insects, like bumblebees and wild bees, has been declining in Canada, particularly in Ontario, and so Holland said every home with a lawn or garden has a role to play in replenishing it.
The City of Timmins is a certified 'Bee City,' which comes with a commitment to protect these insects — and the city's environmental coordinator, Christina Beaton, said residents can participate by giving bees and butterflies the tools they need to do their jobs.
"Dandelions and the first flowering plants are the first food for the pollinators," Beaton said. "Anything that you can do to bring flowers and bring pollinators to the city is beneficial and every small impact makes a large impact if we're all doing it together."
Steps like planting a small garden and reducing the use of pesticides are important as well, she said.
A year-round effort
Lawn care — or a slight lack thereof — is a great place to start getting into the eco-friendly spirit, she said, but the key is also making adjustments throughout the year.
"The important thing is to plant flowers that will bloom in all three seasons so that we're supporting pollinators throughout all of the seasons," Beaton said.