Making its return this month is “No Mow May.” This initiative aims to promote the health of bees and other pollinators in Michigan. Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti’s city councils unanimously voted to support the No Mow May initiative, which would allow residents to let their lawns grow between 6 to 12 inches this month.
The cities will suspend enforcement of local regulations mandating lawns be cut before they grow over a foot tall for the month of May. According to the resolution passed on May 2, the council is encouraging property owners to not cross the threshold of one foot.
What happens when No Mow May is over?
While some city council members are on board, others shared their concerns. “How do we recover from that when people have 18-inch grass in their yard, and as soon as May is over and they don’t cut the grass it gets enforced?” Council Member Steve Wilcoxen asked as the resolution was discussed.
Wilcoxen said he was on board with the benefits for pollinators, but wondered if encouraging taller grass might result in more fossil fuel-related emissions when residents end up reining in lawns with power tools at the end of the month.
However, the city passed the No Mow May with a slight change from the previous year.
This year, Ann Arbor officials have reworked the No Mow May messaging with a “Pollinator-Aware Yard Care” campaign. It encourages property owners to adopt year-round practices to support native pollinators. This includes avoiding chemical lawn applications, leaving fall leaves on the ground, and reducing yard space dedicated to turf grass.
No Mow May stems from the popularization of it in the United Kingdom. Other parts of Washtenaw County have taken the same approach and have been sanctioned to some extent by Michigan cities like Ann Arbor, Jackson, East Lansing, and Royal Oak.