No Mow May aids pollination 

MOUNT DESERT — Don’t feel like getting the lawn mower out quite yet? 

Well, now you have a good reason for leaving it in the garage a few more weeks. It’s called No Mow May. 

The idea is to let grass grow uncut during the month of May to provide habitat and forage for bees and other springtime pollinators. Started in 2019 by Plantlife, a wild plant conservation group in England, it has been adopted by communities in a number of countries.  

Abstaining from mowing in May is strictly voluntary; you can mow as often as you like. 

John Macauley, chair of the Mount Desert Select Board, expressed support for No Mow May at the board’s meeting last week. 

“It promotes pollination and is helpful for beneficial species,” he said, adding that refraining from mowing for a month also reduces carbon emissions. 

“I wanted to throw it out there in a public forum as something for people to consider,” he said. 

Elly Andrews, director of the Northeast Harbor Library, said last Thursday that she and her staff have designated an area of the library’s grounds as a “no mow” zone for May.  

She noted that the library is already certified by the organization Monarch Watch as a monarch butterfly waystation.  

The Bar Harbor Garden Club issued a statement last Friday saying it “endorses practices that create a pollinator-friendly community on MDI by supporting initiatives like No Mow May and plants that are pesticide free. These efforts help to support and protect pollinator populations of native bees, honeybees, butterflies, beetles and ants.” 

The garden club said the No Mow May initiative not only encourages homeowners to refrain from mowing, but also from using fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides on their lawns early in the growing season to provide pollinators with food sources including dandelions.  

“Although dandelions are not native to North America, they are extremely high in the amino acid, lysine, which is very important in proper brood development of honeybees,” the club said, and encouraged gardeners to buy pesticide-free plants. 

Mount Desert 365, in its online newsletter on Tuesday, encouraged residents to join the No Mow May movement “to help bees along their journey and, in the process, help these pollinators do their job of growing better gardens.”  

The city of Rockland is encouraging residents to forego mowing next month.  

Not mowing lawns in May allows many more flowers to bloom in the lawn, and these flowers are crucial forage for spring-emerging bees,” says a page on the city’s website. 

“Maine has 17 species of bumblebees, which carry out crucial pollination services, and several of these species are in decline. No Mow May goes hand in hand with our ordinance (passed last year) phasing out lawn pesticides. We are identifying areas in our local parks that will be left unmown in May, as well as spaces well-suited to promoting wildflowers.” 

According to the organization Pollinator Partnership, “pollinators are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food.” 



Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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