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Why do we need No Mow May?

We’ve lost approximately 97% of flower-rich meadows since the 1930’s and with them gone are vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

But your lawn can help! A healthy lawn with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground. With over 20 million gardens in the UK, even the smallest grassy patches add up to a significant proportion of our land which, if managed properly, can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate.

This is why Plantlife calls for people to get involved with #NoMowMay every year, and let wild plants get a head start on the summer.

Best of all, to reap these benefits all you have to do is not mow your lawn in May and beyond!

Featured image, No Mow May 2023 participant Susie Dickinson’s lawn.

How to take part

  • Register your lawn or green space. Click here – this helps us to better understand the total number and size of lawns the UK is letting grow for nature.
  • Do nothing and let your lawn grow this May… and beyond.

Other things you can do instead (only if you want to):

  • Share with everyone that you are joining the movement, and your lawn’s progress throughout the month using #NoMowMay. Follow and tag us on Instagram, Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.
  • Encourage others to join the movement. Tell them about the benefit of having a wilder lawn, and that outdated Victorian lawns are a thing of the past.
  • Learn more about wildflowers, wildlife and the environment.
  • Find out how you can create a haven for wild plants and creatures in your garden.

Join the Movement

Help us to better understand the total number and size of lawns the UK is letting grow for nature.

No Mow May Map

See the Postal Code area map of those who join the movement. Be the first in your area to participate.

Resources

How to Guides

Plantlife’s Guide to a Nature Friendly Lawn
A meadow with Oxeye daisies, lush green grass and woodlands in the background

Plantlife’s Guide to a Nature Friendly Lawn

No Mow May is the perfect starting point to get your greenspace on track for a wild summer. Learn more about how to manage your wild lawn all year round!

Simple Ways to Increase the Number of Wildflowers in Your Lawn
Clover, Selfheal and Birds-foot Trefoil all growing on a short lawn

Simple Ways to Increase the Number of Wildflowers in Your Lawn

Not as many wildflower in your lawn as you expected this year? Here are some tips from Plantlife’s wildflower experts to help you create a blooming bonanza!

Go Wild in the Garden with these Gardening Jobs
A blossoming garden lawn full of wildflower

Go Wild in the Garden with these Gardening Jobs

If you want to create a home for wildlife in your garden, here’s a couple of nature-friendly gardening jobs to inspire you. If you create the right space, nature will come.

6 Ways to Join No Mow May with no Garden

6 Ways to Join No Mow May with no Garden

As well as bringing back the blooms to our lawns, there are many ways you can get involved in No Mow May, even if you don’t have a garden.

Wildlife to Spot in Your No Mow May Lawn
A Cinnabar Moth rests on a long blade of lawn grass, image by Pip Gray

Wildlife to Spot in Your No Mow May Lawn

It’s not just our wonderful wildflowers which benefit from not mowing our lawns this May. Pollinators and other wildlife bring our gardens to life with buzzing and fluttering along our lawns, borders and hedges.

Grazing to Save Wild Plants, From Eryri to our Garden Lawns

Grazing to Save Wild Plants, From Eryri to our Garden Lawns

What do the peaks of the Eryri mountains and our garden lawns have in common? Robbie Blackhall-Miles, Plantlife’s Vascular Plant expert, explains how grazing works to protect our most species-rich habitats.

FAQ

  • My lawn is very small, will it matter if I take part?

    Yes, please join in! Collectively as garden owners and green space managers we can have a huge impact on biodiversity by letting every patch of grass flourish throughout the summer. Whether you have a postage stamp yard or a rambling estate, we can all make a difference in our own way.

  • I don’t have a garden, can I still take part?

    Yes. If you don’t have a lawn, you could pledge to leave another green space unmown, such as field or a space at your place of work. Or you could join with others and participate as a community.

  • How do I identify any bees or other pollinators that visit?

    There are around 270 different species of wild bee in Britain and they can be pretty tricky to identify. For bumblebees, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust have produced a wonderful identification guide here. For butterflies, see the rather lovely Butterfly Conservation identification guide here.

  • What about ticks? Will they appear in my garden and transmit Lyme disease?

    Ticks are very small insects that spread a serious bacterial infection called Lyme disease. The ticks live on mammals such as hedgehogs, badgers and foxes and then drop off into long grass and vegetation, where we can pick them up and become infected. If you are bitten by a tick look out for flu-like symptoms such as feeling hot and shivery, headaches, aching muscles or feeling sick, and a circular red rash around the tick bite.

    The occurrence of ticks in gardens is increasing, so you should wear long trousers and examine yourself carefully for ticks whenever you’ve been in long grass or other long vegetation.

    In areas where ticks are prevalent, consider maintaining a shorter grass lawn mown once every four weeks. For more information see www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease and www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk

  • What do I do after May? Do I have to mow my lawn?

    We encourage everyone gardening for nature to cut less for longer. Results from our previous No Mow May surveys show that keeping two to three different lengths of grass throughout the summer will maximise the diversity and quantity of flowers and the nectar they produce:

    Leave some areas of long grass completely unmown all year to let taller flowers like Oxeye Daisy and Field Scabious come into bloom.  These long grasses provide valuable feeding material, shelter, and nesting sites for species such as hedgehogs and toads – connecting them across our landscape.

    Mid length ‘meadow’ areas are mown with cuttings collected just 2-3 times per year outside of April-August. They allow taller growing summer flowers to flourish like Meadow Cranesbill, Musk Mallow, knapweeds and scabiouses.

    For the rest of the lawn, you can keep the grass shorter by mowing once every month to a height of 1 or 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm). This allows smaller plants such as daisies and Bird’s-foot-trefoil to flower in profusion, providing a fabulous food source.

  • My Local Authority committed to No Mow May and I have seen them cut the grass in May, what can I do about this?

    We understand this may seem frustrating, however, there might be reasons for local authorities to cut in the month of May despite committing to No Mow May. Which are: 

    Safety first 

    Many road verges are regularly cut to maintain clear lines of visibility and safe pullover zones, this is particularly crucial at junctions and on tight bends where visibility is low. 

    Restorative Management 

    In some cases, verges that are being restored for wildflowers may need more frequent cutting and removal of cuttings. This gradually leads to naturally lower levels of soil fertility that can support a greater biodiversity. Mowing can be less often and later following this restorative phase of management. 

    Contractual Obligation 

    Local authorities will often use contractors to manage road verges and may be committed to long term contracts which stipulate certain specifications. The maintenance contracts in place may pre-date a local authorities’ commitments to No Mow May.   

    Check your council’s website for more detail. If information is lacking, you could send your council an email directly to challenge their management practice and link them to our Best Practice Guide for Managing Grassland Road Verges. See here for more detail and for successful case studies.