Vampires of Michigan - the Roar of '84?
Peak Miami Vice: Smuggler's Blues

"No Mow May" leads to "Lawn Death June"

I figured the end of No Mow May would be unpleasant for the participants, but I did not foresee that we would have drought conditions at its conclusion.

It has not rained her for two weeks and the plants are starting to show stress.  For those who regularly maintain their lawns, the solution is simple: stop mowing.  I usually mow once a week, but without rain, I held off because cutting the grass causes it to lose moisture, and driving over it when it is dry and brittle cause further damage.  When it gets enough rain, the grass will rocket up, and then there will be a job to do.

However, for the No Mow May crowd, waiting is no longer an option.  The city has an ordnance about grass length, and while the good burghers will willing to look the other way for a fashionable cause, such dispensations could not be prolonged indefinitely.

Thus, as anyone with passing knowledge of lawn maintenance could have predicted, the result is that many formerly well-manicured yards are now trashed.  This is because mowing actually helps sustain the grass - without it, weeds will take over and over time, crowd it out.  In extreme cases, there isn't any actual grass left.   More commonly, there are now bare patches that will have to be replanted and watered.

Those without excessive weeks may be in worse shape, as the trauma inflicted on the grass during drought conditions has killed the lawn outright.

The lesson here is right out of G.K. Chesterton, which is that lawns, like fences, exist for a reason.  The promoters of the event bought into the false narrative that trimmed grass is somehow wasteful, or harmful to the environment.  In truth it is nothing of the sort.

Grass is a time-tested way to provide sustainable green spaces for outdoor recreation while minimizing harmful insect populations.  Even with the drought, tall grass supported high mosquito counts as well as ticks - which I'm sure the dog owners of the area did not appreciate.  Misleading statistics that compare it to farmland ignore the obvious fact that residential neighborhoods can't support production agriculture, but often do support vegetable gardens. 

That it is aesthetically pleasing is also nice, but not the point.  The point is that the alternative is much, much worse, which is why so many cities have ordinances regulating lawns.

I'll be curious to see how many people want to repeat this next year.  Having a dead yard is indeed a cross to bear, but I doubt many of the participants expected it.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)