No Mow May – Alexandria, Minnesota

Registration is now CLOSED for No Mow May 2024.  Sign up here by May 1st to reserve your yard sign.  Registration closes May 15th, 2024.

Participate in Alexandria, Minnesota’s  No Mow May program! No Mow May encourages residents who live in owner-occupied or rented properties to allow flowering plants to bloom that provide habitat and nutrition for early-season pollinators by pausing mowing their lawn during the month of May.  The City Council passed a Resolution of Support for No Mow May at its April 10, 2023 meeting, temporarily suspending its turf and weed ordinances related to lawn height for participating properties.  Properties must come back into compliance by June 1st, 2024.

Registration closes May 15th for the 2024 program!  Sign up by May 15th to ensure your yard is included in No Mow May this year.

Yard signs will be available to those who register by May 1st, 2024.  Participants who register by May 1st can pick up their yard sign (*Limit one per household) from 8:00 a.m. – noon at the U of M Extension Office at 305 8th Avenue West, in Alexandria, Minnesota; please call 320-762-3890, before going to pick up signs.

Signs will be available to registrants after May 1st on a first-come first-serve basis as quantity is limited.

Missed out on Alexandria No Mow May signs?  Participants can print a free sign from Bee City USA’s No Mow May website to display.

Want to know what to do with your sign after May?  Save it!  The sign is meant to be used for multiple years, so consider stowing it in a closet, garage, or basement after May, for future use in the years to come.  If you don’t expect to participate in No Mow May again, consider dropping off your sign at Alexandria City Hall (704 Broadway) so it can be reused.

Benefits of No Mow May: Participating in No Mow May supports all of Minnesota’s pollinators – Minnesota pollinators include native bees, butterflies, ants, flies, beetles, birds, and more!  Avoid mowing in early spring and during the month of May to protect overwinter habitat for threatened bee populations and other pollinators, while allowing flowering plants to grow rich in nectar and other key nutrients that serve as food for our pollinator friends during a time when needed most.  In areas, like Alexandria, pollinator habitat and food sources are relatively sparse this time of year – by joining No Mow May, you can help support the health and diversity of native pollinator populations by providing the resources needed for pollinators to thrive.

June – Return to Mow Tips: When you start mowing again in June, learn from the UMN about mowing best practices for a healthy lawn. Best practices for bringing your grass back down to a reasonable height while keeping it healthy include:

  • Mow late in the day or when grass is dry
  • Mow down in small increments (never more than 1/3 of grass blade’s height at one time)
  • Rake up excessive clippings to prevent them from going into streets.  This protects your local water quality and keeps storm drains clear.

To Help Pollinators Year-round:

  • Mow less – instead of mowing your lawn every single week, or even multiple times a week, mow every 2 to 3 weeks.  Mowing stresses your grass and creates unhealthy lawns if mowed too frequently.  Lawns mowed every 3 weeks can have as much as 2.5x more lawn flowers, and support a greater number of pollinators (UMass-Amherst, 2018).
  • Mow higher – consider keeping your lawn 3.5-4.5 inches in height.  Taller grass holds more moisture, is less prone to stress, and better hides plants like clover and dandelion that pollinators need.
  • Water  your lawn 1″ (in volume) per week in the early morning or late evening, and avoid watering during rain events.
  • Water your lawn all at once rather than in smaller quantities more frequently.  This can disrupt pollinators and other insects, and stress your lawn during periods of drought.
  • Allow some flowering plants to persist in your lawn; tolerate clover and dandelions.  To provide plenty of food sources from spring and throughout fall, avoid de-weeding your entire yard – no need to pull up all those ‘evil’ patches of clover or rid your lawn of all those ‘pesky’ dandelions.  These are a favorite food source for many of MN’s threatened pollinators, including several bee species.
  • Limit or cease use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Use organic sources sparingly instead.
  • Ready to re-seed your grass lawn?  Consider prioritizing fine fescue over Kentucky bluegrass.  Fine fescue is slow growing while KY bluegrass requires more frequent mowing.
  • Consider applying for Minnesota’s Lawns to Legumes program.

by Amy Riedel

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