Why the media storm on No Mow May?

Posted on Friday, May 5th, 2023

Written by GTI Admin

a woman shouting into a megaphone
Why are we being so vocal against #NoMowMay?

Why is the Guelph Turfgrass Institute against the #NoMowMay movement? 


Long story short: we want homeowners to have living, healthy green spaces. 

What we DON'T want is for a homeowner to participate in this movement, ruin their lawn, and then opt to rip out their turf and put in a patio. #NoMowMay is a feel-good hashtag that's spreading across the world. We recently reached out to media outlets and townships promoting the campaign and asked them to pump the brakes on the campaign that is telling homeowner to put away their mowing equipment for the month of May. 

Let's share the alternative slogan, #GrassIsGreen! Lawns and grassy spaces are offering:

  • Water filtration
  • Soil creation and carbon sequestration
  • Dust trapping
  • Cooler climates
  • Reduced flooding
  • Protection from fleas, ticks, mosquitos, rodents, etc

If you have a vendetta against lawns, it's probably because you don't have kids or dogs playing outside. If you have lawn around your home and DON'T use it to walk or play on, then replanting that area with alternatives like clover, English daisy, or wild strawberry can provide all of the above benefits, and support pollinators. Keep it green, and keep it mowed. Those height restriction bylaws were put into place for your safety, not aesthetics. 


1) mow as needed to keep grass healthy 2) establish year-round pollen sources 3) created undisturbed nesting sites

Here are the facts:

  • May looks very different across the country. Some experts are concerned about tall grasses being a fire hazard in British Columbia while Nova Scotia still had snow this week. We can't apply one catchy slogan to this vast and diverse system.
  • Grasses are healthiest when mowed regularly. Cutting height is dependant on your personal preference and how you use the space, but we know that grasses evolved with herbivores and they GROW MORE when CUT. 
  • Pollinators need better food. Dandelions won't provide a complete diet to our native pollinators, so we recommend planting native species that are hardy in your growing zone. Trees in the willow, rose/apple, and maple families all flower early in the season and provide very nutritious pollen. Tip: select plants that will flower at different times to create a season-long buffet for them.
  • Do not cut more than 1/3 of the plant. Cutting too much grass at once can cause harm to the growing point (called scalping), thus causing thinning and weed invasion later in the season. 
  • Biodiversity can be great and not-so great. If you are looking to attract pollinators to your yard, be prepared for what comes with it. A naturalized corner of your yard, or a leaf pile or wood pile can create a habitat for many different insects and animals to make a home. This includes biting/stinging insects and animals that you may want to avoid. We recommend to stay out of naturalized areas, and putting a 1m "buffer zone" around naturalized areas to keep yourself and the mini-ecosystem safe. 

You can listen to Dr. Eric Lyons, Dr. Katerina Jordan, and Dr. Sara Stricker on the various media platforms below.

The Weather Network: https://www.theweathernetwork.com/en/news/preview/master-30/is-no-mow-may-really-a-good-idea-here-in-canada

CBC Edmonton: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-52-radio-active/clip/15982693-is-science-behind-initiative-naturally-grow-lawn-flawed

980 CFPL London: https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/CORU5047048912?selected=CORU4777265639

CTV News Kitchener: https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/why-grass-experts-say-no-mow-may-might-be-a-bad-idea-for-local-lawns-1.6376163

900 CHML Hamilton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztbw1jEMiPA&t=2s

CityNews Ottawa: https://ottawa.citynews.ca/2023/05/02/podcast-the-sam-laprade-show-hour-1-may-2nd-2023/

Sudbury.com: https://www.sudbury.com/local-news/no-mow-may-yeah-maybe-not-says-university-of-guelph-expert-6918211

CKBW Radio, Nova Scotia: https://www.ckbw.ca/2023/05/05/to-mow-or-not-to-mow/

We suggest planting native plants, like trees and flowers, in yards to have a lasting impact. Many plants bloom before dandelions and are more nutritious

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