ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — No Mow May, started by climate activists in the United Kingdom has grown in popularity throughout COVID.
While the motivation is pure, it isn’t without flaws according to Laurie Broccolo, the owner and CEO of Broccolo Landscaping.
“So you don’t mow for a month? Okay? That’s great. Great intention. But then you start to create this little habitat and then go in and just completely ruin it,” said Broccolo. “Imagine having a forest of animals living and then you just clear-cut their woods.”
Like other advocates for natural lawns, she doesn’t expect anyone to tear up their lawn and start from scratch.
“The better thing to do is to plan out a no-mow area,” said Broccolo. “Work with what you have.”
It’s important that you also check local ordinances before making any decisions as Broccolo has had to go to court before for her customers.
“A mowed border is enough to give you that sense of okay, there’s a purpose for this […] just that is enough to allow this to become a landscape design versus an unkept property,” said Broccolo.
One such instance wasn’t in court but before a preservation board in Rochester when Broccolo and her team were hired to redo the front yard of a Park Avenue resident.
We had to go to the preservation board with our design and we really needed to get this approved,” said Broccolo. “When talking to neighbors the ones that objective to it they had in their mind that this Park Avenue area to be preserved was always lawns.”
According to Broccolo though, that wasn’t always the case. While the idea of a lawn has been around for a few hundred years, it really took off in the post-WWII economic boom in the United States.
“It wasn’t always lawns. They were gardens, Ellwanger Gardens, George Eastman Gardens. That’s what people’s yards were in the 1800s,” said Broccolo.
History often will find a way of repeating itself it seems. Overall, the point stands. ‘No Mow May’ while well-intentioned according to Broccolo, implementing a long-term natural space in your yard will be the far more impactful way to help out the local ecosystem.
If you’re interested in learning more about native plants, and natural lawns Laurie will be a keynote speaker at an upcoming conference at Cornell University on Sustainable Landscapes and Integrated Pest Management on June 15.