No Mow May: Can you give bees a treat this May?

No Mow May: Can you give bees a treat this May?

Wigan Borough residents are being encouraged to leave the mower in the shed throughout May as part of a scheme to help the environment.

Wigan Council has been making preparations over the winter for the ‘No Mow May’ initiative on various greenspaces throughout the borough to increase biodiversity

It was this time last year at the start of the pandemic when the council’s Naturalising the Borough project was born as part of efforts to attract wildlife and rare species of wildflowers.

This latest campaign, promoted by conservation charity Plantlife, builds on the increased biodiversity already achieved during the last 12 months and seeks to encourage pollinators, such as bees, by providing more nectar across gardens in the borough.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council’s director for environment, said: “While the pandemic has challenged many of us like never before, one positive has been shining a light on how a reduced mowing regime can improve biodiversity immeasurably and encourage new wildlife into the borough.

“The break in the grass cutting service has allowed us to revaluate and spot an opportunity to further develop our Climate Change Strategy.

“I’d encourage residents to take up the challenge. Not only could it result in enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators but you’ll be able to put your feet up in the spring sunshine and be more likely to spot a greater variety of flowers popping up in your garden.”

One of the best ways to provide the best ‘haircut’ for a lawn is a ‘mohican’ style – meaning some grass is left to grow long, but the rest is cut relatively short, having a trim once a month as this allows for more diversity and more flowers for nectar.

But if residents do want the lawn short, one way of getting involved is raising the mower blade slightly to allow short species to grow such as clover.

Building on research, Plantlife conducted the largest-ever survey of the lawn and this found that simple changes in mowing can result in enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators.

The survey found that 80% of lawns supported the equivalent of around 400 bees a day from the nectar sugar produced by flowers such as dandelion, white clover and selfheal. Furthermore, over 200 species were found flowering on lawns including rarities such as meadow saxifrage, knotted clover and eyebright.

Condensed mowing has been trialled in areas like Golborne Park, Norley Quarry/Rosehill Park, Lodge Road playing field, East Lancs Road verges, Walmsley Park and Amberswood Common.

It has allowed for wildflowers such as the Red Clover, Bush Vetch, Cow Parsley and the cuckoo flower to blossom.

While the council has identified areas where truncated mowing regimes could be of most benefit, core grass cutting services on sport pitches and general weed control will be unaffected.

Posted on Friday 9th April 2021

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