A bee is seen landing on a blueberry plant in a Deblois filed in this 2017 file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Lamoine has become the second known town to encourage its residents to take part in “No Mow May.”

A “No Mow May” initiative was endorsed in Rockland earlier this month, and is a movement that encourages people to let their lawns grow freely throughout the month of May.

Lamoine officials hope that by encouraging people to leave their lawns to grow wild for just a month, pollinators — such as the honey bee — will have flowers and other native plants to help their populations thrive, the Ellsworth American reported.

The “Now Mow May” initiative was started by an organization in the U.K. in 2019 and communities in the U.S. have since adopted the initiative as well, according to a recent New York Times story. 

While the awareness-raising initiative was only launched within the last few years, limiting when and how frequently lawns are mowed has been touted as a conservation-based landscaping practice going back at least 20 years, according to Rebecca Jacobs, program manager with the Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District.

The basic premise behind “No Mow May” is that by letting lawns ― and the flowering plants within them ― go uncut for a month, it gives pollinators access to pollen and nectar sources early in the growing season.  

“By allowing that four-week period for all the rest of the plants that are growing to sort of catch up and grow and start to bloom, you’re just giving the ground nesting bees, the native [and] non-native bees a huge head start for the rest of the season for success in breeding and pollinating and cross pollinating all of these plants that we reap the benefits of in a myriad of ways,” Jacobs said.

Pollinating insects and animals ― such as birds ― play a critical role in ecosystems. About three-fourths of flowering plants depend on pollinating species, as well as 35 percent of the world’s food crops, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. But populations of pollinators have been on the decline due to habitat loss, disease and environmental contaminants.

Loss of native pollinators has a negative impact on almost every single facet of Maine ecosystems, including the potato and blueberry crops.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.