Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

No Mow May

It’s No Mow May! Take a break from mowing your lawn for the month of May.

Give yourself or your gardener a rest this month – don’t mow your lawn! For those of you who still have lawn, May is a great month to take a rest from the task of mowing. Any by not mowing, help out our local biodiversity.

No Mow May was first popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in the United Kingdom, but is becoming popular all over the U.S. according to The goal of No Mow May is to pause mowing during the month of May, allowing flowers to bloom in your lawn to help early season pollinators. In colder climates, late winter and early spring is a time when floral resources are often limited.

In Los Angeles, thanks to our recent rains, our gardens are blooming like never before, and that means much more food for our local pollinators, including native bees. It’s a perfect time to leave those blooms alone. It’s also a great way to add biodiversity to the monoculture of the basic lawn that’s not providing any benefit to local insects and bird life.

This lawn has lots of small clovers and flowers blooming that provide food for local pollinators including native bees.

If you’re feeling a bit bad that you haven’t converted your lawn to something more beneficial to our climate, not mowing it is a great first step in the right direction. Some experts recommend over seeding the lawn with native grasses as an additional step toward transforming your lawn to reduce water and energy consumption and provide more habitat for local insects and birds.

If you’re not sure you like the native look, there are alternatives like Karupia, a drought-tolerant ground cover that does not need to be mowed at all.  Karupia is planted in plugs shipped directly from the grower; it is not sold in nurseries. It was developed in Japan by H. Kuramochi from a variety of Phyla that grows natively in Japan. It is hugely popular in Japan, where it is also used on highway shoulders and other public utility areas. We know of several local gardens that now feature this alternative to grass.

Karupia is a ground cover alternative that also supports insects and pollinators. This section of the parkway in Windsor Square was planted a few months ago.

But, until you replace it with another alternative, like Karupia or native plants, let your lawn go a bit. More and more gardeners are getting on board.

The front garden is in Hancock Park

We even found a sign you can download and post in your lawn so you can educate your neighbors. Check out Homegrown National Park and learn about how we can save the planet and reduce the impact of climate change one backyard at a time, starting with not mowing our lawns. Maybe go bird watching instead!

Click here for a link to the sign. From Homegrown National Park.
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. Thanks to the Buzz for their useful articles on improving our environment and urban ecology and more beauty for LA. Kurapia — that name always makes me laugh — seems like an excellent water-wise option in particular for Historic Preservation Overlay Zones that have park-like and green streetscapes as part of their Preservation Plan requirements. In Carthay Circle HPOZ, we have a property that planted Kurapia using the DWP turf replacement program — and their plan was easily approved in advance by our HPOZ board. (Note — great care must be taken when removing any existing turf around a mature tree — that can damage feeder roots and even kill some trees.) The Theodore Payne Foundation sells seeds for a CA native lippia plant that would be interesting to see used on a lawn —


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