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Mowing less frequently benefits bees

by Jon Zawislak - March 16, 2018

man mowing lawn In a new study published by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the USDA Forest Service, researchers suggest that homeowners can help support bee habitat in suburban environments simply by changing lawn-mowing habits.

Investigators found that taking a "lazy lawn mower" approach and mowing every two weeks rather than weekly could help encourage bee habitat in suburban lawns by allowing flowers to bloom, which helps provide pollinators with more nutritious forage.

One of the study's authors, ecologist Susannah Lerman, said, "Mowing less frequently is practical, economical and a timesaving alternative to replacing lawns or even planting pollinator gardens."

Co-author Joan Milam was amazed at the bee diversity and abundance their team was able to documented in residential lawns.  "It speaks to the value of the untreated lawn to support wildlife," she remarked.

Another researcher from the project, Alix Contosta, added, "There is evidence that even though lawns are maintained to look uniform, they may support diverse plant communities and floral resources if the owners refrain from using herbicides to kill 'weeds' such as dandelions and clover."

Lerman concluded, "This research is a reminder that sustainability begins at home, and in this case involves doing less for more buzz."