Will ‘No Mow May’ Just End Up Leading to Way More Ticks?
It's entirely possible I'm backpedaling my previous opinion...
Maybe not, it's hard to say. Just a few weeks ago, I posted about how the city of Rockland, and several others since, was looking to encourage folks to participate in "No Mow May". The basic idea, is that you don't mow your lawn all month to give a solid headstart for the pollinators in your yard. Just let the flowers fly...
Now I'm a reasonable, if not lazy, kind of guy. Initially, I saw this is as a chance to look my wife straight in the eye and say that I was doing more good in the world by not mowing the lawn. But I saw an article in the BDN that made me almost want to think twice about it.
'No Mow May' and ticks work far too well together.
Here's the thing, everything about your yard that is awesome for the bees, butterflies and other pollinators, is also great for the ticks. The long grass, the dead leaves, tall plants... Also all tick habitats. So the pollinators are not the only thing in your yard having a baby boom because of ideal conditions.
At the same time, trying to control the ticks in your yard is the opposite of No Mow May. Short, well-kept grass is best to avoid ticks. And a lot of folks spray their yard for ticks. That also will do zero favors for pollinators. So how do you balance the two?
There's one possible solution I got from a farmer friend of mine.
He leaves patches of unmowed lawn for the pollinators in parts of the yard he doesn't use as much. Maybe that back corner where the dogs never go and the kids don't play. Maybe let that grow, and mow down the parts of the yard people use most. Then you can create a balance.
Look, we live in a state where the tick population goes bananas in the spring and fall. But there's also the mid-summer lull for ticks. It gets too hot for them to function, and they tend to disappear for several weeks until fall. But finding a balance that satisfies you and keeps you feeling safe, will be the key.