Letter to the editor: Keep your lawn friendly to pollinators

After a protracted winter and fickle spring, the sunlight has dried off the dew. Idle hours lie ahead. Put earmuffs on to deaden the roar of the mower. Repeat passes out from the house to the edge of the property, leaving behind a carpet of green. 

Who would attempt to disrupt this homeowners’ ritual with a notion like No Mow May, pesticide-free lawns, electric mowers? Challenge the notion that an expanse of lawn is a sign of prosperity and leisure time?

The signals are small, imperceptible at times, but are there. Our hard-working invertebrates, the butterflies, bees, beetles, moths, and others speak out for shelter and food to over-winter, feed their young and pass on their genes in exchange for pollinating many of our favorite plants. 

Between 60 to 80% of wild plants in our state are dependent on animals, mostly bees, for the ‘ecosystem service’ of pollination. (VT Fish and Wildlife Department)

Mowing high, set to 5 instead of 3, allows wild plants in pesticide-free mowed areas to thrive under the cutting blade. They will flower and feed the pollinators. By mowing less often, more of these plants will bloom. Leaving areas on the property to grow wild makes room for a brush pile, a compost bin, even an invitation to those threatened beetles the fireflies to produce an enchanting twilight.

With time freed up, one can apply sun protection, make a cool drink and sit outside. Tuning into the birds and insects visiting the green space is relaxing. 

We’re in this together with the birds, bats, butterflies, bees and other invertebrates. I invite you to find the part you can play in restoring habitat for them, particularly the ones who feed solely on native plants.

Jill Vickers


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