As people become more conscious about the need to protect the wildlife, there has been a growing trend to make their lawns more wildlife friendly. There are some who choose to let their lawn grow wild, but for those who like some order in their garden design, we can make a compromise between letting the lawn grow wild and having sterile, but beautiful lawns that are a wildlife haven. Considering that natural grasslands in the United States are disappearing, it’s important for us to do what we can to help forster biodiversity and carbon storage.
If you hold off when you start mowing, you give your gardens grass and herbs a chance to flower and seed. This is the simplest and most immediate thing that you can do for your lawn and for the environment.
Mowing will still be done, but rather than mowing devastating the budding ecosystem, it will, in this more limited form, simply put a break on the ecological process that would otherwise transform your garden into a woodland. It will be a question of managing the environment.
Vary Your Mowing
In addition, you should vary your mowing height across the lawn as well as the frequency. This will simulate how herbivores graze, creating different conditions which will benefit different kinds of species. For instance, where you cut the lawn short, daisies are likely to grow, attracting bees, butterflies and other palynivores, which live on pollen. Those areas which have been left untouched for at least a year, will lead to a wider range of flowers growing, attracting bugs and such creatures and perhaps the odd animal you will have to call wildlife removal services for.
Mowing is important in the absence of herbivores. Charles Darwin noted how, in his garden, letting his lawn grow freely resulted in fewer species, as the stronger killed off the weaker. It’s important, then, to do as much as possible to replicate natural conditions within your garden.
Control How Much Nutrients Your Lawn Receives
Your lawn is likely to receive some level fertilizer thanks to the reactive nitrogens carried by the wind.
As we said above, mowing should mimic the grazing that takes place in the wild. So, your lawn mower shouldn’t use any clippings, otherwise nutrients from the clippings will be soaked up by the soil.
As plant material dies, it is decomposed and returns to the plant in the form of nutrients. This is the cycle of life. When you use cuttings, you disrupt this cycle and overload your soil with nutrients, reducing the impact of the nutrients that emerge from the dead plant material. In addition, large bits of cut grass can make it hard for seedlings to grow.
When the soil has such high nutrient levels, biodiversity is drastically reduced. Low levels are good for biodiversity and the emergence of healthy food webs in the soil. The longest continuous study of grass cutting, the Rothamsted Park Grass, has found that even application of fertilizer has reduced plant species from 40 to as little as five.