The case against mowing
Cardiff Civic Society and Friends of Bute Park have launched a campaign to encourage local authorities and members of the public to cut back on mowing.
Longer grass provides habitat for small mammals, as well as a vital source of food and shelter for pollinators, while encouraging biodiversity of flora.
The two organisations took advice from Elinor Meloy, who studied the benefits of unmown grass and insect pollinators for her Masters in Research thesis at Swansea University.
“Closely mown grass is a ‘green desert’,” says Ms Meloy. “The public like it because it looks tidy, but it is pretty much useless as a habitat for nature.”
“I am keen to encourage councils to reduce mowing wherever possible, leaving verges and large areas of parkland unmown, to provide a wide variety of plant and animal species with useable habitat. This provides forage and nesting habitat for our threatened pollinators while reducing costs for local authorities, so it’s a win-win situation. I’d also like to change public perception of mowing and ultimately see gardens and lawns mown less frequently. Clover, dandelions and daisies are all great forage plants for bees and other pollinators, for example, so leaving a patch of lawn to grow longer will provide food for them, and also help with linking up habitat under the concept of pollinator corridors.”
Nerys Lloyd-Pierce, chair of Cardiff Civic Society says,
“At least 1500 species of insects pollinate plants in the UK including bumble bees, the honey bee, solitary bees, hoverflies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths. Most require food in the form of pollen and nectar, and need a home for shelter and nest building – closely mown swathes of grass provide none of these essential requirements. As our pollinators are deeply threatened, we all need to do our bit to help them.”
Cardiff Civic Society and Friends of Bute Park are also keen to see wildflower meadows thrive in Cardiff.
Jane Williams, chair of the ‘Friends’ group, says,
“Wildflower meadows look great, as well as providing a home for nature. However these need to be properly managed. We are encouraging Cardiff Council to create meadows, but these need mowing once or twice a year, and the grass clippings raked away, if the flowers are to survive. Meadow flowers thrive on nutrient poor soil, when grass clippings are left in situ to rot, the nutrients go back into the soil, destroying the habitat for meadow flowers.”
Press information: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce 02920 343121/07701 007 128.