No Mow May Milwaukee 2023

This May, restore habitat for pollinators by planting native and reducing maintenance!

Improve pollinator health by postponing the spring clean-up in your yard and not mowing your lawn until June! Midwest Grows Green (MGG) and local residents will help pollinators thrive this spring by coordinating No Mow May (NMM) Milwaukee.

All urban and rural ecosystems rely on pollinators. They facilitate the reproduction of more than 75% of flowering plants and 2/3rds of all agricultural crops. Many baby birds including hummingbirds, feed on insects in the spring.

Unfortunately, bees have declined by more than 25% in most areas of the US and monarch butterflies have declined by 75%.

What can you do to protect pollinators? 

1.   Postpone lawn-cutting until June 1. Not many flowers establish in early spring when pollinators emerge from their winter nests searching for food. Early flowers like dandelions, clover, and violets help fill this nutrition gap.  

2.   Refrain from spring clean-up until temperatures exceed 50 degrees for at least five days consecutively. This protects native bees who nest in dead wood or the fallen stems and leaves of last year’s plants.  

3.   Avoid using insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. These chemicals kill or harm pollinators and their forage plants. Refer to MGG’s lawn care and pesticide reduction tips.

4. Create habitat for pollinators by incorporating native plants into your lawn and landscape and reducing or eliminating conventional turf grass.

Across Milwaukee, MGG and partners will promote NMM participation by attending fairs, hosting sustainable landscaping presentations and posting pollinator protection tips on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to the Fund for Lake Michigan for making this effort possible.

Participating Communities

Click on points to view organizations in your community participating in No Mow May! 

Frequently asked questions about No Mow May

What is No Mow May?

No Mow May strives to protect pollinators by providing essential food sources in early spring. Participants will simply avoid mowing their lawns until the end of the month to increase pollinator diversity.

Why should I participate in No Mow May?

Unfortunately, we face a pollinator and insect crisis. Scientists suggest that the world loses 2.5% of insect mass per year. Urban environments can help slow and potentially reverse this decline. Native plants and even plants considered weeds, such as dandelions and clover feed bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

I saw my community is participating in No Mow May. Does that mean I need to participate?

You do not need to participate, however, it is very easy.

Will my lawn get out of control by not mowing for a month?

You have many options to keeping your lawn beautiful and organized during NMM. First, consider transitioning to a native plant mix that pollinators love. NMM sponsor and Green Shield Certified Natural Communities can help select a mix that fits your preference. Alternatively, planting low-mow, low maintenance lawns of clover species will provide food for pollinators. If sticking to a lush, green lawn, make sure to ease back into your regular lawn care routine by removing no more than 1/3 of the blade at once.

So, how can I participate in No Mow May?

Plant clover or native lawns, reduce mowing frequency, promote pollinator health in your community and attend one of the many NMM related events listed below. Reach out to MGG’s Ryan Anderson at randerson@ipminstitute.org to get involved!

No Mow May Events

Tuesday, May 6th

Green Day in the Bay: Whitefish Bay

More details to come soon!

Sunday, May 20th

Pollinator Palooza II: Estabrook Park

Celebrate pollinators with the Shorewood Conservation Committee and Friends of Estabrook Park! Link to come soon

Date: TBD

MPS Schoolyard Workdays: Milwaukee Public Schools

Volunteer for MGG’s work to restore vegetation on Milwaukee Public Schools grounds without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Still have questions?

Please reach out to MGG’s Ryan Anderson at randerson@ipminstitute.org.

No Mow May Sponsors

Fund for Lake Michigan, Athletic Brewing Company, Natural Communities, LLC

No Mow May Collaborators

Brookfield – Master Gardeners, Village of Brown Deer, City of Glendale, Village of Fox Point, Hummingbird MKE, Milwaukee County, MMSD, Pollinator Protection Committee, Shorewood Conservation Committee, City of South Milwaukee, Sustainability Committee for Wauwatosa, Reflo, Urban Ecology Center, Village of West Milwaukee, Water Centric City, Whitefish Bay Garden Club, Zoological Society of Milwaukee