What are the benefits of leaving a lawn to grow?
Click here to read this article in French
Recently, our sister site Anglais Prononciation F2F , wrote an article entitled “An ecological garden. Perfect lawns or wildflower meadows…”
Here at La Rabine Jardin we create wildflower meadows by leaving our lawns to grow from May onwards till the autumn. We cut paths through the wildflowers and longer grass so as not to destroy the plants by walking all over them!
Why do we do this?
Because leaving a lawn to grow naturally, without excessive maintenance or treating with chemicals, can have several benefits. Here are some of them:
Allowing a lawn to grow naturally encourages the growth of diverse plant species, including wildflowers, grasses, and herbs. This creates a habitat for a variety of insects, birds, and other wildlife. It promotes biodiversity and supports the ecosystem by providing food and shelter for different species.
Longer grass in a lawn can help retain moisture and reduce water evaporation from the soil. It acts as a natural mulch, preventing water run-off and allowing better absorption into the ground. This can contribute to water conservation, especially in areas prone to drought or water scarcity, an ever-increasing problem throughout Europe. Leaving grass at a longer height also reduces the overall temperature in the garden. This is a real bonus in summer and especially important with regard to climate change.
Natural lawn growth helps improve soil health. The longer grass and the root systems of diverse plant species help prevent soil erosion by stabilizing the soil. The roots also enhance soil structure, promote better water infiltration, and increase organic matter content, leading to healthier and more fertile soil.
Reduced chemical use:
By allowing a lawn to grow naturally, you can minimize or eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. This reduces chemical run-off into water bodies and helps protect the environment. It also reduces your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
Time and cost savings:
Maintaining a natural lawn requires less time and effort compared to a meticulously manicured lawn. You don’t need to mow as frequently, apply chemical treatments, or invest in expensive lawn care equipment. This can save you time, money, and resources in the long run.
Some people find the natural beauty of a wilder lawn more appealing than a perfectly manicured lawn. Wildflowers in bloom, swaying grasses, and the presence of wildlife can create a more visually interesting and dynamic landscape.
How does leaving a lawn to grow help pollinators and bees?
Leaving a lawn to grow naturally can significantly benefit pollinators, including bees, by providing them with essential resources. Here’s how it helps:
Natural lawns with diverse plant species, including wildflowers, produce an abundance of nectar and pollen. These flowering plants act as a vital food source for bees and other pollinators. By allowing these plants to grow, you provide a rich and varied diet for pollinators throughout the seasons, supporting their nutritional needs.
Longer grass and diverse plant species create a more suitable habitat for bees and other pollinators. Many bee species nest in the ground, and longer grass provides cover and protection for their nests. It also offers a refuge for other beneficial insects that prey on pests, promoting a healthier ecosystem.
Life cycle support:
Different bee species have varied life cycles and habitat requirements. By leaving a lawn to grow, you increase the chances of providing suitable conditions for a broader range of bee species. Some bees, for example, require specific plants for nesting or for their larval food sources. A diverse and natural lawn can cater to these specific needs.
Reduction of chemical exposure:
Traditional lawn management often involves the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, which can be harmful to bees and other pollinators. By minimizing or eliminating chemical inputs and allowing the lawn to grow naturally, you create a safer environment for pollinators. This reduces their exposure to toxic substances and supports their overall health and well-being.
Long blooming periods:
Natural lawns with a variety of wildflowers and flowering plants can extend the blooming period throughout the year. This provides a continuous supply of nectar and pollen, ensuring a reliable food source for bees. It is particularly important during early spring and late fall when other food sources may be scarce.
By supporting pollinators through the creation of suitable habitats and the availability of food sources, leaving a lawn to grow naturally can play a crucial role in conserving bee populations and promoting the pollination of plants. All this ultimately leads to benefiting the broader ecosystem.
To finish …
It’s also worth noting that leaving a lawn to grow naturally doesn’t have to mean complete neglect. If you really can’t bear to let nature take over, you can try: regular mowing to a higher height, selective weed management, and occasional maintenance.
This can help strike a balance between a wilder lawn and a tidy appearance.