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'No Mow May': Leave grass alone for biodiversity benefits

09:12 03/05/2023

A number of Brussels municipalities, and even the King of Belgium, are participating in "Maai Mei Niet", or No Mow May.

The idea is to let the grass in public and private spaces grow in order to further biodiversity, Bruzz reports.

“By not mowing your grass in May, you are providing a lot of bees and butterflies with crucial food sources,” the organisation behind Maai Mei Niet said on its website.

“Doing nothing has never been so good for our biodiversity.”

Weekly magazine Knack is behind the initiative, saying it helps the insects and bees that live off pollen, who play an important role in creating a healthy ecological system.

A number of Brussels municipalities are taking part in this year’s No Mow May, including Ixelles, which will leave several sites untouched next month.

“In some places there will even be no more mowing at all,” said alderman for green spaces Audrey Lhoest (Ecolo).

“It's a way of letting nature take its course in an urban context.”

The City of Brussels will also stop limiting the growth of grasses and flowers to one metre from the edge of roads, though certain heritage sites, due to their high tourist content, will continue to be cared for as usual.

Anderlecht, meanwhile, made an appeal in the municipal bulletin to encourage residents to take, saying that allowing the grass to grow helps in getting “a dense lawn in which flowers can bloom” and that a garden with a solid layer of grass is also “more resistant to climate fluctuations” and especially to heat in the scorching summer months.

“It can sometimes look a bit feral, but it pays off,” said Anderlecht alderman Alan Neuzy (Ecolo).

Mowing will also be restricted in some parts of the royal domain in Laeken.

“In some parts of the domain, there is indeed no mowing to help promote biodiversity,” said Lore Vandoorne, spokesperson for the palace.

“But this is taken into account throughout the year, regardless of the action and the accompanying website.”

By not mowing in 2021, participants fed 14 million bees daily and in 2022, 17 million, according to Knack.

Written by Helen Lyons