Don't Mow ... Let it Grow

  • for the sake of the wildlife
  • for a peaceful, easy feeling
  • for free plants
  • to help the environment
  • know your property rights

Don't Mow ... Let it Grow ... for the Sake of the Wildlife

A heavily mowed and maintained property is devoid of wildlife.  There are no plants to support them.  Wildlife needs plants to live their lives.  Plants provide cover and areas for breeding, nesting, preening, sleeping, feeding, and simply resting. As you read this acres and acres of natural areas are being bulldozed and all those animals are being killed or displaced.  Plant a tree, or shrub, and provide a home for wildlife.  Once you get more free time from not maintaining a barren lawn you will start to notice that a single tree can be an ecosystem in and of itself – supporting a myriad of birds, reptiles, insects, spiders, lichens, air plants, and an amazing array of  living things.  Let the plants grow for their intended purpose … to provide for the native wildlife. 

Don't Mow ... Let it Grow ... For a Peaceful, Easy, Feeling

Okay so you don’t care much about what the local wildlife are doing.  How about don’t mow … let it grow … to get a peaceful, easy, feeling and improve your own quality of life?  Letting go of the need to mow will help balance your sanity.  It will create more free time, which you can then use to relax … sit and read a book … watch the sunset … go fishing … listen to music … pick out cloud shapes … or … do nothing.  You won’t feel guilty about not mowing and pruning and raking and bagging and spraying and buying chemicals … driving to the store to get more … tools … chemicals … supplies … sprays … you know … all that maintenance stuff people are guilted into doing.  Get zen with your outdoor space and it might surprise you.  

Don't Mow ... Let it Grow ... For Free Plants

Who doesn’t like free plants!?  Once you stop mowing you will see the plants trying their best to repopulate the space.  All living things are genetically conditioned to reproduce and plants are no exception.  They want to survive!  If only walking paths are mowed then the plants will be allowed to grow, and as they get taller, and then can be identified and used in your green space.  Spend time in your space getting to know the lay of the land and the plants.  Seedlings look completely different from the parent plants so get to know what different seedlings look like so you can either let them grow where they are or transplant them to barren areas.  Keep an eye out for areas where birds roost and will drop their poop because it’s always full of seeds.  Raccoons and possums are really good at seed dispersal as well so if you see poop piles leave them until the seeds germinate and then collect the seedlings for use. A lot of plants can be reproduced by cuttings so wait until the rainy season and set out cuttings. If you have access to potting soil and containers put seedlings, transplants, and cuttings into those for later use.

Don't Mow ... Let it Grow ... To Help the Environment

You can help the environment by not sucking down fossil fuels, polluting the air with gas mowers, driving to and from the landfill, polluting the air with burning leaves, improve water quality by not contaminating water bodies with chemicals and poisons, creating a natural habitat unlike all the ones being destroyed as you read this, give the planet a break … help give the wildlife a break.  Give your space a break … to be healthy and happy and full of life.

The best thing I ever did was buy an electric push mower.  It’s always ready to go at the push of a button.  I don’t have to struggle with gas or pull cords and can mow for a minute or an hour.  My front yard can be tidied up in a matter of minutes by mowing my walking paths with the electric mower.  Thoughtful placement of the borders around flower beds, or the placement of low growing shrubs along the edge, can eliminate the need to weed the borders … just mow up to your border or just underneath the edging shrubs and it looks manicured in a matter of minutes.


concrete benches next to a natural pond

Don't Mow ... Let it Grow ... Know Your Property Rights

My county ordinance states … roughly put … that if an area is intentionally planted, or natural, and is maintained then it is acceptable. Of course ordinances and laws vary from area to area.  Here in Hernando County our landscape ordinance is based on the principles of the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods and Environmental Landscape Management (ELM) programs as promoted by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service.  It all reads good in theory, but it all depends upon your neighbors and your local officials … basically who you have to fight to keep your rights. Learn how your ordinance applies and  learn the names of the plants, maintain it by keeping an eye on the progress of what’s growing, keep it tidy, have walking paths so when the inspector comes out you can give them a tour of your beautiful plants, flowers,  and habitat.  Also, be sure to check with your homeowner’s association if you have one in your neighborhood.  It is up to you to know your property rights.  Even with the law on your side you may still be in for a fight depending upon where you live.  Talk to like-minded neighbors and see what they are doing … join forces and know your rights … knowledge is power.  Get more tips from my article Go Native Without Making the Neighbors Go Ballistic.

Sharon's Florida specializes in Florida ecotype seeds.

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