City of Ann Arbor launches Pollinator-Aware Yard Care program

Move over No Mow May

Bee generic. (Pixabay)

ANN ARBOR – Tree Town residents can promote birds, bees and bats with help from the City of Ann Arbor’s new Pollinator-Aware Yard Care program.

In April, Ann Arbor City Council approved a resolution that led to the development of the program, which includes lawn care strategies and community member resources.

Pollinator-friendly practices not only help Michigan-native species with more food and habitats but improve local ecosystems. Residents save time and reduce carbon emissions by mowing lawns less frequently, and farmers benefit from healthy pollinators visiting their crops.

City officials noted that native plant species also help to avoid flooding and improve water quality by increasing stormwater infiltration.

The Pollinator-Aware Yard Care program replaces the city’s previous No Mow May campaign, which also encouraged native pollinators.

Here’s how to have a pollinator-aware yard:

  • Avoid or reduce using chemical insecticides, particularly neonicotinoid insecticides, which can leach into waterways and harm local species.
  • Extend garden beds or plant native groundcover and pollinator-friendly plants to minimize turfgrass.
  • Add native plants that are more useful to pollinators, like perennials, to garden beds.
  • Add a clover mix to turfgrass areas to add nutrients and diversity to soil.
  • Mow turfgrass less frequently. When mowing, try to have taller grass by setting mowers to a height between 6-12 inches.
  • Trim sidewalk borders to show neighbors that tall grasses and other vegetation are purposeful.
  • Wait to clean up plant debris until temperatures regularly stay above 50 degrees.
  • Don’t remove whole or mulched leaves in the fall and winter--except near sidewalks and storm drains--so that pollinators have some form of habitat.

Those wanting to learn more about the program, or to show off their participation and encourage neighbors to join in, can sign up for additional resources and a yard sign here.

Community members should make sure they are adhering to Ann Arbor City Code on vegetation and lawn extension in city right-of-ways when considering their lawn care practices.

Learn more about the Pollinator-Aware Yard Care program here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.