Person walking in tall grass

Why Are We Mowing Less?

The Trustees care for some of Massachusetts’ most special places. We try to maintain our reservations in ways that are good for the environment and that provide great visitor experiences.

By mowing less, we are working to reduce pollution and use less energy. We have learned that 5% of the nation’s pollution comes from lawn equipment, and we are all reminded daily of the problems caused by using too many petroleum products.

Don’t worry: we’re not getting rid of all lawns! A lawn can be lovely and provides a place to toss a Frisbee, spread out a picnic blanket, and fly a kite. We’re working to find the right balance!

Lawns allowed to transform into meadows provide a home for more diverse plant, insect, and animal life including nesting birds, butterflies, and pollinators important for food production and sustainability of ecosystems. We’ve heard concerns that these unmown areas look messy, but we’ve also learned that many visitors enjoy the tall grasses, wildflowers, and butterflies that you can now find in these areas.

We hope that our efforts prompt homeowners to think about how they might care for their backyards in ways that are more sensitive to the environment. If we all changed how we manage our lawns a little bit, we could significantly reduce air pollution, create habitat for plants and animals, and save a lot of energy and water.

Here are some ways we’re working to care for our reservations more sustainably – you can try this in your own backyard too!

  • Increasing the height settings on mowers.
  • Letting clippings decay naturally on our lawns rather than collecting them.
  • Mowing less frequently but no so infrequent to allow lawns to transform into meadows.
  • Using composted materials instead of chemical fertilizers and virtually eliminating the use of lawn herbicides.
  • Reducing our reliance on irrigation for lawns.
  • Using mowers powered by alternative fuels, like propane.

Want to see less mowing in action? Visit us at Francis William Bird Park, Castle Hill, Moose Hill Farm, The Stevens-Coolidge Place, and Doyle Community Park & Center.

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