3. Cut grass less often

Credit: Nadine Mitschunas, Urban Pollinators Project

Cut grass less often and ideally remove the cuttings to allow plants to flower.

Some principles

Native flowering plants in grass areas, field corners, verges and specially sown flower-rich habitats support the greatest diversity of insect pollinators by providing nectar and pollen resources, places to nest or breed and leaves for caterpillars. Hence it’s important to get the management right, particularly the cutting or grazing regime, to optimise conditions for pollinators.

In established pasture, lawns or grass-flower mixes, some wildflower species can take several years to establish or re-appear. So when you start to cut the grass less often or to reduce grazing intensity, it’s important to be patient and persevere.

Delaying cutting and removing vegetation in established lawns, verges, parkland, municipal parks and golf courses until after the majority of plants have flowered, will help to lengthen the time the area of grass and flowers can deliver nectar and flower resources for pollinators.

Where possible, avoid cutting lawns, verges, parks and golf courses after September as this will help to protect bumble bee nests in those areas. It will also help the caterpillars nesting there to survive until next spring. An alternative approach to cutting the grass less often, would be for you to leave specific areas or patches of your lawn, verges, parkland or golf courses to grow long over the season.

For newly sown grass-flower mixes, it’s important to be aware that the new sward will need regular hard cutting and removal of cuttings in the early phase of growth to remove fertility, encourage the flowers to establish and reduce the dominance of the grasses.

 

Note: Government experts and a wide range of interested parties have helped to inform the development of these actions and the supporting advice. It is intended as good practice advice and should not be regarded as official guidance. The Bees’ Needs is hosted by The Wildlife Trusts on behalf of Defra in support of the emerging National Pollinator Strategy. The Wildlife Trusts do not own or endorse any content other than as a contributing stakeholder to the National Pollinator Strategy along with many other organisations and individuals.

Contact us at: pollinatorstrategy@defra.gsi.gov.uk

1. Grow more

Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees that provide nectar and pollen as food for bees and other pollinators throughout the year.

 

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2. Let it grow wild

Leave patches of land to grow wild with plants like stinging nettles and dandelions to provide other food sources and breeding places for butterflies and moths.

 

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4. Don’t disturb nests

Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects, in places like grass margins, bare soil, hedgerows, trees, dead wood or walls.

 

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5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Think carefully about whether to use pesticides especially where pollinators are active or nesting or where plants are in flower. Consider control methods appropriate to your situation and only use pesticides if absolutely necessary. 

 

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