May 10, 2023 at 3:20pm
Northbrook Park District’s historical approach has been to actively cultivate native areas designed and optimized for “No Mow” instead of letting bluegrass cultivars remain un-maintained. By intentionally selecting plant material that is not a bluegrass park/athletic turf mix, the District can provide appropriate, manageable habitats for wildlife and create urban areas for education. As future park designs are advanced purposefully, no-mow areas are included in each design. Currently, 12% of the District’s land holdings (approx. 63 acres out of 550 acres) are considered “No Mow” areas.
The “No Mow May” initiative started in the United Kingdom in 2019. The concept debuted in the United States in Wisconsin in 2020 and has been gaining traction. Supporters believe that the tall grasses and flowering plants provide an early-season habitat for pollinators. In addition to this benefit, the reduced mowing frequency will save water, help lawns become more resilient to drought, and reduce emissions from gas-powered lawn equipment.
The District is testing the “No Mow May” initiative in several areas throughout the park system. Upon completion of the test program in early June, the areas will be mowed and evaluated for condition. Based on those conditions, the District may choose whether to expand the initiative next year or discontinue the practice. Beginning in 2023, Northbrook Park District will be piloting the No Mow May Program at Wood Oaks Green Park and Stonegate Park in designated areas referenced in red below.