Museum & Pollinator Habitats
The NEW Lawn Striping Method
Currently there is a common trend in lawn mowing called Lawn Striping, where the cut grass is further pressed down to accentuate the difference in appearance of the alternate rows mowed. Cut grass that is pushed down toward you such that your are mostly looking at the cut ends appears darker. While the grass in the alternate rows that is pushed down away from you such that you are mostly looking at the flat blades appears to be much lighter.
What I would like to see established is a practice of creating “Lawn Striping” by mowing alternate rows of a lawn, while leaving the other rows uncut until the lawn goes dormant in late fall.
After a mowed perimeter is established, you would mow your first long pass, then skip a little less than a mower’s width of lawn , and then mow your next row.
So basically, during the growing season, you only mow every other row. For instance you could mow your odd number rows every time you mow. Your even number rows would then not get mowed at all until the end of the growing season.
At the end of the growing season, you can then mow the rows that were not mowed during the growing season. This material (dry grass clippings) would likely need to be collected. Since you only mowed a little more than half of your lawn area through the growing season (fifteen to twenty cuts), the extra time it takes to collect the clippings from the end of season cutting would be offset.
The next season, you would alternate the rows that get mowed and the rows that are left uncut.
But what if you wanted to gradually reduce or eliminate the amount of grass you are having mowed. A variation to this method would be to not collect the clippings at the end of the season. Instead, you could use your mower (with a special shield attached) to blow the clippings into a narrow row. You would discharge the clippings from two uncut rows into the center of one cut row. This would leave a deep but narrow row of grass clipping mulch in the center of every three rows. You could then plant pollinator attracting wildflowers, shrubs, or trees in these rows. Other than what you planted, little if anything would grow in this deep layer of dried grass clippings. If you don’t like the pale coloration of dried grass, you could always top the row of clippings with a thin layer of dark leaf compost or aged wood chip mulch.
The images below do not precisely describe what I am writing about, but the descriptions that accompany each image should help you get the picture. If you own a property, and would be interested in giving this awesome new idea a try, Pollinators Plus would be happy to help in any way that we can.
Why would anyone want to do this? It would save time, save money, reduce pollution, and in some cases increase habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. At the end of the year, the harvested clippings could be donated to inner city community gardens, school gardens, parks, or used on site.
Now this obviously isn't exactly what I am talking about doing, because all of the grass is mowed in this image.
But picture if you will the light colored rows being mowed every week, and the darker colored rows being left unmowed until the end of the growing season. In fact, just as in this image, you could actually mow cross directional (alternating each week), and only leave small squares of uncut grass between each row. Of course you would not save as much time or money, or reduce as much pollutants, but the effect would be pretty cool.
This image definitely shows the contrast between a mowed row, and unmowed grass to either side of the mowed row. Still, it doesn't really show what a lwan would look like if every other row was left unmowed all season.
Now what if you sowed a wildflower mix of seeds early in the spring before the mowing began? Think how awesome this would be for pollinators!
Once again, picture the light rows being mowed every week, while the darker colored rows were left uncut.
If you are more interested in art and design, and less concerned about maximum efficiency, then the options for your creativity are endless.
. . . and please share this article!