Don’t Mow the Violets

by wildjersey on April 21, 2011

Wild violets

Don't mow your violets! Leave them for the bees and butterflies.

I’m surrounded by suspiciously green carpets of turfgrass. There’s probably nothing worse for wildlife than a weed-free, well-fertilized yard of turfgrass. Most of my neighbors probably cringe at the sight of my yard, with its sprawling patch of weeds. I don’t care.

From an insect’s perspective, my “lawn” is paradise. Bees are already foraging on violets and dandelions, important sources of early spring pollen and nectar. Those violets serve as the host plant for fritillary caterpillars, too. The larva of some skippers feed on crabgrass. Soon, the bumblebees will keep busy in the clover patches.

Let your lawn get a little weedy, and set your mower blade high enough to leave some flowers behind. Remember, the food chain starts with insects. If you support the insects by providing them with diverse plant life, you also support all the critters that depend on those bugs for food.

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