We may no mow or not this May

The Squire likes squill

After a winter’s hibernation, lawn mower started on the first pull yesterday 05-06-22.  Ought to, the Toro is less than a year old.

Fret not, No Mow May mavens, the unlettered field hands at Blaska Experimental Farm (and Penal Colony) fired up the hydrocarbon-burning device only to macerate the pile of swamp white oak leaves (which shed in spring) from the back yard. The resource was then applied to the woodland shade area, where the bloodroot is in full bloom and trillium about to, and to the clayey potato field yearning for organic matter.

As for No Mowing in the 24 days remaining in the merry month of May, the Head Groundskeeper is keeping his options open. The front, north-facing lawn, bitter experience teaches, refuses to become country club fairway turf. No amount of soil amendments, regular aeration, and visits from men bearing spray nozzles will change its mind. We yield, therefore, to its dictates. A year ago, we socked in micro- Dutch white clover and it seems to be happy. (“Our lawn just got interesting.“) Its deep roots fix its own nitrogen and aerate the soil. Last fall, introduced Siberian squill under the heavy shade of the red maples. Their white and purple flowers brightened our April. Leaves are grass-like blades. Better than bare spots.

The Minnesota university extension has issued a jihad against scilla siberica. It’s invasive! But so is turf grass. In any event, it is bounded by the street and two driveways; bees already proving its worth. Wisconsin cooperative extension is more favorable. Wood violets are naturalizing on their own. “Naturalizing” is the positive spin on “invasive.” Not seeing much of the ajuga reptans we introduced. Like most front lawns, ours is not a playground, so wear and tear doesn’t factor.

We no-mowed sections of the more verdant back yard last summer 2021

→ Get yer lawn and garden soil tested
→ No Mow May sweeping Wisconsin
→ Siberian squill
→ New York Times on No Mow in WI

We have no problem sprinkling a little commercial nitrogen as well as Milorganite. We watch our NPK. The soil test report just back from UW Cooperative Extension ($15 a pop) says our phosphorous at 41 ppm is right in the desired range of 25  to 50. (In any event, clean lakes legislation prohibits its application for all but newly planted lawns.) But the potassium (initial K or potash) is off the charts at 138 parts per million, well above the 40 to 80 recommended. We will apply no more fireplace wood ash. Soil analysis doesn’t report N, figuring lawns are always going to need more.

The Extension soil test reports 6.9% organic matter, which is most excellent. (Average is 4%.) Holds moisture, makes room for oxygen, provides nutrients, softens the soil. We mulch — even the leaves in fall by running the mower over everything several times. (Pictured here.) Easier than raking.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Dandelions, bee-food or not, are unwelcome at the Stately Manor. We are also the sworn enemy of creeping charlie. We’re raising the mower bed up another couple notches. We’ll let you know when our grass hits the recommended four inches. We’re guessing two weeks, given temperatures  forecast in the 80s F next week here in Madison WI.

Got bees?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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9 Responses to We may no mow or not this May

  1. Madtownforsure says:

    The city is mowing parks right now, so it’s OK now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Balboa says:

    The worry about pollinators demise is another existential threat theory based on incomplete science. So mowing lawns and spraying of weeds has been happening since the invention of the highly polluting 2 stroke lawn mowers and the use of much much worse weed killers of the past. So why were they not disappearing earlier. So the kookie earth muffins again equate loss of pollinators to mowing lawns which is almost 100 percent crap. I will continue to spray and mow until i no longer have a yard to mow. This is yet another case of a + b conclusion equals c. Lots of reasons why pollinators are having issues and it is caused more by introduction of non native plants, insects, molds, virus, fungi and bacterium into our environment from the globalization of our economies not from climate change and for sure not because i mow my lawn. This is another feel good concept with no measurable results. But, but imagine the people living for today…..

    I am deathly allergic to most these pollinators and have no need for their nests in my ground, under deck, in house or trees or near me when i mow. Tall grass also collects deerticks, wood ticks and mosquitos not a fan of the fun diseases those insects harbor.

    I will remain part of pro mow May.

    I support apiaries where they are needed, by orchards, or farms that require them, not in my neighborhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob says:

    I believe in do what you want as long as it doesn’t negatively affect me. I have neighbors that have golf course lawns, dandelion lawns and natural lawns. None bother me because I’m somewhere in between. It’s just grass. I think City Engineering doesn’t mow certain green ways until after nesting birds have grown and left. Maybe the City instead of covering mediums with concrete because they don’t have money to maintain plantings could put in clover or short natural grasses that they don’t need to maintain. With the UW and all the Green and tree huggers in Madison you would think there would be plenty of ideas. I like the clover idea for the parts of my lawn that grass doesn’t want to grow. Maybe on the terrace where little grass and a few weeds grow because of the road salt. I’ll have to check with the City to see if they allow it.


  4. Rich says:

    I love my dark, thick lawn fed with Milwaukee’s Best. (Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen, aka “Milorganite”). It’s my garden, my wife has hers. I use no chemicals and have no weeds.

    My first mow was Wednesday, yes MAY 4! In your face! I have NOTHING against “No Mow May” and I don’t tell people “MOW YOUR WEEDS!”, so I wish people would stop telling me to mow my lawn. We have plenty of flowers popping up in our yard to handle the pollinators. So, in a nutshell;


    Liked by 1 person

    • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

      “I love my dark, thick lawn fed with Milwaukee’s Best.”

      IMO, Milwaukee’s Best will never be anything other than beer…dammit…BEER!

      That said, our “lawn” consists of ~20 feet/6.1 meters, out of (less ~15 feet/4.6 meters of concrete apron) 120 feet/30.5 meters of city owned/The Gotch maintained terrace; the rest, in order to address The Global Warming That’s Here And Worse Than The Models Predicted** is rain-garden vertical plantings.

      Add to that a paltry ~150 sf/14 sm side yard (both of which he can mow in a two [2] minute media timeout…with a reel mower!), the rest is trees, shrubs, and mulch, to address…welp**, you get the picture

      Anywho, this is yet one more in a painfully long line of idiot Madison Lefty (forgive the redundancy) Gosh I’m Nice pipe dreams; the only thing that matters is the Look At Me endorphin surge.

      Remember EDIBLE LANDSCAPES? I’m Dialed IN Messiah Complex afflicted Lefty was going to Feed The World….um….juuuuuust one problem; despicable Lefty was too freakin’ cheap to pony up the annual $200 premium for liability coverage.

      Once you stop expecting it to make sense, it’ll make perfect sense!

      The Gotch


  5. Mr. Forward says:

    Price of manure soars. Wisconsin dairy farmers thank Biden Administration.


    • Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

      “Wisconsin dairy farmers thank Biden Administration.”

      That thankfulness came to a screeching halt when they saw seed, herbicide, fertilizer, fuel, lime, feed, implement replacement parts, vet service/supply, etc. price increases. ‘Course, WI Senate candidate Mandela Friend Of The Family Farmer Barnes may step in, but first someone needs to explain what all those things are for.

      Anywho, DementiaJoKe’s epically ruinous economy has even affected the operating budget of The Gotchberg Organic Gardens And Lefty Conversion Therapy Emporium.

      Purple Cow Organic Compost/Raised Bed Mix is up ~20 %. Jung’s marsh hay spiked 43 %, and veggie cellpacs jumped a whopping 50 %, which has forced the proprietor to consider a first ever delivery charge when he starts dispersing what’s hoped to be a bumper Tomato & Pepper crop.

      The Gotch


      • Mr. Forward says:

        Dr. Fauci and the CDC have instituted a crash program to transgender steers into bulls.
        In the meantime the Washington Post has agreed to suspend publishing.


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