In the last 15 years, an estimated 40 acres of native vegetation pollinator habitats have been created in Golden Valley. About 24 acres were created by the City through the establishment of natural buffers and filter strips near water bodies. The remaining 16 acres were established by property owners like General Mills and local residents.
In 2019, the Golden Valley City Council adopted a resolution endorsing pollinator protection and promoting pollinator habitats in Golden Valley.
Why It's Important
More than one-third of all plant-based products consumed by humans depend on various pollinators. Insects like bees and butterflies, birds, and small mammals are critical to perpetuating and proliferating our food sources.
Pollinator gardens serve as habitats and food sources for pollinators. They also reduce chemical runoff into local waterways and produce food free of potentially harmful pesticides. Above all, they promote pollinators, whose global populations have dropped off over the last few decades.
In December 2022, the Golden Valley City Council adopted a resolution supporting No-Mow May.
The initiative encourages residents to refrain from mowing lawns through the month of May to allow temperatures to remain above 50 degrees for a period of about a week so that ground-nesting insects, including various bee species, can wake from hibernation. Delaying mowing also allows beneficial forbs to bloom to provide more abundant habitat and food sources to insects in the spring.
No-Mow May Tips
From The Golden Valley Garden Club
Since No-Mow May is a new concept to many Golden Valley residents, check out these tips for first-timers from the Golden Valley Garden Club.
- Aside from not mowing, it’s also recommended to not use fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals harmful to pollinators.
- Be a good neighbor and harvest or mow dandelion flowers before they go to seed.
- You don’t have to try No-Mow May on your entire lawn. Stick to the backyard, sideyard, or whatever your preference is. Any bit helps.
- If your grass does get too long but you still want to participate, it’s best to mow no more than 1/3 of the length off at a time.
Register Your Lawn
To differentiate No-Mow May participants from neglectful property owners, the City will require a fast and free registration for the initiative. Please note registrations will expire Dec 31 of each year. Residents will need to re-register before each May.
Choose Diverse Plants
The US Fish and Wildlife Service recommends choosing plants that flower at different times of the year, planting in clumps, and providing a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators. Whenever possible, choose native plants.
Reduce Or Avoid Pesticides
Refraining from pesticide use is one of the key ingredients to a pollinator garden, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which states that "some pesticide residues can kill pollinators for several days after the pesticide is applied."
Mind the Larva
The last component of a good pollinator garden is the presence of nesting plants in which pollinators can live or lay their eggs. Pollinator larva thrive on plant leaves, so allow parts of the garden to revert to wild grasses, weeds, and wildflowers. Monarch butterfly caterpillars, for example, thrive in milkweed. Leave ornamental plants and grasses uncut in the fall to provide overwinter pollinator habitat.
For more information about how to better your yard and garden for pollinators, visit the MN Department of Agriculture website. Also, the Golden Valley Garden Club is a dynamic network of gardeners at all levels of experience. The club is always looking for new members and volunteers.