One Redditor just showed the world a real-life example of what mowing does to plants.
Their dramatic photo appeared in r/NoLawns, a community dedicated to the many beautiful, money-saving, and eco-friendly alternatives to the traditional lawn. This time, the focus was specifically on how lawn care affects the environment.
“Found this in the wild,” they said. “The line is quite drastic.”
Their photo shows the plants running along a paved path at the edge of a wooded area. A border several feet wide has been mowed along the side of the path. The height of the plants isn’t very different; the unmowed side holds mostly low-growing plants.
The variety of plants, however, shows a sharp contrast. The unmowed half holds a healthy mixture of wild grasses, scrub, and wildflowers, with an attractive range of textures and colors even in autumn. The mowed side is limited exclusively to patchy grass.
“This is eastern Denmark … right next to a piece of forest that’s in the process of being re-naturalized from being a pine plantation,” the original poster explained in a comment. “Had lots of plants, grasses, and shrubs associated with the heaths found more commonly further west enjoying the nutrient poor, sandy soil … and then the mowed section with boring planted grass.”
According to the Redditor, they didn’t think mowing was always wrong. “Just a visual display of what mowing does to a piece of grassland,” they said.
One Instagrammer recently shared a video showing a similar phenomenon at the edge of a local homeowners association, and a Texas resident experienced the difference when they decided to stop mowing their property.
Besides encouraging flowers and native plants to grow, beautifying the land, and attracting pollinators and birds, allowing plants to grow to their full height without mowing is a smart move for climate control. In summer, healthy meadows and grasslands keep the temperature down much better than mowed lawns. Plus, mowing uses time and fuel and generates air pollution.
One commenter pointed out a practical reason to keep the grass near the path short. “I agree that the untouched portion is far more beautiful and better for wildlife, but I understand mowing near a street/residential area for the fire hazard,” they said. “I wish we could let the Buffalo grass grow to its full potential everywhere, but there’s always some a****** who flicks a cigarette and wrecks everything.”
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