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New 'No Mow' zones provide plenty of benefits

Posted: May 19, 2020

New 'No Mow' zones provide plenty of benefits

Signage will soon be going up along the paths in Bottomley Creek and Silver Springs Park advising of changes in how the RM manages landscapes in these parks.

In 2020 grassed areas that are not actively used for recreation will be allowed to grow, providing a number of benefits - these areas have been carefully selected. Areas that will continue to be mowed are rest areas by park benches and other areas used for picnics and recreation activities. The grass adjacent to pathways will also be mowed on a regular basis, leaving an approximate two-meter buffer on either side of the path so dogs, joggers and others will still have access to grass to walk and run on.

While the grass may be allowed to grow, it does not mean the RM will stop maintaining these green spaces. Weeds will continue to be managed and staff will be monitoring to see how the vegetation is changing – managing for desirable species.

Where native plants do not emerge naturally through this new approach, planting with native species will occur. It will take time for these to shift, but imagine in 10 years the trees that will be growing!

The native vegetation that will replace the existing turf grass will be a more diverse community of plants – providing better habitat for song birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

The new communities that will emerge will also be more resilient to drought conditions, stabilizing soil with their root systems that extend up to three meters (10 ft).

By comparison, turf grass has a root system that only grows a few inches deep, dying off during dry periods and allowing weeds to take root.

To better understand the benefits of native plants and how you can incorporate them in your yard please see the Native Plant and Seeding Guide on our website under the ‘Residents’ tab; Environment & Climate; Planting & Seeding Guide.

Reducing the area that we mow also has other environmental benefits. Shrubs and trees will start to emerge in 3-5 years, and within 10 years will provide shade in the summer and a wind break in the winter.

Less mowing with gas mowers means lower green house gas emissions. The new vegetation community will also sequester carbon that is driving climate change – that is it will capture more carbon in its deep root structures.

To really get an idea about how significant these changes are check out this neat University of North Carolina’s carbon calculator and see the difference vegetation changes could mean for your own yard! http://www.carboncalculator.ncsu.edu/

Picture:  How Bottomley Creek vegetation will look in a few years time.


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