Mow the lawn. Allergies and droughts should be considered

How should urban lawns be mowed to satisfy allergy sufferers, pet owners, aesthetes and residents seeking to combat the effects of the climate crisis? Reading discussions in neighborhood groups is a headache, but fortunately city officials are increasingly listening to experts and mowing the lawn wisely.

  • Since the beginning of May, city dwellers have been discussing whether and how often city lawns should be mowed.
  • Tall grasses help fight drought and smog, but allergy sufferers complain about them during pollen season
  • More and more Polish cities are approaching the topic of urban lawns in a pro-ecological way, adopting solutions proposed by activists
  • You can read more similar stories on

We usually start discussions about mowing the grass when we are awakened way too early by the loud chatter of the mower. How the city should care for its lawns and meadows is a topic of conversation throughout spring and summer. Residents are increasingly aware that tall grasses are invaluable in the fight against urban droughts, but it’s also impossible to ignore the arguments of allergy sufferers, pet owners and aesthetes who would rather see a clean-cut lawn than neglected pastures. to notice. “Let’s not weed yards with narrow lawns. Let’s keep some aesthetics from these beautiful residential areas in the city center” – we read in a discussion on one of the Facebook groups on the estate.

However, experts from city organizations and eco-activists agree: tall grass is an invaluable weapon in the fight against the effects of the climate crisis and not only helps in the fight against drought, but also makes the heat less noticeable and saves the city . However, that doesn’t mean you should stop mowing altogether – the important thing is not to do it too often.

The rest of the text can be found below the video

Mow, but how often?

On May 10, Warsaw started mowing street lawns. Like every year, the Municipal Green Council published a long memorandum explaining exactly how the lawns are mowed and why the city is consistently trying to reduce mowing. For several years now, Warsaw has approached the topic of mowing the lawn in an environmentally friendly way, treating it more like meadows than lovingly tended lawns.

“Due to climate change, the Greens Management of the capital Warsaw several years ago limited the mowing of street lawns from five to three times a year. The municipal unit also limits them in places where it is possible, for example on lanes between roads, where the grass is only one or twice a season “- we read in the official statement, which is more or less in line with the recommendations of activists of the Miasto Jest Nasz association (in July 2020 they proposed limiting the frequency of mowing to a maximum of 3 -4 times a year, with a minimum height of 10 cm stem – red note). Similar rules have been introduced, including in Krakow, which will again stop intensive mowing for a year in a row due to changing climatic conditions.

A flower meadow in the center of Warsaw

Photo: East News

Cities struggle with concrete

Grasses must be mowed, however, as long untreated grass can lignify at the base and newly laid lawns must thicken and strengthen the turf. For obvious reasons, representative lawns require a very different kind of maintenance: they are regularly mowed, irrigated, fertilized and aerated. There is room for this in cities, but also for natural urban meadows that are not mowed and unchecked. It’s worth adding that cities struggle with concrete in other ways as well – eg sowing grass on the roofs of the bus stops. The example from Pozna shows that thanks to such an experiment it is possible to reduce the temperature, air dust and CO2 emissions.

Green roofs at bus stops in Pozna.  This is the road to concrete

Green roofs at bus stops in Pozna. This is the road to concrete

Photo: AMS

Ticks, allergy?

The arguments for mowing urban lawns more often are those associated with ticks lurking in tall grass and increased symptoms of pollen allergy. Unfortunately, ticks pose a threat to us regardless of grass height – studies show no relationship between grass height and tick population.

The situation is slightly different in the case of allergies, which can cause even 40% of them. Poles, and they are often very strong ailments that make breathing difficult. For their sake, it would be worth consulting the dates of mowing lawns with allergists, based on allergological forecasts. Shortening the lawns to more than 10 cm seems like a safe compromise.

Fight against drought and carbon monoxide emissions

The city needs flower meadows, not only because their complex root system binds rainwater in the soil and retains moisture longer than a lawn. Pastures also reduce localized flooding and flooding, help fight smog and feed bees and other wild pollinators. The health benefit of flower meadows and less frequent mowing of urban lawns is the reduction of carbon monoxide and non-methane hydrocarbon emissions – diesel garden machines emit a lot of them, which also affects the above allergies (allergists recommend wearing masks). during the dusting and mowing period of grasses, preferably those with an appropriate certificate).

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