Appleton considers cutting No Mow May; committee says No Way

An alderman says a study that supported the initiative to help pollinators was debunked
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 6:15 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 1:41 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A resolution to eliminate No Mow May in Appleton has been cut short.

No Mow May would be no mo’ if a request to repeal the ordinance reached the full city council and passed. But a vote by the Municipal Services Committee stopped it, saying “no way” on killing No Mow May.

The initiative giving people a choice not to mow their lawns during the 5th month of the year was given permanence with an ordinance 3 years ago. The goal is to let grasses and plants, even dastardly dandelions, grow to provide food and protection to bees and other pollinators in early spring before more decorative plants bloom later.

“It’s an ordinance now that’s unnecessary,” city alderman Chad Doran said.

Originally, a research paper from Lawrence University helped the initiative pass, but the study was later retracted by the journal that published it.

“I would say what we know is, here in Appleton, there isn’t a direct benefit from it because there is no scientific support for it here,” said Doran.

However, supporters of the initiative say science still backs the benefits of letting your grass grow higher in the spring, and the parts of the study that were debunked do not change that.

“This is very disappointing and very surprising,” alderman Vered Meltzer said. “This is something that there is overwhelming support for in the community. It’s really been a grassroots effort to make it happen.”

Both sides agree that planting more gardens would be beneficial and that the introduction of the initiative helped to spread the message of the importance of protecting bees.

Changes could be coming to an ordinance on mowing your lawn in Appleton.