- Environment and Sustainability Commission
- Pollinator & Habitat Initiatives
Pollinator & Habitat Initiatives
75% of all flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce, including one third of all the food we eat: blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, tomatoes, and so much more! Most of us think of bees when we think of pollinators, but pollinators also include a host of other animals, such as butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, ants, flies, and beetles; there are over 200,000 pollinator species worldwide. In Rosemount, we are lucky to be home to the federally endangered and Minnesota state bee, the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. Additionally, Dakota County is home to 125 rare species of plants and animals listed as of special concern, threatened, or endangered by the State of Minnesota or Federal Government. The City of Rosemount has initiated several pollinator and habitat conservation programs we encourage residents to take part in. A few are listed below.
No Mow May for 2023 has ended. All Participating residents must mow lawns to be compliant with the City lawn height standard of 8 inches or less by the end of the day on 11. The City will resume inspection and enforcement on lawn height starting June 12. See the tips section below for advice on getting your lawn back to normal heights. Check back in spring of 2024 to participate.
About No Mow May
May can be a tough time for pollinators. Many, including bees, are emerging from winter hibernation at a time of year when there isn't a lot of food and cover. One way we can help pollinators through this difficult time is to press pause on mowing in May. You may have a few more dandelions, but you'll also have more bees! Studies have shown suspending mowing in May can increase the number and diversity of bees.
The City Council recently enacted a resolution proclaiming No Mow May. In support of No Mow May, the City will be temporarily suspending enforcement of lawn height ordinances for the month of May on occupied residential properties in good standing. The City will resume enforcement of lawn height ordinances on Monday June 12th, 2023.
How to Participate
The City asks that residents wishing to participate in No Mow May fill out a registration form and place a sign in their yard/window annually. Now Mow May 2023 has ended. The registration form will remain closed until spring of 2024.
Tips for a Successful No Mow May
Sometimes doing nothing, like delaying mowing for a month, isn't as easy as it sounds. We've put together the following tips to help you have a successful No Mow May. Check back from time to time; we'll update tips as questions arise throughout May.
|Problem: Help! It's June, and I can't get my mower through my jungle lawn!|
|Solution 1: Delay fertilizing your lawn until after No Mow May is done.|
|Solution 2: Mow your lawn before June. Mowing less often than you normally would will still allow some early spring blooming flowers into your lawn.|
|Solution 3: Rent a heavy duty mower in June when it's time to mow.|
|Solution 4: Make multiple passes with your mower. Set your mower deck as high as you can for the first pass and go slow. Lower your mower deck for the next pass. Repeat until you get to the desired lawn height. Wait a couple of days between passes if you will be removing more than 1/3 of your grass height to prevent injury to your lawn.|
|Solution 5: If you have a mulching mower, consider discontinuing use of the mulching function and add the chute to your mower for the first time you mow in June. This helps reduce the chances that your mower will get bogged down and kill. It is really important if you use a chute when you mow to aim the chute away from roads, sidewalks, and driveways. This will reduce the amount of grass clippings that get in the road and reduce cleanup. Grass clippings left in the road wash into stormdrains when it rains where they clog drains and cause street flooding or wash into local ponds and cause algae blooms when they break down.|
|Problem: Help! The dandelions have taken over! I wanted to help the bees, but this is not what I had in mind.|
|Solution 1: Mow before the flowers set to seed. Many of the early-blooming lawn flowers are annuals, they only live one season. Mowing after they bloom but before they go to seed prevents them from taking over your lawn but sill allows pollinators access to food.|
|Solution 2: Add some early spring blooming native plants to your garden and skip participation in No Mow May. Here's a list to get you started: Pasque Flower, Red & Yellow Columbine (other varieties are not native to MN), Wild Geranium, Bellwort, Prairie Smoke, Wild Blue Phlox, Jacob's Ladder, Early Buttercup, Bird's Food Violet, Prairie Violet, Common Blue Violet, Heart-leaved Golden Alexanders, and Golden Alexanders. Don't forget about early flowering shrubs like Elderberry, Snowberry, Juneberry, and Black Chokeberry.|
|Problem: Help! My neighbors are giving me the evil eye because of all the dandelions in my yard.|
|Solution 1: Consider limiting the area of your yard that you don't mow to areas not easily seen by your neighbors. This could be a fenced in backyard or an area screen by some shrubs. Every little bit helps.|
|Solution 2: Maintain a mowed buffer or maintenance strip between your yard and any neighbors. This would be a width of 1-2 passes with the mower that your would mow on your normal summer schedule.|
|Solution 3: Mow before the flowers set to seed. Many of the early-blooming lawn flowers are annuals, they only live one season. Mowing after they bloom but before they go to seed prevents them from taking over your lawn but sill allows pollinators access to food.|
|Solution 4: Add some early spring blooming native plants to your garden and skip participation in No Mow May. Here's a list to get you started: Pasque Flower, Red & Yellow Columbine (other varieties are not native to MN), Wild Geranium, Bellwort, Prairie Smoke, Wild Blue Phlox, Jacob's Ladder, Early Buttercup, Bird's Food Violet, Prairie Violet, Common Blue Violet, Heart-leaved Golden Alexanders, and Golden Alexanders. Don't forget about early flowering shrubs like Elderberry, Snowberry, Juneberry, and Black Chokeberry.|
|Problem: I'm worried about ticks. What can I do?|
|Solution 1: Deer Ticks, also called Blacklegged Ticks, the kind of ticks that can spread Lyme Disease, tend to live in wooded brushy areas. If you don't have that kind of habitat in your yard, your risks may be low. If you do have have a lot of brushy habitat in your yard, or if you've had problems with ticks in the past, we recommend adding some early spring blooming native plants to your garden instead of participating in No Mow May. See the list above.|
The City will be participating in No Mow May at the following locations: Shannon Park, Twin Puddles Park, City Hall, Bloomfield Park, Bacardi Water Tower, Chippendale Water Tower, and East Water Tower. Map of location where the City has reduced mowing in the month of May.
Get your kids involved in learning about the important work of pollinators. Check out these fun pollinator activity sheets for kids:
- Kids coloring sheet version of the No Mow May yard sign
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Baily the Bee Coloring Book
- University of Illinois Buzzzy Activity Book
- The Great Sunflower Project Coloring Page for Kids
Find more information on No Mow May at the Bee City USA website.
Learn about the leadership role one local Girl Scout is taking in an effort to protect pollinators.
You can report an issue via the City website. You can also email the ESC liaison or call 651-322-2075 if you have questions about the Environment & Sustainability Commission or No Mow May.
The City of Rosemount enacted Resolution 2022-05: A Resolution Supporting Pollinator Friendly Habitats and Environments at its January 18, 2022 meeting. The resolution confirms the City's commitment to becoming a pollinator friendly city through the following actions:
- Using best management practices in the use of plantings in public spaces.
- Planting flowers favorable to bees and pollinators.
- Planting native species in native spaces.
- Using best management practices in the use of pesticides in public spaces.
- Refraining from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, with the exception of emerald ash borer treatments.
You can help the City in its efforts to support pollinators through the use of pollinator friendly practices in your yard and by volunteering for programs that support native habitats and pollinators. Check out the No Mow May and Support Pollinators tabs on this page.
Your yard can play a critical role in improving habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. Plantings within your yard (e.g. gardens, trees, and shrubs) can provide food and shelter for small animals, like pollinators and birds, or act as critical rest stops for migrating wildlife, connecting the dots between larger natural areas. Below is a list of actions residents and businesses can take to support pollinators and wildlife:
Plant Flowers and Native Plants
- Flowers provide food (nectar and pollen) for pollinators.
- It is important to have blooming plants throughout the growing season, April through October.
- Native plants are plants that could be found growing in Minnesota prior to European Settlement (about 1850). They are adapted to the climate and evolved with local wildlife.
- Native plants are best as some wildlife rely on specific native plants to provide food and shelter; they don't need extra watering or fertilizer once established; and provide other benefits, such as carbon sequestration and erosion control.
- Avoid plants that have been pretreated with neonicotinoid pesticides.
- Don't forget that many trees and shrubs are a good option for early spring flowers.
- You don't have to start from scratch. You can add to existing gardens.
- These cost share opportunities can help with planning and financing the addition of native plants to your yard for qualifying projects: Landscaping for Clean Water, Rosemount Stormwater Rebate, and Lawns to Legumes. Many projects will qualify for use of all three programs.
- Check out this native plant supplier and landscaper list.
- Check out these plant selectors and lists: Restore Your Shore, MNDOT (make sure you select 'Minnesota' for Place of Origin), BWSR. Native plant and seed suppliers can also often help out with plant selection and may have plant selection tools on their website.
- Check out these planting plans.
Create Nesting Habitat
- Offer a variety of different plant structures: native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees.
- Leave some small bare patches of ground in areas where erosion is not an issue. They can be very small. They can be tucked into a corner of the garden you or neighbors don't see.
- Don't cut back or remove all of your leaves and plant stems in the fall and spring. Many pollinators nest or hibernate in hollow stems and leaves. Stems can be cut to knee height to make them less visible and leaves can be used to mulch the garden.
- Plant butterfly and moth host plants.
- Check out this local Girl Scout's Gold Award Project on bee nests.
- Minnesota Bee Lab nesting habitat resources.
Use Pesticides Responsibly
- Avoid pesticide use if you can.
- Use pesticides as labeled.
- Spot spray. Only apply pesticides where needed. Don't blanket the entire yard or garden.
- Diagnose the problem before use so that you know you're using the correct chemical.
- Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Volunteer & Participate in Citizen Science
- Participate in No Mow May (see tab on this page).
- Participate in Minnesota Bee Lab citizen science initiatives
- Help restore native lands with Vermillion Stewards
- Volunteer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Volunteer for the City. We take suggestions for projects.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- Studies suggest that climate change is negatively affecting many pollinators and wildlife species.
- Take advantage of energy rebates and renewable energy programs available to residents and businesses.
- National Pollinator Week 2023 will focus on Pollinators and Climate Change.
Spread the Word
- Place a sign in your new garden. Lawns to Legumes grant recipients receive a sign.
- Map your project.
- Tell your friends and neighbors about your project and how you did it.
The above list is taken from resources on the Minnesota Bee Lab, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources, and Xerces Society websites. Not all practices will work for all yards or situations. Choose what works best for your situation. Every small action makes a difference. It all adds up.
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