CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – The weather is finally getting warmer, and things are certainly getting greener, but city leadership in Cleveland Heights is asking residents to consider holding off on mowing the grass.
On May 3, 2023, Mayor Kahlil Seren signed an executive order to suspend code-related enforcement for uncut grass and to reduce the mowing of public property for No-Mow May.
The update was posted to Facebook where many people were quick to chime in, voicing opinions for and against the plan.
“Participation in No-Mow May will save water, save money, reduce air and noise pollution, and create better conditions for invertebrates like bees and fireflies. When Cleveland Heights stopped using pesticides some years back, we saw a return of fireflies (lightning bugs) on summer nights. Their return is an indication of a healthier ecosystem and a true sign that we are on the right track in our sustainability efforts,” the City posted to Facebook.
“I think that’s one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard,” Cleveland Heights homeowner Mark Washington said.
Washington has lived in Cleveland Heights for a decade, where he said many already don’t care for their lawns properly, which he feels makes his neighborhood look bad.
“I’ve had to go to City Hall, to City Council meetings several times to complain about my neighbors having three-foot high grass,” he said. “I don’t see why the mayor would try to encourage this.”
The city will not be cutting the grass on city properties, limiting mowing to only if it’s needed to prevent health or safety concerns, such as the grass in a roadway median.
The No-Mow May concept was successful in several parts of the country, according to Bee City, USA. Central Kentucky saw 26 species of bees visit urban and suburban lawns, according to research. Early spring is when floral resources are often limited to pollinators.
This could also have an impact on local workers, especially landscapers. Marcus Williams is retired, but to stay busy he runs a private landscaping company. He said business is booming during the spring and summer months.
“Particularly, the month of May is prime growing season,” he said. “You know we’re getting our rain, and so after the rain and the sun hits it and the grass it’s standing five inches tall.”
He thinks No-Mow May could have a big financial impact on not just him, but other landscapers with bigger crews.
“A lawncare company, or landscaping company that has employees, you’d have them sitting for a month with no source of income,” Williams said. “Is that really fair for their households?”
Washington said there is no way he will adopt the suggested plan for No-Mow May because he takes a lot of pride in keeping his home, and yard nice. He suggests planting flowers as an alternative to overgrown yards.
“I’m all for saving the environment, but people not cutting their grass for a month isn’t going to do that,” he said.
The No-Mow May plan is voluntary for residents.