No Mow May

The City of Brookings is proud to participate in No Mow May and encourages people to join in the community’s inaugural effort to help bees and other pollinators survive and thrive.

Spring is a vital time of year for pollinators as they emerge from the soil and look for habitat and food. By not mowing your lawn during May, you can provide these beneficial resources for pollinators in our community.

What is No Mow May? 
No Mow May is a national campaign advocated by Bee City USA to help bees and other early-season pollinators find a welcoming habitat and forage after the dormant winter. No Mow May aims to raise awareness of pollinators in urban landscapes by encouraging people to cease mowing their lawns during the month of May. No Mow May Yard Sign

Why is Brookings participating in No Mow May?
The Brookings Sustainability Council recommended approval of the No Mow May ordinance to the City Council. At its meeting on February 28, 2023, the City Council approved Ordinance 23-004 to allow owners or occupants to refrain from mowing their lawns during May. The City will not issue violation notices for not mowing lawns during May.

Is participation in No Mow May voluntary?
Yes, participation in No Mow May is voluntary. 

What do I need to do to participate?
There are no special requirements to participate in No Mow May. However, we recommend that you display a No Mow May yard sign in your lawn for the duration of May to help raise awareness of the campaign and to let neighbors know your residence is participating. Participants must mow their lawns by June 7 to comply with the City's vegetation management practices.

Where can I get a free yard sign?
Yard signs are available, one per address, free of charge for pickup at the Brookings City & County Government Center, Suite 230, at 520 Third St., during regular business hours. Signs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Signs will be limited to one per address. Signs are being provided courtesy of the Brookings Sustainability Council. Regular business hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday. Signs must be placed in lawns, not on boulevards.

What should I do with my lawn when No Mow May ends?
By June 7, 2023, all properties must be brought into compliance with the City’s vegetation management practices, which state that lawns, grasses and weeds must not be more than 15 inches in height.

To minimize strain to you and your lawn-mowing equipment, consider the following:

  • Raise your lawn mower deck to the highest setting when initially mowing your lawn. This should help prevent clumping under your mower.
  • Use a string trimmer (also known as a weed wacker) to do an initial pass on your lawn to shorten the length of vegetation. Then use a lawn mower to finish and clean up.

Be sure to rake up your grass clippings to prevent them from going into the streets. This keeps our storm drains clear and helps protect our water quality.

Do other cities have No Mow May?
Yes. According to Bee City USA, No Mow May started in the United Kingdom as an effort to create a better habitat for bees emerging from hibernation. In 2020, Appleton, Wis., became the first city in the United States to formally adopt the initiative. Since then, several other U.S. cities have followed suit. These include Edina, West Saint Paul and Mankato in Minnesota, as well as Stevens Point, Wis., and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Where can I learn more about No Mow May?
To learn more about the No Mow May initiative and pollinators, check out these resources:

Did you know?
In May 2018, South Dakota State University became the first university campus in South Dakota to become a Bee Campus USA affiliate. Bee Campus USA promotes groundskeeping and community outreach that supports and promotes pollinators.