Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why are the “No Mow” areas, like the Riparian Buffer and Wildflower Meadow, mowed?
Answer: In most areas, any landscape left undisturbed will eventually become a forest. Before European settlement, New England was largely covered by old-growth forests. Due to human disturbances and natural disturbances, like storms and fires, the region also included various patches of meadows and young forests. Mowing provides the disturbance required to maintain the “no mow” areas at the meadow stage of succession, providing habitat to organisms that require this important, but increasingly rare, ecosystem.
Question: Why aren’t Massasoit’s Sustainable Landscapes cut back until the spring, while most gardeners cut them back in the fall?
Answer: Most gardeners cut back herbaceous plants in the fall because they prefer a “clean” look. Because one of the goals of sustainable landscaping is usefulness, plants aren’t cut back until the spring, allowing wildlife to have food and cover over the winter.
Question: What’s the most sustainable way to clean up leaves in the fall?
Answer: In natural ecosystems, leaves are left on the forest floor to decompose and build healthy, rich soil. Removing leaves also removes nutrients and organic matter that are important components of healthy soil, so we make up for this deficit by applying fertilizer. Fossil fuels are required to move leaves around, and many leaves end up in the landfill. Instead, consider leaving leaves on the ground and mulching them in place!
- Smart gardeners mulch fallen leaves into lawn to save money
- Rake the Leaves? Some Towns Say Mow Them