Grow Not Mow

Grow Not Mow Spring2022 Planting EventIn spring 2022, volunteers planted more than 100 native trees and shrubs at the City's pilot Grow Not Mow area on South Park Boulevard.

Next planting event: Saturday, April 13, 1-3 pm. Join us at Site No. 1 on South Park Blvd., across from Hathaway Brown School.

The City's Grow Not Mow program allows areas of public land that meet certain criteria to return to their natural state. When an area is identified for the Grow Not Mow program, the City will eliminate (or limit) mowing at that site.

In addition, City Council's Tree Advisory Board and Sustainability Committee teamed up with the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership to more actively restore native habitat at the City's pilot Grow Not Mow area on South Park Boulevard across from Hathaway Brown School. This has included planting more than 100 native trees and shrubs there (see photo above), thanks to a grant from the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District. In addition, volunteers return to the site regularly to remove non-native plants. The hope is that with the non-native plants removed, native plants will be rejuvenated and can be added to the site to provide food for wildlife, insects and many pollinators.

Background

Grow Not Mow area along South Park Boulevard The Shaker Heights Grow Not Mow program seeks to limit and/or eliminate mowing on select publicly-owned parcels of land, in particular those that are infrequently used by residents and/or where mowing is difficult or even dangerous. This sustainable practice saves the City money, while also providing important ecological benefits.

In 2021, the City piloted its first Grow Not Mow zone on S. Park Blvd. across from Hathaway Brown School on a stretch of roadside along the Doan Brook (see photo). The area was mowed once in the spring, then left to grow freely. By summer's end, native grasses and flowers were creating new habitat for pollinators, while helping to reduce stormwater runoff into the Doan Brook.

Benefits of Grow Not Mow

Benefits include:

  • Cost savings for the City
  • Reduced air and noise pollution
  • Reduced stormwater runoff
  • Reduced soil erosion
  • More habitat for native plants and pollinators, including bees and butterflies

Frequent mowing compacts soil, which can increase stormwater runoff and flooding. Non-compacted soil absorbs more stormwater, helping to improve our region's water quality by preventing pollutants, including fertilizers and pesticides, from entering our streams and lakes. 

Learn More

What's Next

The Sustainability Committee is working to identify new areas for the Grow Not Mow program. Areas will be evaluated by the Committee and City staff. Residents can email the Sustainability Committee with their ideas for areas for consideration using the Committee's contact form. Thank you!