This month marks the fifth anniversary of “No Mow May,” an annual environmental project dedicated to promoting sustainable, eco-friendly lawns via a 31-day landscaping moratorium. In doing so, the brief respite gives bees and other pollinators a chance to do what they do best: contribute to a vibrant, healthy, and biodiverse ecosystem. To keep the No Mow May momentum going, Swedish tech company Husqvarna has announced a new, simple feature for its line of robotic lawnmowers: a “rewilding” mode that ensures 10 percent of owners’ lawns remain untouched for pollinators and other local wildlife.
While meticulously manicured lawns are part of the traditional suburban American mindset, they come at steep ecological costs such as biodiversity loss and massive amounts of water waste. The Natural Resource Defense Council, for instance, estimates that grass lawns consume almost 3 trillion gallons of water each year alongside 200 million gallons of gas for traditional mowers, as well as another 70 million pounds of harmful pesticides. In contrast, rewilding is a straightforward, self-explanatory concept long pushed by environmentalists and sustainability experts that encourages a return to regionally native flora for all-around healthier ecosystems.
[Related: Build a garden that’ll have pollinators buzzin’.]
While convincing everyone to adopt rewilding practices may seem like a near-term impossibility, companies like Husqvarna are hoping to set the literal and figurative lawnmower rolling with its new autopilot feature. According to Husqvarna’s announcement, if Europeans set aside just a tenth of their lawns, the cumulative area would amount to four times the size of the continent’s largest nature preserve.
Enabling the Rewilding Mode only takes a few taps within the product line’s Automower Connect app, and can be customized to change the overall shape, size, and placement of the rewilding zones. Once established, the robotic mower’s onboard GPS systems ensure which areas of an owner’s lawn are off-limits and reserved for bees, butterflies, and whatever else wants to set up shop.
Of course, turning on Rewilding Mode means owning a Husqvarna robotic mower that supports the setting—and at a minimum of around $700 for such a tool, they might be out of many lawn care enthusiasts’ budgets. Even so, that doesn’t mean you should abandon giving rewilding a try for your own lawns. It’s easy to get started on the project, and as its name suggests, doesn’t take much maintenance once it’s thriving. If nothing else, there’s still two weeks left in No Mow May, so maybe consider postponing your weekend outdoor chore for a few more days.