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Ten Years of No Mow Areas Creates More Diversity

Updated: Apr 25

Written by Barbara Wilks, Landscape Architect, Member of Pyramid Hill's Board of Trustees, April 22, 2024

In 2014, Pyramid Hill began a new maintenance process to allow approximately 40-50 acres of former lawn area to regenerate, and now, ten years later, we are seeing more plant diversity and regrowth created in these areas. This process (nicknamed “no mow”) allows the lawn to be replaced by a greater diversity of species, including grasses, shrubs and trees. This provides multiple benefits including increased habitat and food for animals, better storm water management as rainstorms increase in intensity, and added resiliency for our forests in the face of increasing change.

Trees themselves are an important part of our local ecosystem, sequestering carbon, providing oxygen for us to breathe and shade to cool the air. As baby trees sprout in the “no-mow” undergrowth, we are ensuring the continuity of this life-sustaining forested landscape.

Baby oak tree stands among large oak trees in no mow regrowth area
Baby Oak Tree, Photo by Barbara Wilks

Now in 2024, ten years into this process, we are adding another 10-20 acres to the “no mow” regime to further increase diversity in no mow areas. These added areas will shape the edges of the forested areas to focus on the sculpture and direct visitors, as well as allowing more area for trees to regenerate. Be on the watch for these new areas all around the park!

In addition to new trees coming up, we will also see native grasses like little blue stem, Indian hemp, and many native wildflowers. Shrubs and small trees like grey and flowering dogwood, redbud, pawpaw and black cherry as well as some invasive shrubs and trees like honeysuckle and Callery Pear will also sprout which we keep down through selective removal. And of course, we hope to regenerate the large trees in our forests like the many species of oaks and hickories, maple, walnut, buckeye and others.

Baby pawpaw tree stands surrounded by other mature trees in no mow regrowth areas
Baby Pawpaw Tree, Photo by Barbara Wilks

Our temperate deciduous forest at Pyramid Hill has over 210 recorded plant species according to our latest survey. Allowing this diversity to flourish is the best way to ensure its continuation. When you visit Pyramid Hill, we hope you are enjoying the newly wooded areas and the increase in wildlife they support. Please remember when you see these dynamic areas of grasses and shrubs, they may not look as neat as the former lawn, but they are much better at supporting life, including our own.

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