A City Council committee decided Tuesday to cut some slack for folks who wish to let their turf grass grow early in the spring — but not fully embrace the concept.

The tepid response to the No Mow May campaign by the Human Services Committee follows a recommendation from the Evanston Environment Board that the city not sponsor or participate in the program.

The board says there is some evidence that lawns left unmown then — so clover and dandelions can flower — attract more bees.

But it says dandelions are a non-native plant and argues that replacing lawn grasses with trees, shrubs and wildflower gardens is a more ecologically sound solution.

And it says “lawns that look neglected could reinforce misconceptions about sustainable landscape management and increase resistance, with little if any pay-off.”

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) had suggested that the city create a registration program that would let residents qualify for a waiver from the city’s weed ordinance through the month of May and provide signs to announce their participation.

The weed ordinance bars letting grass grow more than eight inches tall.

But after getting the environment board report, Revelle moved that the committee direct city staff instead to draft an amendment to the weed ordinance to permit unmown lawns until May 15.

The committee voted unanimously to approve that motion.

Last year the City Council rejected a proposal from Ald. Devon Reid (8th) to stop mowing city parks in May after city staff said the tall grass would lead to problems with pests and rodents and limit the use of playing fields.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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