Delay the first Spring cut

Initiated 2021

The first glimpse of Spring sunshine has people rushing into their gardens and the first thing we see is the lawn. It's the biggest area and it makes us feel good to 'tidy it up' but we shouldn't be removing biodiversity habitats so soon.

Good reasons to delay:

First mapped in 2017, and then updated in 2022 after further new housing developments, it was identified that Johnstown hosts approximately 267,000 sqm of public grass lawns (not including verges). This is nearly the equivalent area of every household having an extra 10m by 10m front garden extension.

We have not included the IDA land in our map since the open fields are farmed for grass. 

Estate lawns mapped in 2022


2023 saw banks of yellow flowers along Johnstown's main roads in March and April. With Meath County Council onboard the verges were left to grow and they erupted with yellow dandelions from early April and were left uncut for the entire month.

The same estates allowed the grass lawns to grow long until mid to late April. The north Metges Road lawns at Johnstown Wood and Bailis Downs produced a sea of dandelions especially where the long grass meadows grew in 2022.

2km of verges hosted uncut grass with dandelions, a small number of daisies, and even fewer red clover.
Thousands of dandelions in flower over Johnstown Wood Estate lawn and site of long grass meadows.

Our 2022 quick poll survey results in 2023 were by and large a repeat. The main reason for most of the lawns being cut was because the Easter bank holiday fell over April 9th resulting in the school holidays beginning at the very start of the month. Any warm dry weather results in children playing outside and the appeal to garden and cut grass is at its highest. 

The timing of Easter and the temptation for people to reconnect with traditional gardening is not good news for biodiversity. Easter Sunday in 2024 is set to be March 31st which could result in lawns being cut as early as mid-March. This would create a food crisis for emerging bees and hungry birds.


2022 got off to a great start with 20,000 sqm of estate lawns around North Metges Road looking amazing in late April. These estates promised not to cut the lawns until mid-April onwards. Every yellow sparkle amongst the grass lawn is a dandelion, the white are daisies in flower, providing pollen and nectar to wildlife. 

View over Bailis Downs to Johnstown Wood Estate

Extract from our 2021 actions for pollinators map 

Estate Survey

To establish a baseline we started to record the actions in 2022 by Johnstown estates to reveal when the first cut of the year has been made. The survey is non-judgemental since there may be valid reasons with practical issues to overcome. 

This map will be updated as we discover more.


Sustainable Development Goals

This project has connections with the following categories: