Clover Comeback

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At one time, most lawns had at least some clover growing in them, and many were almost entirely clover. Today, many lawn enthusiasts are trying to limit the use of pesticides and are again turning to clover.

Benefits of Clover

  • White clover (Trifolium repens) is a rapid spreader that crowds out broadleaf weeds while it grows harmoniously with grass. It will thrive in areas that are poorly drained or too shady for a conventional lawn.
  • Being a legume, clover has the ability to convert nitrogen into fertilizer using bacteria in it's root system, practically eliminating the need for additional fertilization.
  • It is an extremely drought-resistant plant and will keep its cool-green color even during the hottest and driest parts of summer.
  • Left uncut, white clover grows 4-8 inches tall and produces small white flowers that are often tinged with pink. The flowers not only create a beautiful visual effect, but also bring in bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects that prey on garden pests.
  • Honeybees rarely sting when they are away from their hive, but if they make you uncomfortable or you are allergic to bee stings, simply have the lawn mowed more often when clover is in bloom.

Planting Clover

You can plant clover by itself for a ground cover, but it stands up better to foot traffic when combined with lawn grass.

  • Only 5-10% by weight of tiny clover seed needs to be mixed with the recommended amount of grass seed to create a thick stand.
  • When adding clover to an existing lawn, first mow it close and remove any thatch to allow the seed to fall to the soil surface.
  • To sow clover alone, mix it with enough sand to facilitate spreading. About 2 ounces of clover is needed for every 1,000 square feet of lawn.

Finding a four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Surely it must be, because on average there is only one of them for every 10,000 clovers with three leaves. But even if you never find a four-leaf specimen, just having clover growing in your lawn will keep it greener longer with minimum care, which we consider to be extremely good luck.

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Comments

I recently found out from a

By Sunil on August 19

I recently found out from a friend who deals in herbal/ayurvedic medicine that clover grass has beneficial medicinal properties such as purifying blood. Leaf has a likeable light sour taste.

I'm so glad you are talking

By Tereska on August 14

I'm so glad you are talking about clover lawns. This is something that I am doing at Urban Seedling in Montreal, my vegetable gardening and edible landscaping company.

We have white clover in our own backyard and I love seeing the insects coming around to pollinate my vegetable gardens!

Could I sow clover seed in

By WKL

Could I sow clover seed in the fall and expect it to come up in the spring? Can I sow it anytime during spring, summer, and fall as long as the seed is in soil and receiving regular watering?

I planted red clover last

By Trish C. on August 28

I planted red clover last fall (October)and it came up in the following spring. I live in Southeast Tn. We even had had a very cold, snowy winter.

Is there a non flowering

By Elizabeth Harwood

Is there a non flowering clover? as we want the benefits of the ground cover, but not the bees that are attracted to the flowering clover.

Honey bees will bother you. I

By Sebastian Casteon

Honey bees will bother you. I used to extremely afraid of bees on general, but after talking to a beekeeper and botanist and they explained that bees really only attack if absolutely necessary. They will usually just *head bump* you if you get annoying. ONce I learned that little fact, I am all good around their kind.

Also, the heck with yellow jackets, they are not bees and need to die a fiery horrible death. They are jerks in the insect world

Our search has not turned up

By Almanac Staff

Our search has not turned up a non flowering clover; the plant in its various forms/varieties reproduces with seeds from the flower, so the flowers are key to its survival.

We have a few other options at http://www.almanac.com/content/ground-cover-choices

Hope this helps!

 

we want to grow clover that

By Charles Rothera

we want to grow clover that will be used by our local wildlife rehab center. We'll need bags of it on a regular basis. Any suggestions as to harvesting it without ruining the plot or making the harvest unusable?

hi, Would white clover do

By Lisa Westman

hi,
Would white clover do well for over-seeding a Phoenix summer lawn combined with Bermuda do you think? We have full sun and shade areas and the Bermuda does really poorly in the shade, the fescue we tried didn't do well in shade either-maybe it was the heat. I was hoping to fill the bald spots in full sun and the shade spots with clover...thanks!
Lisa in Phoenix, AZ

White clover can do well in

By Almanac Staff

White clover can do well in Phoenix lawns with the proper care. White clover has shallow roots, but does better in lawns than other types of clover, such as strawberry or red; it needs moisture when germinating but after that it can handle drier conditions.

White clover alone is good for low to moderate foot traffic. When mixed with grass seed, it can be used in high-traffic areas and can also tolerate drought better than when alone. You can seed the clover into an existing lawn or sow in bare spots; the clover will not need fertilizer.

Good luck!

thank you!

By Lisa Westman

thank you!

Three young men lived in the

By olderpersonage

Three young men lived in the house before I bought it. They did not water the lawn, so consists of clumps of grass interspersed with bare ground and weeds. It is impossible to mow. I am hoping to put it all in clover except for a flower bed. I hate mowing and get asthmatic from the grass. My parents had clover and they didn't worry about mowing because it doesn't get as tall as grass. I want that.

Just a note to say:I live in

By Bama Belle

Just a note to say:I live in the south and had a problem with grass not growing under my trees so, I planted white clover under my trees and was very pleased with the coverage!!! Hey no mowing that is even better.

Does anyone know if cover is

By Ives from MSU

Does anyone know if cover is poisonous to dogs. I would love to plant some in our dog area.

Clover isn't poisonous to

By EdLincoln

Clover isn't poisonous to dogs, or just about anything. The only issue is if it dies and spoils, it can be slightly poisonous to grazing animals.

One of the benefits of white

By Jonalisa

One of the benefits of white clover is that it doesn't turn yellow or burn when a female dog urinates on it. I have not found any info indicating that white clover is unsafe for animals. I am overseeding my lawn with it in the spring.

Hi Ives, Everyday clover is

By Almanac Staff

Hi Ives, Everyday clover is not listed as being poisonous to dogs on the ASPCA site. http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants?plant_toxicity=toxic-to-dogs&page=6
On vet sites, we see that "red clover" can both help certain medical conditions but also is unfriendly and possibly toxic in large quantities. Perhaps it's OK if your dog doesn't start ingesting lots of clover and simply plays (and pees) in it. To be safest, for your particular dog and its medical condition, we’d recommend that you ask your vet. Or, just not plant clover.
And of course, stay away from pesticides if the dog eats plants in the lawn.

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