Clover: The Pros & Cons

Published on
June 27, 2020 at 4:01:00 PM PDT June 27, 2020 at 4:01:00 PM PDTth, June 27, 2020 at 4:01:00 PM PDT

White Clover in bloom can really stand out in a lawn this time of year. While some homeowners have no problem with it growing in their lawn, others would like to get rid of it. If you're one of those insistent on getting rid of clover in your lawn, it may be a good idea to look at the pros and cons first.

The Pros:

  • Although many people now consider it a weed, a healthy patch of white clover was considered a standard of excellence in lawn care until the 1950's. In recent years, however, clover lawns have been experiencing a revival due to the many benefits.

  • The flowers of White Dutch (the type commonly found in lawns) and other wild clovers are an important nectar source for pollinating insects including bees. We need to do all we can as responsible stewards of our eco-system to promote as many bee–friendly places as we can. This may be one small thing that adds up and can really make a difference. Clover grows close to the ground and needs very little mowing in general. This may mean mowing less frequently or as high as possible to avoid cutting off all the blooms each time you mow.

  • Clovers are legumes which actually improve the fertility and health of the soil. By pulling nitrogen compounds from the atmosphere and in turn putting that back into the soil, it's a natural fertilizer for the lawn and does not need any additional fertilizer. Grass that is intermixed with clover will be healthier and greener with less effort than grass planted alone.

  • Clover remains green during the hottest months of the year when the rest of your lawn may be turning brown. It also greens up early in the season and remains green until frost.

  • Clover out-competes other weeds. Anyone who has struggled to eradicate clover from a grass lawn can tell you how persistent it can be. It even reduces the need for weeding or expensive herbicides.

  • Clover is immune to “Dog Patches”. The urine of female dogs discolors lawn grasses, while clover continues to stay as green and lush as ever.

The Cons:

  • It's a short-lived perennial and may require reseeding every 2-3 years to maintain an even stand in pure clover lawns. In mixed lawns, clover will reseed itself adequately to maintain a consistent presence.

  • Not durable enough for playing fields or very high traffic areas, unless mixed with grass.

  • Stains clothing more easily than grass.

  • When mixed with grass it can create an undesirable appearance for many homeowners. Fortunately, it can be controlled in lawns and we recommend our Super Brush and Weed Killerfor those who want to kill it.

Whatever you decide to do regarding clover, please consider the pros and cons above and do what’s best for your situation.

For more tips on planting a bee-friendly garden, please read our post: Create Your Very Own Pollinator Habitat.