White Clover in bloom can really stand out in a lawn this time of year. While some homeowners have no problem with a little clover growing in the lawn, others would like to get rid of it and keep a weed free lawn. If your one of those insistent on getting rid of the clover in your lawn, it may be a good idea to look at the pros and cons of clover first.
1) Although many people now consider clover a weed, a healthy patch of white clover was considered a standard of excellence in lawn care until the 1950s, when the rising use of broadleaf herbicides that killed clover as well as more harmful weeds made the current grassy monoculture the ideal lawn of most homeowners. In recent years, however, clover lawns have been experiencing a revival due to their many benefits and Earl May sells a lot of straight clover seed each year.
2) 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. There’s only so much any of us can do and this may be one small thing- times many -that add up and can make a difference. Of Course this may mean mowing less frequently or as high as possible to avoid cutting off all the blooms each time you mow, but clover grows close to the ground and needs very little mowing in general. For more tips on planting a bee-friendly garden, please read our post… Create your own bee and butterfly habitat.
3) 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, clover is in a way 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.
4) Another benefit from having clover in your lawn is that it 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.
5) Clover out competes other weeds. Anyone who has struggled to eradicate clover from a grass lawn can tell you how persistent it can be. Clover easily out-competes most other weeds and reduces the need for weeding or expensive herbicides.
6) Clover is immune to “Dog Patches”. The urine of female dogs discolors lawn grasses. Clovers stays as green and lush as ever.
1) Clover is a short-lived perennial and may require reseeding every 2-3 years to maintain an even stand in pure clover lawns. In mixed grass-clover lawns, clover will reseed itself adequately to maintain a consistent presence.
2) Clover is not durable enough for playing fields or very high traffic areas, unless mixed with grass.
3) Clover stains clothing more easily than grass.
4) When mixed with grass it can create an undesirable appearance for most homeowners. Fortunately,clover can be controlled in lawns and we recommend our Super Brush and Weed Killer for 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.