Benefits Of Planting A Clover Lawn
Clovers are typically short-lived herbs and feature alternate compound leaves, basically with three toothed leaflets. The very small, fragrant flowers are packed into dense, almost spherical heads, or spikes and can be white, red, pink, or yellow. Clover helps in retaining soil moisture and restrains certain other weeds. Also, Clover lawns need less water and herbicide. Clover sustains healthier livestock, and keeps pollinators busy and flourishing, which sustains our ecosystems.
In this article, you will see the benefits of clover in detail. Planting a clover lawn requires just 5 simple steps that you will learn later in this article. Some tips to maintain your clover lawn are: avoid using herbicides, use little to no nitrogen fertilizer and mow scarcely to keep your clover looking tidy.
1. Clover Lawns Can Withstand Drought
Clover remains green all summer, with little or no watering, in most regions of the USA. It is relatively drought-tolerant, and it turns green early in spring and stays green until the first frost. In the South, it may remain green throughout winter.
Clovers can grow in spite of lack of water once established. This contrasts extremely with traditional lawn grasses, which usually require watering all season long. Due to the clover’s deep roots, it requires much less water than grass does.
2. Clover Lawns Are Self-Sustaining
Clovers are drought-tolerant and self-fertilizing which makes them self-sustaining. The plant captures nitrogen from the atmosphere and returns it to the soil. In other words, they create their own fertilizer and fertilize nearby plants. When you mix it with common grass types like Kentucky bluegrass or fescues, it produces enough nitrogen to eliminate the requirement for chemical fertilizers.
3. Clover Lawns Grow Quickly
In the correct and favorable conditions, a clover can grow pretty fast. It can take around two or three days for a clover to sprout. This is during summertime. With the right surrounding temperature, a clover will grow rapidly. For clovers, the germination process starts within a week of sowing.
4. Clover Lawns Remain Green Throughout The Summer
Clover is regarded semi-evergreen or evergreen, depending on the region in which it is planted. It will maintain its color through the summer and can remain green year-round in areas where winters aren’t too cold, like in the southern U.S.. Unlike turfgrass, scorching summer sun won’t burn clover’s leaves.
Clover lawns are more resistant to dryness and drought. Clover roots grow deep into the soil, which means it remains green when the rest of the grass starts to turn brown. Also, clover is more resistant to pet urine, which helps your lawn to remain green. The deep roots provide protection against erosion and run-off.
5. Clover Lawns Don’t Require Much Mowing
One of the major reasons to grow a clover lawn in place of grass is that you simply don’t need to mow it as frequently or ever. Most clovers grow just a few inches tall. It will naturally maintain a fairly consistent height without your intervention. This is not just more convenient, but is also easier on the environment.
Most types of clover grow only up to eight inches and require little maintenance. Some homeowners prefer mowing lawn once in midsummer to get rid of old blooms, but this is not needed as these attract beneficial insects like honeybees, pest-fighting wasps, and other pollinators.
6. Beneficial Insects Are Attracted To Clover Lawns
Clovers attract beneficial insects like bees, which will help pollinate your garden, and parasitoid wasps that are tiny, harmless insects that feed on pests like aphids and whiteflies.
Honey bees are attracted to the easily obtainable nectar found within the short florets of white clover and crimson clover. Clover nectar also sustains butterflies, moths and other good bugs. Also, clover supplies food, water and shelter to pollinator predators and parasites. Meanwhile, clover pastures sustain earthworms, which are essential retainers of soil health.
7. Fertilizer Is Never Required For Clover Lawns
Clover is a nitrogen-fixing legume that creates its own best fertilizer and also fertilizes nearby plants. Grass that is intermixed with clover will be healthier and greener and needs less care as compared to grass planted alone.
Additionally, the cost of clover seed is much cheaper than the cost of applying supplemental nitrogen, the results are the same. A stand of 30% clover will provide all the nitrogen needed to allow the grass component to yield at its best. And, of course, it is always fun for children to look for four-leaf clovers.
8. Herbicides Are Never Needed On Clover Lawns
Clover never needs herbicides. Since clover overcomes broadleaf weeds by forming dense clumps that spread by secondary roots, it won’t be required to drench the soil with toxic weed-killing things. But if you do use herbicides, then the clover will die, which is the opposite of what you want, so do not be tempted to try it.
9. Other Weeds Are Outcompeted By Clover Lawns
It is difficult to eradicate clover from a grass lawn as it is very persistent. It has a dense root structure that enables it to easily outcompete most other weeds and reduce the requirement for weeding and expensive herbicides. Clover is a natural, long-lasting weed control solution that will stop ragweed and dandelions in their tracks. Clovers can also outcompete unhappy grass, specifically in low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus soils or in wet and shaded areas of the lawn.
10. Clover Thrives In Poor Soil
Clover can thrive in soil with poor nitrogen levels. Grass requires nitrogen in the soil to grow well, while clover can obtain the nitrogen it needs from the air, productively making its own fertilizer. Thus, clover can thrive in poor soil. It will also enrich the soil and improve its quality over the long-term.
11. Clover Lawns Are Good To Walk On Barefoot
Since clover lawns are soft, lush, and cool, walking barefoot on it is very pleasurable. Those leaves and blossoms also have a mild, pleasant smell. It is so smooth that you’ll feel like walking on clouds.
12. Clover Lawns Are Resistant To Dog Feces
Clover is immune to dog urine. Dog urine discolors lawn grasses, but clover remains as green and lush as ever. Dog owners often have brown spots in their lawn due to their pet’s urine. Unlike grass, clover is unaffected by this and helps maintain an evenly green lawn. Know here the dog urine effects on lawn in detail.
13. Clover Lawns Are Cheap
Clover seed is very inexpensive. It will cost you only about $1 to cover 1,000 square feet. If your lawn is 8,000 square feet, you will pay approximately $8 for seed. Additionally, you will decrease your water and energy bill by choosing clover.
It can be completely free of cost if it starts growing on its own. Homeowners who have been getting rid of it as a weed get it for free if they decide to stop removing it and let it grow. Clover seeds are cheaper than other turfgrass seeds. Once it germinates and grows, clover can add more texture and interest to your lawn.
How To Plant Clover
Clover lawns can be established by encouraging already-existing clover patches in your landscape, by seeding, or a combination of both.
Listed below are things to consider and steps to plant clover in your lawn.
- The best time to seed clover is in early spring from mid-March to mid-April. It can also be seeded in fall. Tiny clover seeds are difficult to sow uniformly. So one way to improve your chances is to mix the seed in with some sawdust, soil, or sand. If you don’t have any in your lawn or nearby, you may need to add a bacterial inoculant to encourage the best growth; if you do already have it in your lawn, however, the inoculant is most likely already present in the soil.
- After planting, use a misting attachment to water everyday until you can see the seedlings.
- Existing clover patches can be promoted by mowing with the blades adjusted at 1.5–2 inches, which favors clover over most traditional turf grasses.
- In the middle of summer, stop mowing to promote clover to flower and seed.
- Once established, most clovers are low-growing and need little or no mowing, unless you wish to discourage bees by mowing to avoid summer blooms.
- Never apply herbicides to a clover lawn as they will die.
- Clover is a short-lived perennial and may require reseeding around once every three years to maintain even coverage. It may productively reseed naturally, however, or wild clovers may move in and take over aging stands.
Consider these points while planting new clover seeds:
- Clover seed should not be planted deeply. Sprinkling it on the surface or lightly raking it into the soil is enough.
- It prefers full sun. It will grow in light shade, but a little slower. It won’t grow well in full shade.
- If you are planting in a shady area, you may have to double the amount of seed.
- Keep newly-seeded areas moist until the new plants get a chance to establish.
What Are The Maintenance Needs Of Clover?
Listed below are a few tips for clover lawn care.
- Avoid using herbicides: Herbicides will kill any plant other than grass, which includes clover. Avoid using herbicides and pesticides which are not required for growing clover lawn and may prevent them from growing properly.
- Use little to no nitrogen fertilizer: Clover fixes its own nitrogen, so you don’t need to fertilize your clover lawn repeatedly. However, if you notice competing grasses starting to overtake your lawn, you can use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to give your clover the phosphorus and potassium it requires to become hardier.
- Mow sparingly to keep your clover looking tidy: If you want to see fewer bees on your lawn, you can mow down the white clover flowers when they appear. When you mow, leave the clippings on the lawn which gives the lawn organic matter to fertilize the soil.
Are There Any Disadvantages Of Clover?
Yes, clover has disadvantages as well. While it has many benefits, however, the disadvantages of clover shouldn’t be overlooked either. Carefully consider the problems with growing clover before it’s too late.
- Clover stains clothes more easily than grass.
- Clovers cannot bear high foot traffic, therefore are not suitable for playing fields or high traffic areas, unless mixed with grass.
- Clovers are short-lived perennial and may need reseeding every 2–3 years to maintain it in pure clover lawns. In mixed grass-clover lawns, clover will reseed itself sufficiently to maintain a consistent presence.
- Clovers attract bees. In most cases, this is beneficial. Bees are essential pollinators that will help your garden grow beautifully from spring to fall. However, if someone in your family is allergic to bee stings, it may be harmful.
Contact Edenapp if you need any guidance to establish clover in your lawn. Also, we provide all the lawn care services to keep your lawn lush and healthy throughout the year.