Bee at red lawn clover flower.

Is Clover Good For Lawns

Excerpted from: Advantages and Disadvantages of Clover Lawns

The short answer is YES!
Clover lawn.

In fact, clover might be good for your lawn, since it requires less water, fertilizer, compost, herbicide, and weeding. In addition, it is a legume so it adds nitrogen to the soil.

Today, the current grassy monoculture is the ideal of most homeowners. But as water and energy costs rise, many are seeking alternatives to the traditional thirsty, labor-intensive American lawn.

  Lawn Clover

White Clover, Trifolium repens

One of the most popular lawn alternatives is white clover, Trifolium repens, also known as Dutch clover or Dutch white clover. Although many people consider it a weed, a healthy patch of it was considered a standard of excellence in lawn care until the 1950s, when people started using broadleaf herbicides to kill clover and other more harmful weeds.

In recent years, however, clover lawns have been experiencing a revival due to their many benefits and charms. There are two types: pure clover lawns, which are best for areas with low or moderate traffic, and mixed grass-clover lawns, which are best for playing fields and other high traffic areas

Red Clover, Trifolium pratense

Red clover is widely used throughout eastern North America. It is adapted to a wide range of soil types. It is a short-lived perennial that usually persists only 2 or 3 years due to susceptibility to a number of root diseases. Newer varieties may last longer than this.

Red clover has an erect growth slightly taller than white clover. It has a shallow, highly branched root system, so it grows poorly on sandy soils without adequate rainfall.

The white clover in your lawn supports native bees, especially bumble bees, while also feeding your lawn a steady dose of nitrogen!

  Other Wisconsin Native Clovers

Round-Headed Bush Clover
Purple Prairie Clover
White Prairie Clover

  Advantages Of Clover Lawns

White Clover honey

Clover honey is a thick, sweet syrup made by honey bees that collect the nectar of clover plants. It’s mild in taste and light in color, making it a popular choice among honey enthusiasts.

Clover lawns have many advantages over traditional bluegrass or Bermuda grass lawns. Here are 10 reasons to stop pulling the white clover in your lawn:

1.   It attracts beneficial bees, especially bumble bees, to your yard. This, in turn, help pollinate your garden. It also attracts parasitoid wasps which feed on aphids, scales, and whiteflies. These wasps are tiny, harmless to humans, and will be your enthusiastic allies in controlling insect pests in your garden.

2.   It stays green all summer, with little or no watering, in most regions of the US. It is relatively drought-tolerant and it greens up early in spring and remains green until the first frost. In the South, it may remain green all winter.

3.   It requires little or no mowing. White clover grows just 2-8 inches tall and requires little or no mowing to keep it looking tidy. However, some homeowners may prefer to mow in midsummer in order to deadhead old blooms, neaten the appearance of the lawn, or to prevent from blooming.

4.   It never needs fertilizer. Cover is a nitrogen-fixing legume, a plant that essentially creates its own fertilizer and fertilizes nearby plants, as well! Grass that is intermixed with clover will be healthier and greener and require less care than grass planted alone.

5.   It never needs herbicides. In fact, most herbicides kill it.

White Clover, Trifolium repens

6.   It out-competes other weeds. Anyone who has struggled to eradicate clover from a grass lawn can tell you how persistent it can be. It has a dense root structure that allows it to easily out-compete most other weeds and reduce the need for weeding and expensive herbicides.

7.   Clover grows well in poor soil. It tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions, including the poor-quality subsoil common around many new homes.

8.   It feels great on bare feet. Soft, lush, and cool, walking barefoot on a clover lawn is a luxurious treat. Those leaves and blossoms also have a mild, pleasant smell.

9.   It is immune to "dog patches." Dog urine discolors lawn grasses, but it stays as green and lush as ever.

10.   It's inexpensive. Clover seed is extremely inexpensive. The average cost is about $4 per 4000 square feet. Homeowners who have been fighting it as a weed get it for free if they decide to stop fighting and let it grow.

  Disadvantages Of White Clover

1.   It stains clothing more easily than grass.

2.   It is not durable enough for playing fields or high traffic areas, unless mixed with grass.

3.   It 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.

Further Information:

 Wisconsin Native Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Native Berry Shrubs
 Lovely Native Violets
 Use Eggshells For Your Plants
 How to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden

Beneficial Species
Fertilize & Mulch
Garden Plans
Garden Pests
Lawn Management
Quick Tips
Soil Management
Specialty Gardens
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