Are there any legumes or clovers that I could incorporate into a low
maintenance yard? I have purchased a couple of short, relatively slow
growing fescue varieties, but a legume would add some nitrogen
naturally. I was thinking about white dutch clover, but then I seemed
to recall seeing some really short yellow flowers in a yard that
appeared to be a clover, vetch or something in the legume family. It
was only about half the height of dutch clover, but I can't seem to find
any seed. (probably because I don't know the name to search for)
website and saw a picture of Dutch White Clover, and a description of it
as an annoying weed, and that you should fertilizer your yard more
(probably with Scott's fertilizer, right? :-) and it will eventually go
I actually planted my last lawn about 50% to dutch white clover,
because I like the stuff, it doesn't seem to grow as fast, and it never
needed fertilized or watered. I like the flowers from dandelions as
well, but I'll admit that they can take over.
I grew up on a farm where the yard was always about 50% native
plants, including various wildflowers left over from when it was more
wooded. There was no way I was going to put down herbicides and kill
off all of those violets, spring beauties, or deertongue (glacier
lilies), for example.
While the lawn may not look like a golf course, I think the diversity
of plants makes it more resistant to various problems.
I would prefer for the clover to fix the nitrogen naturally, and then
provide a little extra to the grasses. I'm going for low maintenance,
low cost, and low environmental impact. If I could eat grass, I could
justify spending more time and money on the lawn. However, I would much
rather spend the time and money on my fruit trees and other things that
I can eat. That is probably my farm background talking, because I'd
also rather let a couple of sheep loose in the yard, rather than mowing.
(which would also give us free fertilizer at the same time) Can't get
away with that around here, though.
I like the clover in my pasture becasue the stock love it and it is
nutritious. I like the clover in my lawn because it looks great in spring.
Why would you want to destroy this:
This idea that a lawn with clover is somehow inferior is nonsense.
This is a point that many people do not understand. I love the fact that I
have 4 or 5 kinds of grass, plus clover plus several other "weeds". This
means that I have ground cover under a wide variety of conditions not just
when it suits the monoculture.
A much more balanced approach. If you can't have sheep how about geese?
Oxalis corniculata (yellow wood sorrel) looks very much like clover and
has a yellow flower. However, this is an awful weed.
Medicago polymorpha (yellow burr clover) also has yellow flowers. It is
a weed not quite as bad as oxalis. Its seeds, however, stick very
tightly to your pants legs, socks, and pets.
Thus, when you plant clover, make sure you plant one that will not
become a problem.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
Yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis), which I love, doesn't
seem like it would be a good lawn plant. it's often used in hay. I
guess maybe if you mowed it regularly the flowers might bloom low.
a slow growing fescue will likely be crowded
out by almost any clover or other cover i can
yard in the city or yard in the country? in
the city rules about how long it can get are often
in play. in the country you can plant what you
want and manage it more appropriately.
you might have seen a variety of birdsfoot
trefoil, which doesn't naturally stay low
but repeated mowing keeps it short. avoid
the viking variety (it was developed to be
taller). sometime i should get a picture of
this one area in the city that is mowed once
in a while, but is otherwise full of trefoil --
in bloom it is great looking. not the same as
low maint, but i'd rather look at that area
than most yards of grasses and nothing else.
The commercial lawn product companies hate clover because it is low maintenance
and requires little or none of their products. White Dutch Clover works great
here. Sprouts fast, fills in nicely and is low maintenance. Grows only about
4 inches tall.
If you don't like the white blossoms, well you've just been brainwashed by the
green grass, high maintenance, weed and feed folks.
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