I've been reading that clover is beneficial to a lawn and I should be
happy to have it but it's taking over many of the grass areas of my
lawn. My question - will the flowers eventually go away leaving just
the green clover? The flowers are very low to the ground so they
escape the lawnmower blades. I don't mind the clover at all just don't
want the white flowers all over the yard.
My suggestion: do nothing except mow for a year and see how you feel then.
It's easier to adjust your thinking than the plant (they just keep on
blooming whenever conditions are right). The clover is saving you
a couple or three applications of nitrogenous fertilizer to the lawn;
when there's sufficient soil N for the grass, the grass will outgrow the
clover; when N is lacking, the clover will outgrow the grass.
Just be sure to mow at the correct height for your lawn species, and
don't remove more than 1/3 of the top growth at a time.
DH was bothered by all the clover in our lawn when we moved out to the
country. When I told him he was therefore in charge of fertilizing,
here was the schedule, he suddenly decided he was less bothered by
the clover. ;-)
A couple things to know, one biological, one economic:
--Applying N to nitrogen-fixing legumes like clovers will
suppress them from fixing nitrogen.
So don't "half-feed" -- then neither the grass nor the clover
grow particularly well.
--most commercial fertilizers will track natural gas prices quite closely,
and gas prices are unlikely to go anywhere but up. Perhaps you can
start imagining the clover flowers to look like coins... <g>
I think you have got good common sense advice there Joe. I have also gotten
used to living with and appreciating clover. It got hammered a little in my
lawn whilst I was removing other broadleaf weeds. Once those were gone
however I left the lawn to its own devices and the clover has grown quite
rampant. It did bother me to start with however I have grown used to it &
understand the benefits it brings to the lawn. I tend to mow my lawn quite
high and mulch the clippings back into the sod.
Has anyone had any success removing the clover from the middle of the
yard and transplanting it on the edges? I think it would look pretty
sharp for those flowers to bloom in unison around the edges of the
yard instead of haphazardly throughout.
In order to maintain that, you'll have to keep the grass in tip-top
condition with fertilizer, lime and proper mowing, and probably add
some applications of broad leaf herbicide every year. That or hand-
weeding. You've probably got a 70 year supply of clover seed in the
upper portion of your soil -- all it takes is a little space between
the grass plants and the clover will germinate (along with other weeds).
I'd also suggest a trip to some of the Stately Homes of England for a
good close look at those magnificent lawns that have about 20x the
number of species in them as the average US suburban lawn. They just
keep things mowed or sheeped.
Look the only reason clover is percieved as a lawn weed is that the
chemicals used to control turfgrass weeds also killed the clover and
the herbicide manufacturers covered their butts by changing clover's
Clover used to be in seed mixes for lawns (although the seed tended to
settle into the bottom of the sack)
it adds nitrogen, feeds bees and butterflies.
Turfgrass in America in general is a crop for fools, a bit of clover
mitigates some of the idiocy.
Years ago, I read somewhere (in an actual book or magazine) that the
tradition of planting lawns was derived from the British, who brought the
illness with them from their homeland. The author suggested that people
think about whether their climate (in Kansas, in mid-summer, for instance)
was anything like that of England, and having done so, try and make better
Well, I've got a yardful of wonderful white clover right now
attracting all kinds of bees. If I still had little kids I'd make
sure they knew to wear shoes out there for this period of time. Just
as my parents did. Who knew? Parenting is a lost art, I guess :o(
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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