Over the years clover has increasingly received a bad reputation. But did you know that at one point clover was a common part of grass seed mixes?
Before the creation of weed controls, and the concept that a perfect lawn is 100% grass, we had grass seed mixtures including 5% (or more) white clover. Learn more about choosing the right grass seed.
In fact, some people opt to plant a clover lawn. That is, they use clover seed to create a lawn that is primarily or completely composed of various types of clover. Dutch white clover is one of the most common mini clover and microclover variations.
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Pros and Cons of Incorporating Clover Into Your Lawn
You may not be ready to make the jump to a total clover lawn. While clover may have a few downsides, has anyone taken the time to consider what good it can do as well? Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of clover:
Tips for Planting a Clover Lawn
Clover seeds typically grow well with minimal maintenance. If you’re shooting for a robust, densely packed lawn of clover, though, a little effort goes a long way. Attending to the soil, season, and cultural practices can encourage clover to flourish in your lawn.
Test your soil and make any necessary adjustments to bring it within a pH range of 6 to 7. That’s when clover grows best. You can purchase a pH meter or soil test kit to figure out the current pH of your lawn. You can also engage a lawn care company to perform a pH test. If you find that your soil is outside the 6–7 pH range, adding peat moss will increase acidity (and lower pH), and adding lime will increase alkalinity (and raise pH).
Planting seeds in late spring will give you the best chance of creating a thick clover lawn. Specifically, clover seeds grow best when planted after the last frost, when temperatures will stay above 40°F for the rest of the season.
Once the weather warms and you’ve just the pH just right, it’s time to plant your clover seeds. Spread seeds generously over your lawn, and then rake the newly seeded areas to help the seeds penetrate the soil. Water your lawn every day thereafter until you start to see clover sprouts. Germination usually occurs within 2 weeks. Once the young plants put out leaves, reduce the watering regimen to about once a week.
Clover Lawn History
The idea of an all clover lawn may sound strange. However, our modern lawns would have seemed strange to people just a few dozen decades ago. The vision of an American lawn as a uniform bed of a single turf grass is actually a preference transplanted from France and England.
Aristocrats in these countries turned wild countryside, which was populated with numerous species, into highly cultivated, rolling lawns of just grass. They found the clean, cropped lines of a lawn more aesthetically pleasing than the frenetic richness that mother nature provided. (And if you can relate, check out our best lawn mowing tips.)
Americans then began to imitate the French and English style in the 1800s, as it had become a sign of wealth to have a carefully cultivated lawn. The meadows of America, of which clover was a part, were gradually mowed and trimmed into the typical vision of a lawn we have today.
This European influence may play a part in why some people find clover unsightly today. Really, though, the idea that a lawn must contain just one kind of plant was an arbitrary cosmetic preference that just happened to catch on.
Determining If Clover Is Best for Your Lawn
As you can tell, there is no cut-and-dry answer on the use of clover. There is, however, enough information to make an educated decision about clover for your lawn.
If after reading all that information you find yourself still not sold on clover, check out our tips for how to get rid of clover in your lawn.
If you do make the move to introduce clover to your lawn or garden, be sure it is in fact what you want because clover removal can be a troublesome endeavor. Wherever you land on clover, contact your local NaturaLawn of America branch to visualize your lawn dreams.