How to Nurture a Clover Lawn

How to Nurture a Clover Lawn

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Winter, spring, summer or fall and your lawn worries may weigh heavily upon you. Many homeowners prize an attractive, thick carpet of green grass from early spring to late fall, but some people may not look forward to the maintenance required to plant and maintain such a luscious lawn.

Plant Clover

Fortunately, grass isn’t the only greening agent you can use on your lawn. Clover, considered a noxious weed by some, can provide the just right amount of ground cover and is especially hardy in areas where shade dominates and drainage is poor. You may not look on clover favorably, but modern medicine has extracted coumarin from clover, a useful agent for thinning blood.

Three clover types are used on lawns: white, yellow and red, but this article is limited to white which represents the flower not the color of the clover leaves. White clover is easier to maintain and is sometimes preferred by homeowners who need to fill in patchy areas on their lawns.

Visit your local garden center. Clover is readily available at most garden centers and is sold in packets as small as 1/4 pound to 50 pounds or more. White Dutch clover seed is what you want to buy as it usually matures between 4 to 8 inches and is hearty.

Check weather forecasts. Plant clover in spring or summer, with daytime temperatures warm enough to promote growth. Rake up your lawn to provide a good surface for seeds to make contact. Plant when conditions are dry, but especially just before a gentle rain is on its way.

Apply seeds. Clover seeds are very small and difficult to apply uniformly. You can mix in sawdust or a low analysis organic fertilizer such as Milorganite to help spread clover 1/4 inch deep according to the University of Minnesota Extension Service. You can seed at a rate of 2 to 8 oz. per 1,000 square feet; the higher concentration will make clover the dominant plant covering your lawn.

Maintain with ease. Clover requires little to no water, providing a wonderful way to reduce your water bill. No fertilizers or chemicals are needed; cut the clover as you would cut your grass.

You can also mix clover with regular grass seed if you prefer to have a lawn that can do a better job withstanding foot traffic. Just remember to leave the “weeds” in place, to allow clover to do its job filling in the gaps.

Tips

Overseeding is not necessary. In more northernly areas of the United States, clover thickness can vary from year to year depending on the harshness of the previous winter.

Resources

University of Minnesota Extension Service: Clover, How to Grow It/How to Eliminate It

EarthEasy.com: Lawn Alternatives

Photo Credit: Bill Davenport

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Categories: Home Tips