Clover isn’t really a weed

Can you remember (way back for me) when you were a kid and white clover (Trifolium repens) grew in everyone’s lawns?  Can you remember those warm summer days sitting over a patch of clover looking for the illusive 4-leaf clover?  Finding a 4-leaf clover was a big deal because there is only one in 10,000 regular 3-leaf clovers.

Maybe you have to be of a ‘certain age’ today to remember those long gone days when clover/grass mix lawns were the norm. The mixture was prevalent because white clover was once a larger part of grass seed mixtures.  All that changed in the 1960’s when broadleaf herbicides hit the market. Now clover is considered a WEED.

clover/grass mix

The reason it was a part of our grass seed is it’s good for the soil. Clover is a legume and like all legumes, it deposits nonstop nitrogen into the ground thus enriching and fertilizing the soil.  That should make the lawn healthier and greener… especially right here with clay soil around our house.

I happen to have a fondness for the look of white clover mixed in our grass. Our association does not.  As in so many “maintained” properteries, professionals try to eradicate it but, insert sly smile here, clover seems to have the last laugh. It wilts after treatment but it soon begins to recover.

Here are a few of the reasons I encourage a clover/grass backyard (where lawncare professionals dare not tred):

It can be mowed.
It grows in poor soil.
It is drought resistant.
It crowds out broadleaf weeds.
It grows harmoniously with grass.
It is a favorite bloom of honeybees.
It does not turn a deeper color from dog urine
It will stay green when dormant grass turns brown.
It keeps the bunnies occupied and out of my flower borders.
It is also pollinated by native bees, like bumblebees.
And although not a native plant, it hosts the native Eastern Tailed Blue and Sulfur caterpillars.
Lastly, the flowers are lovely.

bunny

Drawbacks:

It stains clothes.
If you are alergic to bees, clover might not be such a good idea for you…. or you could mow it more often and short.
It will send creeping stems into your garden beds.

Yes, it does spread but I find it manageable. Once a month, I edge my borders and that takes care of the wayward shoots. I do like the look of my clover/grass lawn and who knows?  Maybe I’ll find an illusive lucky 4-leaf clover one day! I’m looking….

 

11 thoughts on “Clover isn’t really a weed

  1. No many thoughts on clover including live and let live. 🙂 When I hear clover, I think of horses we had twenty years ago and they loved the clover like it was candy, and those memories make me smile. Now for a question – do you use a hand tool for edging or do you have an electric or gas powered trimmer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have used an electric trimmer but could not perfect the technique. I inherited my mother’s ‘magic shovel’ and it seems to lead the way. The long handle is worn narrow in places from the years of use. The blade is small but sharp and it is my go-to tool for a multitude of garden jobs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I moved to this house a few months ago, the previous owners mentioned that the lawn wasn’t in the best shape. And they were right, it does have an amazing variety of “weeds,” which I’m still investigating. But I noticed that, as you say, the clover helps keep the rabbits from eating all of my flowers. And now that I know that clover is a host plant for the Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly, I’m even happier that I have so much of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love having clover. When I was little we neighborhood girls made a clover chain over a mile long.It was wrapped on old shirt cardboards and we proudly carried them to the paper to have our pictures taken!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found a few and I think they’re still safe, but brittle, hidden in the pages of my childhood Bible! If I touched them, I’m sure they’d turn to dust. 😉

      Like

  4. Grubs don’t like clover roots too. Agway sells clover seeds so every other year or so I get some to add to the lawn, that and nematodes seem to have helped control the grubs in our lawn.

    Liked by 1 person

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