Is Clover in Your Lawn Good or Bad?
Why Clover Is Taking Over Your Lawn
There are probably several reasons for this, including the following:
The soil pH is too low or too high for lawn grass – Clover grows well in just about any pH!
The soil is deficient in important nutrients, especially nitrogen – Clover thrives in nitrogen-deficient soil. White Dutch clover is an indicator plant for low nitrogen. If you see it growing in your lawn, it probably means the soil is low in nitrogen. A well-timed application of spring lawn fertilizer can help!
The grass has been cut too short – Longer grass often shades and crowds out other plants, such as clover. Keeping your mower blade at 3-½ inches or higher to encourage taller grass and deeper roots.
The grass doesn’t get enough water – Stressed grass is usually less dense, leaving room for clover and other weeds to flourish. Try watering slowly and deeply (the soil should be moist all the way down to 4-6″ below the surface) once or twice a week during dry periods. Watering in the morning also helps to prevent disease.
The soil is compacted – Clover tolerates compacted soil better than lawn grass and has longer roots, enabling it to access water at deeper levels than your grass can.
Controlling Lawn Clover
So, what can you do about it? The best way to control clover in your lawn is to properly care for the lawn – mow high and water regularly so strong, thick, healthy growth is maintained. Consider ongoing lawn treatment (aerations, fertilizer, weed control) from a professional lawn maintenance company.
Benefits of Clover in the Lawn
You may consider leaving your clover alone! Only recently, when herbicides became popular, has clover come to be considered a weed. In fact, lawn seed mixes used to deliberately include clover (such as white Dutch clover) – something that some seed providers are now starting to do again due to its potential benefits.
Clover takes nitrogen out of the air and soil and makes it available to your lawn, helping it to grow healthier and more pest-resistant, and reduces the amount of fertilizer required. It also requires less frequent mowing, attracts honeybees and other pollinators (although that may not be a positive if you’re allergic to bee stings), and breaks up compacted soil. The one drawback to including clover in your lawn is that it doesn’t stand up to heavy foot traffic quite as well as lawn grass.
So, perhaps it’s time to reconsider what a healthy lawn should look like! Maybe you’d be happy with a lovely swath of green – with beautiful white clover flowers throughout.