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Clover makes your lawn healthier, greener, and easier to maintain.
Clover Improves Your Lawn
July 12, 2005 by Evelyn J. Hadden

clover patch
A patch of white clover greens a dry spot in the lawn.

I've been asked numerous times about whether clover should be allowed in lawns. After researching the matter, I've concluded that the pros outweigh the cons. There is really only one con, and that is the possiblity of stepping on a bee as one is walking barefoot during clover's flowering season.

The pros are compelling.

  1. Clover adds greenness to a lawn. It stays green even during dry spells in which many cool-season grasses turn brown. If your taste runs to green lawn all season, including clover in it will save you the work and cost of watering and fertilizing the lawn during its mid-summer dormancy.

  2. Clover manufactures fertilizer for your grass by fixing nitrogen. You don't have to buy and distribute additional fertilizer—more savings.

  3. One of the strongest ecological objections to a lawn is its lack of diversity, and due to that, its ill-suitedness as a habitat. Clover allows your lawn to support more wildlife. Its nectar keeps the bees around so they can perform services like pollinating your fruit trees and vegetables. Having a variety of plants in your lawn along with the grasses will increase the diversity of insects and their predators, and this will keep insect populations under control. Research and observation support the stability of a diverse lawn.

  4. Clover attracts parasitoid wasps, which are welcomed by fruit and vegetable growers. Robert Kourik, an expert on edible landscaping writes that white clover (Trifolium repens) attracts "parasitic wasps of aphids, scales, and whiteflies." But don't panic; these are not the wasps that build nests in doorways and hover around picnics, and most of them cannot even sting a person; they are too small.

  5. A clover-rich lawn smells better than a chemically fertilized (or herbicide-treated) one. It can't overpower the fumes of a charcoal grill or city buses, but that fresh smell might reach your glad nose every so often.

Clover has even been used as a substitute for lawn in an area that doesn't get a lot of trampling.

As for those bees in the clover, in Clover Lawns - Alternatives to Lawn Grass, David Beaulieu assures us that "if you are allergic to bee stings, to be on the safe side you can simply mow more frequently during the blooming season."

Clover can help your lawn survive water restrictions.

Christie Keith writes about the benefits of clover in lawns (including making them more dog-proof).

Now is a great time to embrace clover in your lawn, since it seems to be coming back into fashion. If neighbors look askance, simply share this recent story from a popular gardening magazine.

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