Grow a Clover Lawn You Barely Mow

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Photo: Francesco Scatena (Shutterstock)

If you have a lawn on your property, you already know how much they suck. Grass is fragile, fickle and expensive to maintain. Lawns suck your time and energy and are in many ways ecological disasters in many ways, from water use to the reduction of natural habitats – plus they are a pain to maintain. That’s why there’s a slow-rebellion movement against the lawns in progress. Recently, social media has been buzzing with an alternative to the traditional lawn: clover lawns.

If you’re an old-school gardener who’s spent your life struggle clover, you might think the world has gone mad. BBut there are some very good reasons why you should consider inviting clover into your lawn – or just leaving the clover be your lawn.

The benefits of clover

Clover—all 300 species of it-is a flowering legume that most lawn lovers consider the enemy because it is aggressively invasive. But at the beginning of the 20e century, most lawns actually included white clover in their mix – it was only with the advent of effective herbicides that the ideal lawn became a turf monoculture. Clover, long decried as a weed, is now making a comeback for very good reasons:

  • It’s more environmentally friendly than grass. Clover is tough stuff. Because it is a legume, it actually attracts nitrogen and other elements in the soil, so you don’t need to fertilize or aerate like you do with a grass lawn – in fact, if you mix clover with your grass lawn, you’ll notice the yellow spots disappear when the clover heals your grass. It also uses much less water.
  • It attracts pollinators. The bees to like clover, and will flock to your lawn once it blooms. It will also attract other creatures, like rabbits.
  • It’s easier to maintain. Not only does a clover lawn require less water, it also requires a lot less mowing – you can get away with mowing your lawn just 2-4 times a year with clover (less if you like a wilder yard). It also stays pretty much green no matter what, unlike your sad, yellow, straw-like grass – even if your dog pees on the clover, it doesn’t fade like grass does . Clover is so aggressive that it usually outpowers weeds, so you won’t need to do much in the way of weed control.
  • It is cheap. First of all, if you are trying to get rid of clover in your lawn, that means you already have obtained clover in your lawn – give up and let it grow, and you have a free clover lawn. Need to buy clover seeds instead? Break out the small bills, because you can get 4,000 square feet of clover coverage for about $4.
  • They feel good. A clover lawn is really nice to walk on barefoot, y’all.

Disadvantages of Clover Lawns

So clover is great! Surely there are downsides to consider when considering all that free time on your weekends. not spent tending to an environmentally disastrous lawn?

The main disadvantage of a clover lawn is durability. Say what you want about the grass, you can walk on it, picnic on it, play football on it and it will come back as if nothing had happened. Clover is less hardy when it comes to foot traffic and you will get bare spots if you have a lot of activity on your clover lawn.

Clover is also a relatively short-lived perennial, so you will need to replant every 2-3 years. Fortunately, it’s quite easy.

Clover is a great alternative to grass or a great addition to a grassy lawn. It’s better for the planet, easier to maintain, and it’s reminiscent of a less conformist lawn culture that flourished before cookie-cutter subdivisions ruled our home aesthetics. Throw a few bucks to a clover seed and free yourself from your grassy weekend prison.

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