Sunday, August 16, 2009

White Clover For Lush Lawns

Once upon a time, before the advent of synthetic weed killers for the lawn in the late 1940s, most American lawns contained white clover. Because no formulation of weed control could be developed that left both grass and clover, but killed everything else, clover was then lumped in with the weeds in subsequent marketing campaigns.

The scientist who developed 2,4-D, the most common synthetic herbicide, was publicly apologetic because his new product had the unfortunate side effect of eliminating clover. 'The thought of white Dutch clover as a lawn weed will come as a distinct shock to old-time gardeners,' wrote Dr. R. Milton Carleton in his book, A New Way to Kill Weeds in 1957. “I can remember the day when lawn mixtures were judged for quality by the percentage of clover seed they contained. The higher this figure, the better the mixture.”

Today’s newfound emphasis on natural lawn care has folks taking a second look at clover as a primary lawn plant. The benefits are numerous: Six Good Reasons White Clover Is Not a Weed.

Advantages of Clover

Clover lawns have many advantages over traditional bluegrass or bermuda grass lawns.

  • Clover stays green all summer with little or no watering in most regions of the US. Clover is relatively drought-tolerant and it greens up early in spring and remains green until the first frost. In the South, it may remain green all winter.
  • Clover requires little or no mowing. White clover grows just 2-8 inches tall and requires little or no mowing to keep it orderly. However, some homeowners may prefer to mow in midsummer in order to deadhead old blooms and neaten the appearance of the lawn, or to prevent blooming.
  • Clover never needs fertilizer. Clover is a nitrogen-fixing legume, a plant that essentially creates its own fertilizer... and fertilizes nearby plants as well! Grass that is intermixed with clover will be healthier and greener with less effort than grass planted alone.
  • Clover never needs herbicides. In fact, most herbicides kill clover. Fortunately...
  • Clover out-competes other weeds. Anyone who has struggled to eradicate clover from a grass lawn can tell you how persistent it can be. Clover easily out-competes most other weeds and reduces the need for weeding or expensive herbicides.
  • Clover grows well in poor soil. Clover tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions, including the poor-quality subsoil common around many new homes.
  • Clover feels great on bare feet. Soft, lush, and cool, walking barefoot on a clover lawn is a luxurious treat. Clover's leaves and blossoms also have a mild, pleasant smell.
  • Clover is immune to "dog patches." The urine of female dogs discolors lawn grasses. Clovers stays as green and lush as ever.
  • Clover is inexpensive. Clover seed is extremely inexpensive. Average cost is about $4 per 4000 square feet. Homeowners who have been fighting clover as a weed get it for free, if they decide to stop fighting and let it grow.
Source of Advantages: Clover Lawns

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