“The dandelions and buttercups gild the lawn: the drowsy bee stumbles among the clover tops, and sweetens all to me.”
– James Russell Lowell
I was thrilled to see the white clover growing so beautifully today as I drove through the Route 79/Route 1 intersection in downtown Madison. White clover (Trifolium repens), also known as Dutch clover is growing in popularity as a lawn alternative and for good reason. If you are fortunate enough to have it growing in your lawn consider yourself lucky! Maybe you have some four leaf clovers waiting to be discovered.
White clover is not the undesirable weed that many people consider it to be but rather a charming beneficial addition to your lawn. It requires less water. It does not require fertilizer. In fact it is a nitrogen-fixing legume, a plant that essentially creates it’s own fertilizer. Grass that is intermixed with clover will be healthier and greener and require less care than grass planted alone. White clover should never be treated with an herbicide. It also requires less mowing, grows in poor soil and out competes other weeds. The best thing about white clover is that it is beneficial to pollinators like honey bees and parasitoid wasps which feed on aphids, scales, and whiteflies. These tiny wasps are harmless to humans.
If you have your heart set on a traditional American lawn, I encourage you to reconsider. This type of lawn serves a purpose but it does nothing towards bettering our ecosystem and environment. This requires a change of heart which is not easy I know. We take pride in our landscapes and manicured lawns. But you could be proud that your clover mix lawn has made a positive impact on our environment.
Melissa Blundon. CANP, AOLCP
Madison Earth Care | Phone: 203-421-4358