Clover in lawns

by Adam Pasco

Where has all the clover come from this summer? My lawn is simply covered with clover - I don't recall it ever being so infested in the past.

Clover growing in a lawnWhere has all the clover come from this summer? My lawn is simply covered with clover - I don't recall it ever being so infested in the past. I'm not one of those people who is really bothered about weeds in my lawn, but just look at how it has spread!

Earlier today I watched as a dozen or more bees eagerly flitted here and there, visiting the clover flowers. Far from being a weedy embarrassment my lawn is actually a wildlife haven.

Earlier in the day my daughter commented on the numerous starlings feeding on the lawn, not from any food I'd scattered, but simply pecking away searching for worms and grubs. And a blackbird whose youngster fledged from a nest in my ivy this week has also found the lawn a useful source of food.

The drought during June and into early July really took its toll on the grass, with brown patches remaining despite the occasional downpours of recent weeks. The strange thing about the weather this summer is just how localised the showers were. Driving home from the station on some evenings I found myself battling through torrential rain, only to get home and find my garden was still bone dry. And there I was wishfully thinking I'd have an evening off from my summer watering routine!

But back to the clover. Perhaps the weather has played a part in boosting clover growth in my lawn, just as I've heard it has for other gardeners. I'm not complaining, and certainly won't be reaching for the weedkiller. It's interesting to reflect that those people who dig up their lawn, replacing it with paving or gravel, are denying insects and birds an opportunity to come into their gardens to feed. And personally, wildlife is always welcome in my garden.

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Gardeners' World Web User 20/07/2009 at 18:52

Many, many years ago, before everyone had to have yards of perfect grass, many yards were full of clover. Clover is excellent for the soil and provides lots of nitrogen. And personally, I think many of the so-called 'weeds' actually hold up better under disease and drought conditions than the grass. Also, 'weeds' like clover hold up better than grass to heavy use by children and foot travel. I have a lot of flowers, so the bees are usually in that instead of the lawn. Grass is overrated. We need to be cautious around bees, but bees (especially bumblebees) are one of the indicators of a healthy yard environment.

Gardeners' World Web User 20/07/2009 at 19:30

I plant it. It's fabulous and it's low maintenance. It attracts bees which is a good thing. It has long roots to discourage weeds and doesn't need a lot of water when it gets hot and dry. Best of all you can have a great time finding 4 leaf clovers. Grass is definately over rated. A weed is only a weed if you don't like it.

Gardeners' World Web User 20/07/2009 at 19:31

PS: I can't imagine wanting to put a weed killer on my lawn to kill clover even if using vinegar. How gross!!

Gardeners' World Web User 21/07/2009 at 16:22

I have just purchased a pack of red clover seeds myself for my lawn and cannot wait to see the results of the benefits it will add to the soil.

Gardeners' World Web User 21/07/2009 at 18:02

I agree about grass being overrated. I only have so much in our garden cos the Bairn is only 5, and it's a good surface for her to play on. As she grows and needs the back garden less I'll claim more of it for planting. We have patches of clover in our bit of grass (refuse to use the word 'lawn') and can't say I've seen many bees, if any, on them. The Bairn was stung on the leg the other week, but she was playing on the patio at the time! I think it improves the look overall of the grass - anything that detracts from the boredom is a good thing!

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