Clover: The Friendly "Weed" | Use Nature To Beautify Your Lawn
Modern Pesticide Bans Require Us To Find New Solutions
My neighbors' lawn gets brown every July, mine doesn't. He has accused me of watering during drought seasons when municipal watering bans are in effect. He has been "lawning" his whole life. He's retired and claims to have so much experience with lawn care.... except his only lawn care experience is shooting chemical sprays all over his lawn.
Bad news for my neighbor: many countries have banned pesticides for lawn use.
"Pesticidal" lawn care guys like my neighbor have a hard time accepting natural alternatives to lawn care. He will spend his whole afternoon on his knees ripping out those beautiful little clovers from his turf.
He then stands on his patch of brown hay and looks over at my lush, green lawn and he wonders how I got it to be that way. He wonders why, after all of his hard work he cannot achieve a nice, green, drought resistant patch of grass as I have. He often bitches and says,
"You're hardly ever out working on your lawn and it's so much greener than mine!"
He seeds and weeds, buys a big pile of dirt every year and spreads it all over his yard. He then waits and watches as his weeds enjoy the nutrients from the new dirt. When I say weeds, I exclude clover, because clover is not a weed.
You see the very clover he was ripping out is the same stuff I let flourish on my lawn.
Clover Is Not A Weed
Clover should not be considered to be a weed my friends, on the contrary, in fact, clover can be very beneficial to your lawn. Clover is one of my tools against having a dried out dandelion infested lawn.
I also spread grass seed early on in the spring (during the rainy season) and keep my grass cut long, about 5cm. These two last tips encourage the grass to root deeper and chokes out the dandelions.
Clover also roots deeply and has access to more moisture during dry seasons.
Some plants (one one which is clover) have the ability to convert nitrogen in the air into a form of nitrogen that can be used by plants. This process is called "nitrogen fixing". Nitrogen fixing is a chemical process performed by the bacteria that live on the nodules of the roots of the clover. Farmers plant clover fields to re-condition depleted soil for planting the following season. What this means for you? You do not need to buy fertilizer if you have a clover seeded lawn.
By leaving out the $8.99 bag of fertilizer, you not only save some cash, but you are also helping out mother earth by reducing the amount of phosphates that leech into our lakes and rivers. Excess phosphates cause blue-green algae and spoil many potential swimming or fishing locales along our shores.
Help Nature Help You
For decades now, clover has been wrongly classified as a weed. Weeds are undesirable plants that grow among our lawns. We throw down fertilizer which contains phosphates to feed our grass while killing "weeds". The phosphates then leech into our lakes and rivers causing blue-green algae.
The err in our ways is classifying clover as a weed. Introduce and encourage clover in your chemical free lawn and you will be amazed at how much easier it will be to maintain your new healthy lawn.