6 reasons you shouldn’t kill your clover
For starters, it's not necessarily a weed. It also can act as a 'fertilizer factory' for your plants and lawn, in addition to other benefits.
Once upon a time, before the advent of synthetic weedkillers for the lawn in the late 1940s, most American lawns contained white clover. Because no weed-control formula could be developed that left grass and clover but killed everything else, clover was lumped in with the weeds in subsequent marketing campaigns.
A scientist who helped develop 2,4-D, the most common synthetic herbicide, to the turfgrass industry was publicly apologetic because the 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,” Dr. R. Milton Carleton wrote in his 1957 book, “A New Way to Kill Weeds.” “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.”
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Today’s newfound emphasis on natural lawn care has folks taking a second look at clover as a primary lawn plant. Clover’s benefits include:
- It’s low-growing and needs little mowing.
- It’s evergreen even in the coldest climates.
- It’s drought tolerant, requiring little if any supplemental water once established.
- It’s a fertilizer factory for grass and other plants because it can store atmospheric nitrogen in its root systems.
- It masks the presence of other weeds in the lawn.
- It resists insects and diseases, especially the white grubs that can be a major lawn nemesis.
Paul Tukey is the founder of Safelawns.org.
Honeybees love clover and they deserve a break (readily available blossom) since without them crop failure would be RAMPANT (read: famine). Clover honey is (or at least was) probably the most common honey in the US. Most of the honeybee clover source is likely clover cover crop (another type of clover), but I'm guessing it may partially be from white clover lawns as well. Bees need a place to feed in the suburbs and cities, so help local bees (even if you don't like honey) because in addition to helping our main plant pollinators, you get "free" fertilizer because clover take nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the soil and making it available to plant roots. Of course, honeybee allergy sufferers may not want clover. Also, kids like to play with clover leaves and flowers and I would rather not have my kids lie down in a lawn with extra added chemicals. But don't run barefoot across the lawn like I did when I was little...I got a sting or two every year by bee-foot collision.
Golf course lawns
Really, who the eff cares so much what their lawn looks like???? If you care that much, then you need a better hobby.
If you kill off all of your clover, how are you going to find 4 leaf clovers? I sometimes find patches that have a lot of 4 leaf clovers. I have often picked 30 or more at a time. Once I picked about 50 and carried them in the house to put between the pages of books and then went back to the same area and picked about 50 more. Twice I have found Siamese twin 4 leaf clovers. They looked like a 4 leaf clover and a 3 leaf clover next to each other. When I picked them I found that the two stems were attached the entire distance and one leaf on each was attached along the rib.
The only problem with clover growing in your yard is that children running around barefoot might get a bee sting. I used to get one a year until I started putting on flip-flops to go outside. Now I keep my shoes tied loose enough to just slip my feet in.
Just let the clover live. Why would anyone pollute our world to have an (even lawn)??
You don't have anything better to do?
Herbicides have widely variable toxicity. In addition to acute toxicity from high exposures there is concern of possible carcinogenicity as well as other long-term problems such as contributing to Parkinson's Disease.
SWEET! Lets all spray it on our lawns instead of hand picking. Come on take some responsibility for the condition of our lands.