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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Clover - A Weed that Isn't! (Weedy Wednesday)

I couldn't help but snap the picture below.  It's white clover and it's in my lawn. What lawn companies will tell you is that this little beautiful green plant that grows in patches is a weed.  Don't believe them.  Clover is a useful little plant in many ways!


First of all clover is a legume. It's similar to beans and actually will fix nitrogen into the soil. It's an awesome additive to compost bins. I use my push lawnmower with a bagger to cut and gather grass and clover then use as a mulch or a compost ingredient. Because clover is such a great nitrogen fixer it doesn't need nitrogen and will stay green in areas that don't have good nitrogen content.  You can use clover as an indicator for the nitrogen in your garden's soil.  Areas that have a lot of clover may be low in nitrogen and could use some sort of organic fertilizer if you want to plant something there.  Or you can just let the clover grow!

Clover is also a great source of food for the bees.  It is my opinion that the proliferation of weed control herbicides in the lawn have reduced some of the potential food sources for some of our most important pollinators.  If the clover is eradicated then the bees can't make clover honey can they?


Clover can even be used as a cover crop.  I've planted red clover before to help add nitrogen back into the soil to areas after heavy feeders like tomatoes were planted.
 
So you can see that clover is simply not really a weed at all!  It's a useful lawn plant that helps us to avoid the monoculture vacuum that has become our lawn.  So don't eliminate clover, embrace it and gain the benefits that it can offer!

8 comments :

  1. This is very interesting Dave. There truly is a reason for all the things God made....(except spiders says my son)

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    Replies
    1. Very true! Although I like the spiders - and they do eat the bad bugs!

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  2. Dave, What's your opinion about clover (white or the common clover with yellow flowers) in the garden? OK to let it multiply or should I keep trying to dig it up around my plants?

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    Replies
    1. Pamela,

      I would remove it around landscape plants and drop it in the compost bin. In the yard it's fine to leave alone but in formal planting areas it could interfere with the goals of your garden!

      Delete
  3. That's good to know, especially since that's about all I have in my yard right now after the extreme drought last year here in Texas. Will hav my work cut out for me, trying to get my yard back in shape.

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  4. Ya, clover used to be included in grass seed mixtures. I still like to include it and watch as the grass slowly wins the battle as the soil improves over the years (clover wins on poor soils, but when grasses have the nutrient balance they need, they'll crowd out pretty much anything).

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  5. I just dug up (to transplant) some lovely, tiny purple clover I found at my mother in law's home. I thought I'd use it as a ground cover. Are there many types of clovers?

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    Replies
    1. There are a few white clover and red clover are the most common. There's a purple one too. There are many more though!

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