Who doesn’t love the look and feel of a lush, green lawn? Having your home surrounded by gorgeous green turf has forever been part of the American dream. But once reality sets in, maintaining and irrigating traditional turf lawns can cost you time and money. If you’re an eco-conscious homeowner, or just want gorgeous green surrounding your home, you may find it difficult to justify the expense, water and chemicals involved in modern lawn maintenance.
Many smart, eco-conscious homeowners are finding a sure-fire solution in a lush, fast-growing and hardy ground cover that’s been unfairly relegated to weed status for decades. Clover is making a comeback.
“If you’re older than 30, you may remember your father trying to rid his manicured lawn of clover that just kept on growing,” says Troy Hake, owner of seed company Outsidepride.com. “Today, clover has turned over a new leaf. It offers many advantages over traditional turf, which is why golf courses and sports fields in Europe have been using it for years instead of grass. Clover stays green longer, grows fast, thrives in shade or sun, and even acts as a natural fertilizer wherever it grows. Miniclover is especially attractive, and can help you get that thick, lush, lovely green lawn you’ve been looking for.”
As more Americans become aware of the need to use more natural and sustainable lawn care practices and warmer weather brings more water shortages throughout the country, clover is gaining ground in residential lawns across the U.S.
The splendor of sustainable clover
Clover comes in a wide variety of sizes, but rich green leaves are characteristic of all clovers. Miniclover, considered the top turf alternative for lawns, is a perennial that grows to be about 4 inches tall – about half the size of the White Dutch Clover common in lawns you’ve seen for years. Miniclover is a productive producer and the more you mow it, the smaller the leaf sizes will grow, providing a thick, carpet-like appearance that blends well with turf.
Miniclover’s growth begins earlier than grass and continues to stay green and thrive even when drought conditions and cold temps turn turf brown.
Hardy and versatile
Miniclover grows well in sun or partial shade and its deep roots (deeper than traditional turf) enable it to reach the natural water table and give it a high tolerance for drought conditions. Clover stays green long after grass has turned brown – a significant advantage as water shortages continue to occur across the country. In fact, 80 percent of state water managers surveyed by the Government Accountability Office in 2014 said they expect some portion of their states to experience water shortages within the next 10 years.
Miniclover can also be used for erosion control; it tolerates wear, so it’s a smart choice for high-traffic areas like golf courses or your backyard where children and pets run and play all summer!
Easy on the environment
Clover is environmentally friendly in multiple ways. In addition to needing less water to thrive, it can grow in poor soil without the need for chemical fertilizers. In fact, because clover infuses the soil with nitrogen, it acts as a natural fertilizer and can actually make surrounding grass healthier when you mix it in a turf lawn. Clover can be a natural way to fix soil that’s nitrogen deficient and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
A full or partial clover lawn will not only save money on your water bill, you’ll spend less on lawn care, too. Miniclover is fast and easy to grow, requires much less mowing and fertilization, and less investment in maintenance. Because it’s a semi-aggressive species, after an initial seeding, Miniclover will quickly fill in gaps in lawns, preventing weeds from filling in bare spots.
“Miniclover is very cost-effective, within the first year after sowing, you could recoup your investment with lower fertilizer, weed control, mowing and irrigation costs,” Hake says.