In the previous post, I mentioned clover (Trifolium repens)—the weed we love to hate. We really need to get over our aversion to this amazing plant.
First of all, IT’S PRETTY!!! :-) The photo at right is of crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum), and it’s a bit past it’s prime in terms of bloom, but it’s an amazing plant.
Clover’s Good Qualities
All clovers are legumes that pulls nitrogen out of the air, and store it in their roots. When the plant dies, the roots decay and the stored nitrogen is released back into the soil where it can be used by other plants. So see, clover is actually HELPING your gardening efforts.
I have read that clover used to be considered acceptable—even desirable—in lawns until chemical manufacturers developed herbicides for broadleaf plants (ones that were considered UNdesirable in lawns). It was too problematic to create a broadleaf plant killer that wouldn’t kill clover, too, so it got lumped into the undesirable class of lawn weeds. It’s unfortunate because clover is such a great plant.
But back to crimson clover.
This is a recent client’s new lawn-free front yard. On the right is a mass of crimson clover doing it’s thing to keep other weeds at bay over the winter after the install of her hardscape. The client will soon begin planting where the clover is. The clover will be mowed, allowed to dry in place, then topped with mulch. (Note: Updated images of this project can be seen in the portfolio section of my website, the 5th project called Rain Garden.—BG)
I cannot take credit for this idea—particularly in suburbia on a front yard area. My favorite go-to installer dude came up with the idea, and the client loved it. Her neighbors were—ummmm—less than enthused. But she (via the installer) assured them it was not invasive and would be cut down in spring. And she told me that this spring she got several complements on how beautiful it was. Cool.
This, obviously, is not the same clover as you generally find in your lawn. But I think it’s time we learned to like clover again. We live in a climate that is tough on turf grass because of our hot, dry summers. We may be facing a drought situation this summer and watering bans. If you had a clover yard, it’d stay green despite those challenges.
Just a thought…