Just when I thought there was a wonderful thing for lawn alternative, I have some disheartening news about Mini- and Micro-Clover. Please don’t murder the messenger!
In a previous post I told you about 2 new cultivars of Trifolium repens (Dutch white clover). mini and micro clover. One of them is in the Fleur de Lawn blend also mentioned in that article.
One thing nice about white clover is it’s drought tolerance and that it’s evergreen in our climate in zone 8 on the west side of the Cascades, even in summer. But I have read some information in the past couple weeks that is troubling about both of the new clovers. Two things actually:
- While both new clovers have been bred to have much smaller leaves and fewer flowers, if you don’t keep them mowed, they revert back to the parent plant quite quickly and assume the same size and quantity of flowers. In my view, this is not a bad thing. Clover is good for your lawn. And white clover is the least difficult to care for (among other clovers for lawn applications) and it’s a tidy short size. If you don’t like the flowers, just mow them off. :) But in the Fleur de Lawn, it could be that the reverted clover will cover some of the other flowers, so why waste money on the Fleur de Lawn if some of it won’t be all that viable or visible?
- This is the really bad news. Reports are that both mini and micro clover die back in temperatures over 90°F. WHAT?! How many days have we had over 90 this summer? Yeah, too many!!! :) And with climate change, I think we can assume we’ll have more. Regular white clover doesn’t die back at high temperatures. Read article on the subject here.
So both of these factors are making me hesitate about the new mini and micro clovers for our climate, and also about Fleur de Lawn since it includes either mini or micro clover.
In light of this new info, here is my new recommendation for eco lawn (at this point in time):
A blend of ½ RTF grass (rhizomatous tall fescue) and ½ Trifolium repens (Dutch white clover). Or you could blend in different proportions. Eventually, the clover will create a carpet anyway and the delicate fescue will be grass above the understory of clover. The clover should choke out most weeds quite nicely and provide adequate nitrogen for the grass.
Both products above are said to be similarly drought tolerant. The only snafu might be shade. Clover doesn’t do well in shade, so you’ll see less of it there, but the RTF does great in shade, and most of the weeds in our area don’t like shade.
So please take this info under advisement and act accordingly.