Beneficial Clover in Lawns

Paul James shares his top three reasons for loving clover.
gby1902-4_weeds-in-lawn_s4x3

gby1902-4_weeds-in-lawn_s4x3

Related To:

Master gardener Paul James takes a lot of flack for his stance on weeds, specifically his recommendation that lawns should contain a small percentage of weeds. This recommendation is based on the belief that weeds promote biodiversity and thereby reduce pest and disease problems. Weeds also provide food and nesting sites for beneficial insects, and tolerating weeds will help make chemical herbicides obsolete.

gby1902-4a_White-Dutch-clover_s4x3

gby1902-4a_White-Dutch-clover_s4x3

From a distance, Paul's lawn looks pretty nice. The population of weeds is in the neighborhood of 15 percent and includes a number of interesting plants. One of his favorite weeds is white Dutch clover (Trifolium repens), which he has loved since he was a kid. "I remember spending hours on end looking for a lucky four-leaf clover, although I don't recall ever finding one," says Paul.

Here are his top three reasons for loving clover:

1. Clover is a legume, meaning it fixes nitrogen from the air and puts it into the soil. "It's an amazing chemical process, one that reduces the need for additional nitrogen from fertilizers. In fact, clover seed used to be added to turf grass mixtures to help the grass become established faster."

2. Rabbits love eating clover, so if you want to deter rabbits from eating something more precious in the garden, you can try offering them clover.

3. Clover attracts earthworms "by the gazillions," Paul says, "and we all know how beneficial earthworms are for the health of the soil and the plants that grow in and on it."

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Without adequate water, plants will suffer and eventually die. Supplies can run short as rapidly growing plants draw up moisture from the soil. It's important to know what to water and how.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden

Learn how adding fertilizer can be beneficial, especially for fruits, veggies and container plants. Fertilizers can also help kick-start growth after planting and reinvigorate plants that have been pruned hard.

Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?

Preserve your garlic harvest—or a bonus buy you found at the local market—by freezing. Learn how to freeze garlic safely.

Garden Plants and Flowers

Learn how to discover which plants underscore and help define a specific garden design style.

14 Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks

From using leftover coffee beans to preventing dirt from getting underneath fingernails, master gardener Paul James shares his top 14 tips and shortcuts to make spring gardening a breeze.

Garden Design: Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Let your indoor space inspire your landscape design plans.

Choosing Colors and Textures for Your Garden

Learn how to change the look and feel of your garden with this guide.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.