‘Do the dirty work’ Why you shouldn’t kill clover in your lawn if you want it to ‘thrive’

How to remove weeds and moss from lawns

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Clover has long been considered a persistent weed, leading many gardeners to think it should be removed from the lawn as soon as it starts to grow. While weeds can be problematic for grass and other plants, there are actually plenty of benefits to letting this small green perennial go wild in your lawn. Here’s why.

Lawn weeds will grow all year round and can feel impossible to get rid of for good.

While removing unwanted plants like dandelions and daisies is often encouraged if you want to grow luscious green grass, some weeds can actually make your lawn look even better if left undisturbed.

In fact, clovers can look rather idyllic in a flower-rich lawn, and will provide several benefits to both the grass and busy pollinators visiting your garden.

The three-leaf, pastel coloured flowers may not be in keeping with traditional lawn styles, though it is believed that “there is a place for clovers” in the garden, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Why should you leave clover in your lawn?

The RHS aren’t alone in recognising the potential benefits of keeping clovers in your garden either, with the home advice experts at Bob Vila also having advocated for this dainty weed to be ‘encouraged’ in lawns.

They said: “Though often mistaken for weeds themselves, clovers do the dirty work, using their strength and cover to keep other weeds from thriving.

“These legumes quickly form clumps that spread rapidly by secondary roots, which naturally crowd out broadleaf weeds.

“You might think this means clover will overtake your turf as well, but on the contrary, clovers are kind to grasses, and they grow quite well together.”

Clovers feed your lawn

Crowding out broadleaf weeds isn’t the only benefit of allowing clovers to grow in your lawn, but reducing the need for weeding is one of the main perks.

Clover can make the grass healthier without the use of living mulch and fertilisers, which take time and patience to apply.

According to the team at Bob Vila, the clover works by taking nitrogen out of the air and soil, and converting it into a “plant-friendly” form.

This then feeds the grass to help the fresh green blades “thrive”.

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Clovers eliminate the need to aerate the soil

While weeds are often thought to suffocate lawns, clover can have quite the opposite effect.

Its presence can actually help to break up compacted soil, minimising the need to aerate your lawn.

Growing this small ground-cover weed can also reduce the need to mow your lawn as frequently too, keeping it green and vibrant all year round with minimal effort.

Clover attracts pollinators

In addition to offering plenty of nourishment to your lawn, clovers are also very attractive to pollinators.

The small flowers are inviting bees and butterflies as well as other beneficial insects like ladybugs, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, and others that prey on smaller pests.

According to the team at Bob Vila, these little garden predators feed on aphids, scales, whiteflies, and similar pests that harm your plants, so you can keep the rest of your garden healthy while improving the ecosystem.

Your lawn will look better in summer

Unlike grass, clover will grow almost anywhere regardless of the conditions.

This small weed will thrive in poor-draining, low-quality, or even compacted soil, – remaining green all year round.

What’s more, a clover covered lawn requires less water than most turf grasses once it’s established, so it is suitable for drought-prone climates too.

Its evergreen appearance makes clover even more attractive in the summer when some turf grasses struggle in spots that get scorched or are covered by shade.

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