Some lawn weeds are so common, and so adaptable, that they become an expected part of the Landscape. Others are indicators of specific issues or practices that have to exist for the respective weed to thrive. Also, some weeds have beneficial properties and are sometimes grown purposefully, which can lead to unintentional invasions. Common White Clover is a weed that fits the bill for all three of these characteristics, and we will discuss why here.
White Clover can be easily recognized by its distinct set of 3 heart-shaped leaves, “3 Leaf Clovers”, that inspire the long-time search for its 4-leafed variation that is said to bring luck. Its spiked white cluster flowers are very common as well, and can be seen all Spring & most of Summer. White Clover can also be distinguished by the white markings in the middle of its leaves.
White Clover has often been an indicator of certain lawn conditions for lawn care professionals, and used to confirm or exclude a certain diagnosis. The most common of these conditions is the indication that a lawn is being mowed too low. The presence of White Clover in a lawn is a good clue that you are mowing your grass too low, as it thrives where the grass is cut too short to outcompete it. Mowing your lawn between 3.5 – 4 inches weekly can help to promote healthy turf and discourage White Clover.
White Clover can also indicate the presence of low Nitrogen content in the soil. Clover can fixate, or create, its own Nitrogen for growth. So it will thrive where other grasses and weeds are deprived of this nutrient. Improving Nitrogen content to your lawn will not in itself fix your clover problem however because established White Clover will use these amendments to its benefit.
Purposeful Clover Establishment
Some organic, eco-friendly pendants push for the growth of all clover lawns for its Nitrogen-fixing abilities, and its ability to establish & spread quickly. Bees are also known to favor white clover for pollination over manly other available flowering plants. White Clover also has medicinal and culinary uses but can be difficult for humans to digest raw.
White clover is quite difficult to get rid of once established, however. So once you decide to incorporate this plant into your existing lawn, you should research more on its aesthetic and invasive properties before making the leap into a complete Clover Lawn.