Switching to clover

Asked March 15, 2019, 7:31 AM EDT

Hi - what are your thoughts about creating lawns from clover rather than grass? We struggle to grow grass due to soil conditions and lots of shade. Can you seed clover right over grass?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

What you use for your lawn is really a personal choice and dependent on your site. Some people may view clover as a weed. It is also not as tolerant of heavy traffic as some grasses. Other people may choose to use clover because of the benefits of the flowers for bees. Clover also adds nitrogen back to the soil and can tolerate drought. There are also other lawn alternatives with some similar benefits (see websites below). A question to consider would be whether you would remove the existing grass and other weeds before planting the clover, or plant within existing lawn. It is possible to grow clover within an existing lawn, but will take some effort to establish. One choice would be to use some fescue species of grasses to grow with the clover because they tolerate shade and don't grow too aggressively to overtake the clover. Keep in mind that clover can tolerate some shade but will grow less quickly. It will not likely do well in full shade. See the websites below for additional ways to improve your success for planting clover within an existing lawn. https://www.beelab.umn.edu/sites/beelab.umn.edu/files/bee-lawns-2018-mg.pdf http://www.blue-thumb.org/turfalternatives/ Also, you mention difficulties with your soil. If you haven't already had a soil test done, it may help you with making decisions about what you choose to do with your lawn. There is a small fee, but the sample is fairly easy to collect and send to the University of Minnesota. This next website provides more details. http://soiltest.cfans.umn.edu/testing-services/lawn-garden Best of luck with your lawn.