Clover or micro clover as a lawn

Asked October 8, 2019, 11:53 PM EDT

I have a shady back yard and can not grow grass. Would clover or micro clover be a good alternative?

Montgomery County Maryland lawns and turf plant selection shade lawn t2 clover as lawn

5 Responses

Hi - Clover (all types) really needs full sun to thrive. We do not recommend it for shaded areas. Instead, you might want to try a fine fescue grass such as hard fescue. Be aware, however, that hard fescue does not tolerate a lot of foot traffic. Refer to our webpage about growing grass in the shade for more options, https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/growing-grass-shade

Here also is information about lawn alternatives,
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives.

Christa

Thank you Crista,

Do you know if flox would be a good ground cover to use. I do not want something to tall, just a green lawn.

randy

Phlox is a possibility but most aren't going to be able to take a lot of foot or dog traffic.
It all depends on what your needs and expectations are. You could look at it less as a 'typical' lawn- you could seed fine fescue if it is not dense, dark shade... but otherwise you could think of it as a woodland garden.
The links above will give you many ideas.
See specifically this list for groundcovers: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/groundcover-list


Christine

Thank you Christine,

It is shady all the time as woods back up to my backyard fence.

I do not have a dog at the moment but I was hoping to have a low maintenance green back yard. I wonder if the Fine Fescue would work? would I plant that now or wait till spring?

Thank you very much for your help.

Randy


By "shady all the time" do you mean dappled light between the leaves or literally no sun at all hitting the ground?
If it at least gets some sunlight, you could try it now but it's getting late- you would want to plant this weekend, keep it watered/moist for entire germination period and hope we don't get an early frost. You would also need to gently blow fallen leaves off the area.
Proper prep of the soil bed goes a long way toward good results.
Spring is difficult for seeding because of the weed pressure from crabgrass and Japanese stiltgrass and others that also start growing at that time.
Late summer into fall next year would be best, as you could take your time to get a soil test done, amend the soil, prepare the bed, seed and nurture it to maturity.
Here is our lawn information that has all the steps/details for success:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/starting-new-lawn


Christine