You don't have to water or fertilize them as much as regular lawns. Plus, they're magical-looking.
Amy Cox remembers the first time she learned she could grow a lawn out of clovers.
"Where has this been all my life?" she mused. "Why is this a secret?"
Cox is a partner at Pro Time Lawn Seed, an alternative lawn business in Portland, Oregon that sells seeds for clover and other plants to make eco-friendly, low maintenance lawns. Her company helps not just individuals, but also colleges, cities and states plant unconventional lawns and parks.
"We’re up 86 percent this year from last year," she told me. "That’s been steadily happening over the last four years. It’s kind of an 'organic' growth."
Clover is becoming popular because it looks magical but doesn't require as much care as regular lawns. Since it doesn't need fertilizer or much water, it's also good for the planet. Plus, it's tough.
"Soccer pitches are using it in areas that get the most wear," Cox told me. "We love it in our dog park mix."
If you're wondering what it would take to turn your grassy lawn into a clover meadow, I've got you covered.
Decide what to plant
"If you happen to plant clover with other plants, it will fertilize them as well," Cox said. "That's one of the things I love about it."
Besides, it's easier to keep a mixed lawn healthy.
"Microclover by itself is a monoculture," she pointed out. "If something were to happen to it, there’s really nothing else to help carry on."
Prepare the soil
"Core aeration is always good for a lawn, especially one with compacted soil," Cox said.
You can use lime, compost, fertilizer or whatever else you want to make the soil as ready for action as possible.
Aim to plant sometime after it starts warming up and at least a couple months before the first frost. So think late spring through summer.
Toss the seeds
Walk north and south, dropping a line of seeds as you go (don't bury them). Then walk east and west as you drop more seeds, so you crisscross the lawn.
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As you may have surmised, clover lawns need way less care than regular grass lawns. But you still can't just let them grow wild and expect them to look postcard perfect (of course, if you like wild lawns, go for it). To keep your clovers looking like a crowd of tiny green clones, mow about once a month.
If you really hate mowing, you can also look into growing lawns that don't need it. There's a kind of grass that flops over when it gets too long, making it look like waves on a gentle sea.
Happy gardening ...