CLOVER… A GOOD FRIEND TO SOIL, LAWNS AND BEES
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There is a lot of clover this year and people love it or hate it. To put it in perspective, I would like to share the view of clover before the advent of broadleaf weed killer. This is from the scientist who introduced 2,4-D to the landscape. He lamented the fact that the chemical herbicide got rid of the beautiful and useful clover along with the other weeds.
“The thought of White Dutch Clover as a lawn weed will come as a distinct shock to old-time gardeners. I can remember the day when lawn mixtures were judged for quality by the percentage of clover seed they contained. The higher this figure, the better the mixture…I can remember the loving care which old-time gardeners gave their clover lawns. The smug look on the face of the proud homeowner whose stand was the best in the neighborhood was really something to behold.” (In New Way to Kill Weeds by R. Milton Carleton, 1957. Arco Publishing Co., N.Y.)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A subsequent advertising campaign vilified clover as a weed and it acquired a dark and unsavory reputation. Shunned by homeowners, clover is still a good friend to soil, lawns and bees. Clover gets nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil. That is why farmers use it as a cover crop. It helps relieve compaction. It stays green in drought and crowds out other weeds. Grubs don’t like it and the bees, who need all the help they can get these days, love it. Grass growing around clover is always greener than grass growing farther away.