When to plant micro clover seed?

White Clover: A Quick and Comprehensive Guide

White clover (trifolium repens) is commonly used in pastures across many temperate parts of Australia. A perennial legume, white clover is known to produce high yields for feed crops and is resistant to many adverse conditions. Whether planted purely as a white clover pasture or as part of a mixture of seed varieties, your land and your stock can benefit from the addition of this hardy legume.

What white clover is used for:

White clover is most often used as a cold season pasture plant, especially when combined in a mix with other perennial grasses. Its properties also lend it to being an excellent “living mulch” for vegetable gardens, vineyards, and orchards.

Benefits, tolerances and resistances:

White clover is known to be a hardy plant which will tolerate high traffic and heavy grazing. Its most lauded feature, however, is its ability to grow in soil usually considered infertile. As long as you fertilise with phosphorus and sulphur, your white clover seeds should grow in just about any soil.

The plant itself produces and fixes atmospheric nitrogen, which often results in a noticeable increase in growth of companion grasses. This is one of the reasons white clover is added to part of a pasture seed mix.

White clover crops will tolerate shade and frost, which adds to their appeal as a winter crop. It is of high nutritive value to animals which graze on it, providing a good amount of protein.

White clover is often recommended as a ‘living mulch’ for between rows of trees, vegetables, or fruit bushes. Its ability to thrive in moist, shady places and tolerance for traffic make it perfect for those locations, and its nitrogen production is beneficial for the neighbouring plants. The shallow yet dense root system prevents erosion and suppresses weeds.

Bees love white clover flowers for both pollen and nectar. People who grow fruit or trees which rely on bees for pollination may find that the presence of white clover improves pollination.

Disadvantages and weaknesses:

White clover needs moisture. It doesn’t tolerate drought conditions very well and needs summer rain or irrigation to thrive. Whilst it will grow more successfully in infertile conditions than other plants, it will not grow without a decent level of phosphorus in the soil. Luckily, this can be solved with some simple fertilising.

Clovers are a plant known to tolerate acidic soils, but white clover is known to be less tolerant of soils above pH7 than other varieties. It also prefers soils above pH 5.8. So, if your soil sits within the pH 5.8 – 7 range you’ll have some happy, thriving white clover. Outside that range it might struggle.

White clover is relatively resistant to leaf diseases but can be prone to root or stolon rot in adverse conditions. Build-up of vegetation on aged stems and stolons can lead to susceptibility to developing disease and insect problems. However, regular cutting or grazing encourages new plant growth and removes this risk. In a pasture or a well maintained living mulch, risk of diseases and pests is low.

Where to plant white clover:

Southern areas of Australia with reasonable rainfall are the locations which will see the most successful white clover crops. Whilst the soil type and conditions rarely need to be considered when deciding on whether to plant white clover or not, rainfall is. For white clover to survive a summer there needs to be either irrigation (or watering in smaller patches) or rainfall.

When to plant white clover:

In a dryland area white clover is best planted in mid-autumn to early winter in moist conditions. In an irrigated or tablelands area white clover can be planted in spring. The amount of seed mix needed will be between 1-2 kilograms per hectare if used in a mix.

If you’re planting a purely white clover crop it’s best to double or triple the amount of seed used, therefore using between 2 – 5 kilograms per hectare. Talk to your local seed supplier for recommendations for your specific area. Germination should occur at around seven to 10 days after planting.

These are our recommended tips on how to grow Micro Clover and other Lawn Solution products.

All over North America, people are deciding to replace their traditional grass lawns with other low-growing, less demanding plants. Traditional lawn grasses form thatch, a thick, tough, almost impermeable layer of root mass. These grasses are selected for their shallow roots and for their rugged ability to stand up to foot traffic and other stresses. Manicured grass lawns require regular cutting, feeding, aerating, de-thatching, and watering. With watering restrictions in place, summer droughts can turn lawns brown and unsightly.

When it comes to planting carrot seeds in a home garden, we can be quite precise about spacing, timing, and fertilizing. Because lawn solutions are planted on a much larger scale, we can only recommend “best practices” to ensure the highest chance of success. Homeowners can still plant these products without employing professional landscapers, but it should be done carefully in order to minimize waste and keep costs down.

1. Remove existing lawn. Over-seeding existing lawn rarely results in high germination. These seeds are like any other: They must be in contact with moist soil in order to germinate. If they are broadcast over an existing lawn, germination will be reduced, possibly to zero.

Some folks have tried de-thatching and aerating lawn prior to over-seeding. While this may increase the chances of germination, it is not best practice.

2. Lay down topsoil. Add an inch or more fresh topsoil to the planting area to give the new seedlings a helping hand. Soil that had previously been home to lawn grasses may be nutrient deficient or compacted. Topsoil will help retain moisture during the critical few weeks after planting.

3. Spread the seeds. Sow densely at 50g of seed per 100 square feet. The seeds can be sprinkled by hand or spread with a lawn seeding machine. Typically, lawns are seeded north-south/north-south, and then once more east-west/east-west. This helps spread the seeds evenly. We recommend keeping back up to 20% of the seeds in order to fill in any spots that get missed on the first planting — or, to order 20% more seeds than the recommended rate.

4. If a roller is available, use it. This will help press the seeds into the prepared soil. It’s not absolutely necessary, but may increase overall germination.

5. Irrigate. Until the clover is established, it will need regular watering, particularly in hot, dry, or windy weather. Ten minutes of sprinkler time twice a day is sufficient in most cases, BUT – water according the needs of your particular yard or landscape. Many variables can impact how much water is needed to establish micro-clover. Gradient, soil compaction, sun exposure, shade, and temperature all play a role.

6. Allow the products to establish. Prevent foot and pet traffic for at least four weeks after sowing so the plants have a chance of establishing healthy root systems and putting on early growth. Micro Clover, Tall Fescue, and Bee Turf are tough plants that can handle foot traffic, but they must be allowed a grace period to establish.

7. Mow. It may be surprising how vigorously some of these plants grow at first. They will not show any miniaturization to begin with. The tight dwarf growth will come as a result of repeated mowing. The plants respond to mowing by hugging the ground more, with smaller leaves and shorter flower stems. Over time, they will take on a very compact, snug appearance. Likewise, the clovers will grow in and fill empty spots as their roots grow laterally through the soil. If the product looks a bit beat up after mowing, just wait a couple of days. It will rebound.

Our seeds are germination tested by an independent seed lab to meet or exceed the Canada Number One germination rate. These products are hardy to Zone 3 – but this is not a guarantee that they will survive unexpected weather extremes. As with any other garden plant, a very severe winter (or summer) may result in damage or loss.

Sow Micro Clover seeds between the period two weeks prior to your last frost date, and 4 weeks prior to your first average frost date. For the BC Lower Mainland, that is approximately March 15 to October 5. Sowing in hot, dry weather will reduce the chances for success.

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

© KAMChokE/ If you already have a lawn, you can just add clover to it — no need to rip out all the grass. Of course, that’s up to you. Pure micro clover lawns look gorgeous, Cox assures me. But many people like to mix different plants together.

“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

© bluedog studio/ This bit’s a little open-ended. You can start from scratch or add clover seeds to your already existing lawn. If you’ve got grass thatches in your lawn, you might want to rake them out.

“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

© Banderchenno/ Finally, the fun part. You’re like the flower girl at a wedding, except instead of throwing dying flowers around, you’re planting unborn ones.

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.

Water

© Osetrik/ Microclover doesn’t need much water once it’s growing strong, but baby microclovers could use a little extra love. For the first month or two, make sure the soil stays moist.

Keep off

Don’t step, walk your dog or throw a rave on the area until the clovers are a few inches tall. Once your lawn goes through a winter, it’ll officially be a grown up clover lawn. And don’t forget …

Maintain

© GoodMood Photo/ You don’t need to water microclover as much as grass, and don’t even think about using herbicide on it. You can add fertilizer if you want, but clover is pretty good at keeping itself fertilized, since it naturally pulls nutritious nitrogren out of the air.

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 …

Micro Clover Seed Pelleted

Description:

Trifolium repens var. Pipolina. More and more home owners are seeing the advantages of replacing lawn areas by incorporating micro clover seed. As a legume, micro clover fixes atmospheric nitrogen in nodes along its roots. This directly benefits grasses by fertilizing the soil naturally. Healthier grasses maintain a richer colour for longer in the season, and require less water and no further fertilizer whatsoever. Because clover grows so densely, it crowds out weeds, and prevents weed seeds from becoming established.

Contrary to what its name implies, Micro Clover is not simply a tiny version of standard clover. This variety demonstrates “vegetative elasticity,” which means that in response to repeated mowing, its growth form changes over time.

When micro clover is mowed, its leaves grow tiny and numerous, with fewer flowers than conventional clovers. It can be mowed shorter than typical lawn grasses, and it’s tough enough for children and pets to play on. Studies show that it also becomes established faster than grass seeds.

For homeowners whose lawns have been ruined by the predators of chafer beetle larvae, there is hope with micro clover! Eliminate the lawn altogether, and plant thickly with micro clover seeds. Adult chafer beetles are not attracted to legumes and will go elsewhere to lay their eggs.

Sow micro clover seeds between the period two weeks prior to your last frost date, and 4 weeks prior to your first average frost date. For the BC Lower Mainland, that is approximately March 15 to October 5. Micro Clover is hardy to Zone 3.

This seed is pelleted for easier distribution — the seeds can be seen more easily on the soil. FOR US CUSTOMERS: Please see Micro Clover Seed Raw.

Miniclover® White Clover Seeds For Clover Lawns

  • Great clover! grew really fast between my stepping stones…only regret is I should have bought more seed because they are out of it now.
  • I dont remember when I first heard about Outside Pride, but it has been a family tradition to get wildflower seed mixes from them every year so when I needed to reseed part of my lawn and decided to go with clover this time, Outside Pride caught my eye. The mini-clover seed germinated in three to five days and has hung in there despite the ground being on the dry side of dessicated, not ideal moisture conditions at all … and my Village DPW has banned lawn watering so all it gets is what I carry in a water-sprinkler can. If needed again in the coming Spring I will not hesitate to get more.
  • I have 5 large dogs and we had a bad winter. Between them they practically destroyed the yard. I decided to plant the mini clover and the yard looks better than it has in years.
  • I highly recommend this clover and look forward to not mowing next year.
  • I live in a condo with a small back yard comprised of just planting beds along a paver pathway and patio. I have small dogs I wanted to find a better substrate for them (besides mulch) plus I wanted some more green to “liven up” the patio. So I tried to grow grass – but no luck. After doing a search on grass alternatives I learned about Mini Clover and decided to give it a shot. Two weeks later it is filling in nicely with minimal care. It is not a full covering yet but everywhere I have scattered seed it is growing evenly (both heavily shaded and full sun areas). When I started no grass was left and I had raked the soil prior to scattering the mini clover seeds using the scott’s hand spreader (set on 1 smallest opening). Very pleased so far and I can’t wait for it to become more established. Definitely would order these seeds again from Outsidepride again.
  • I started off with just a big mud dirt pile for a back yard. I ordered these to cover the pathways I was making for my yard. They came in fast and lush. I had only bought one bag so was highly disappointed when i went to reorder some and they were out of stock.I bought some micro clovers instead of these to do another path, boy what a mistake that was. The mini clover grows faster fills in faster and yields far better then the micro. I was totally happy to see these get back in stock on amazon. ran off and bought three more bags.
  • Seeds sprouted up nicely despite not having perfect weather conditions. I made sure I wet down the area well and covered with plastic to keep them moist while under the sun and then protected from the sudden cold that showed up; and they all sprouted up and are growing and thriving. I signed up with the company’s website and received a coupon for 20% off ground covers and I am so impressed with this seed that I went ahead and purchased another 5 lbs. I have quite of bit of area I want to cover with this. I also checked on other mini clovers out there, Outside Pride has the most affordable seed.
  • I love love love this clover. I’ve been planting it for about a year now. Partly it’s mixed into my grass. This reduces the need for water and fertilizer. The biggest benefit is that it stays green with dog pee. Yay!! On the far side of my yard I’ve planted only clover between the pavers. It’s a much brighter, prettier green than the thyme I have in that area. It’s so easy to plant and maintain. Just a once a month mow or cut. Germinates quickly. I’m hoping to cover most of my backyard in clover where I used to have lawn to help California deal with drought. My friends mock me but I tell you I love my clover!
  • Sprouted in a couple of days after just throwing them on the ground.
  • Had sprouts within a week. Planted in December in southern California. Can’t wait to see them fully grown. Going to order more to replace grass in my backyard.
  • We live in SoCal and used this as a lawn substitute for the dry seasons here. It sprouted after 4 days and has grown lush after 4 weeks. We airated the yard with a Home Depot rental, seeded with a handheld spreader, and raked lightly. Once it grew in, we only needed to water once a week. Great value.
  • I received by package quickly. It was nicely packaged. I was able to overseed and get the clover to start sprouting in 7 says. It took 2 weeks of daily watering, but it is well established.
  • Re-seeding our rental backyard to fill in the holes in the grass. This stuff took off! We just threw it on the ground with literally zero prep and we have hard, compact clay. It grew! We are pretty happy! Uses less water than grass and needs less cutting! If you see clover in your yard at all, this stuff will probably grow. We live in the pacific northwest and so we barely have to water our lawns as it is but this will be a nice grass replacement when the drought sinks in.
  • Took really well in my yard last fall, stayed green through the winter and is thriving now. I have three chickens that are very destructive, I fenced them off for a month while it was coming in. Once I let them at it they tore up a section where the ground was really soft, but other than that it has held up really well against them and a dog. I haven’t seen the flowers yet, but I’m very happy.
  • Great little clover growing in with my fesuce grass. I planted it to add nitrogen into the soil. I did not want to add inorganic fertilizers and stinky organic manures to the grass as we love hanging out in the back yard. Will update as it matures and let you know if it helps the fescue be greener.
  • Great product, especially if you don’t want to use chemical fertilizers for your grass! This is actually how I found out about this product because it naturally produces nitrogen, which feeds the grass. We’ve used approximately 5 – 7 pounds on our lawn. This did a great job of filling in areas of our lawn where moss had taken over during a wet, warm winter, and now that we are coming to the end of a record hot summer here in the PNW, I can say that the miniclover has stood up really well! I think it’s good to mix the miniclover with grass–we have one area where we mixed grass seed with miniclover and used some compost as a base, and it grows so thick and fast–really amazing.
  • I planted miniclover to supplement my grass in the very poor soil of the back yard of my small apartment building. When neighbors set down searing hot bbq lids on the lawn, everything was burnt in a nice circle that matched the weber lid perfectly. The miniclover came back up within a few days and is the only vegetation in that circle, the grass still hasn’t come back two weeks later.
  • What can I say besides, WOW! I bought Mini Clovers to plant in my fairy garden and I couldn’t be happier with the current results! I planted these Saturday evening and by Friday (today) they are well established and growing like crazy, in less than a week. Everyone in my house is stunned by how fast they have grown and how they have turned out! I will be buying these again in the future for my fairy gardens! I highly recommend them to you if you are looking to buy! I couldn’t be more pleased!!
  • Seems to have germinated well, and does provide nice mini clover leaves. Even sprouted among the moss in one part of my “lawn” – hopefully it will take over there instead of the moss. Haven’t seen it flower yet.
  • Baby clovers are coming up! I hoed the dirt, watered, scattered the seeds, then covered with some wet grass clippings so the hot sun wouldn’t burn them. They’re all coming up. Looks good so far.
  • Fan freaking tastic….my yard is a beautiful blend of clover and grass now.
  • These white clovers are beautiful in your back yard.
  • I seeded right over my lawn about six months ago. The clover is coming in nicely and starting to replace the lawn. I love it! I am going to buy another bag to speed up the process!
  • Grew quickly and spread quickly through my lawn. Stays lowers than regular clover. It has reduced how often I mow, water and fertilize my lawn.
  • Love my Miniclover. It is the talk of the neighborhood!!!!!!!!! Pretty green, but I forgot that the rabbits would love it.
  • The seed are good value and great quality, sowed it and it came up strong!
  • Fantastic product
  • Grew quickly and really nice.
  • Not all of the seeds sprouted, but a majority did, and it filled in my yard nicely and with no effort. Looks great, I would buy it again.
  • I have a yard where I have been trying to grow grass for 10 years. I have tried everything. But now that a couple of weeks have passed I see clover growth. the clover heads are very small indeed and they mix well with the tufts of grass I have here and there. I love that it returns nitrogen back to the soil so I hope to be able to plant some grass in there next year.
  • After checking out all of the reviews, we decided to go ahead and purchase the seed. We bought the least amount just in case. We are very happy with the clover. With the first planting, we watered every day for 2 weeks. The seed was spouting within one week. After two weeks we backed off on the daily waterings. By then most of the seed had germinated and we had a good sprouting coming up. We did notice a few bare spots which were attributed to seed run off or misses in the seeding so we reseeded those spots. Again, we watered — or nature rained — everyday for a couple of weeks. The seeds sprouted very well. Now that we are in the fall rainy season, we are letting Mother Nature take care of the watering.
  • I ordered the seed and spread it according to the directions it came with, and almost immediately had clover sprouting. Great quality product,
  • I’ve spread these on our lawn as a nitrogen-feeding no-mow method in lieu of the usual non-native grass lawn. These grew to about the same height as the matted clover we see around on various lawns, and it looks great.
  • Planted these in a big field (cleared 52 trees) to make space for my daughter’s wedding reception. As stated in the instructions, the seeds need to stay wet for two weeks or so to fully germinate. That’s been the only challenge. In areas that didn’t get enough water (more sun?) they had to be sown again. But the ones coming up are cute and just what was needed. I’m looking forward to not having to mow it, too.
  • After nearly two years my clovers are still going strong.
  • Growing profusely!
  • This stuff starts to grow within 24 hours. We’re in 7b grow zone and have started to seed our entire yard with this stuff.
  • Have bought several of the little beauties any my grass is green…..completely….for the first time in 38 years!

Promoting clover as an eco-friendly lawn alternative

Overseeding clover seed into your existing lawn is an easy way to establish a clover lawn.

Choose Clover Type

There are many types of clover , the most widely cultivated are White and Red Clover. Large, high producing varieties are used for livestock forage. For lawns, the most popular is Dutch White Clover (Trifolium repens) because it is relatively low growing, tolerates close mowing, and out competes other foreign weeds.

One clover seed company, Earth Turf, has an Overseed Clover Mix with a new type of clover called MicroClover, which is the smallest clover variety available and blends really well into lawns. It is mixed with highly drought tolerant grasses that will further help the lawn. 5lbs covers 1000 sq ft.

Prep

The clover needs room to establish, so cut the lawn at the lowest mower setting, then use a thatch rake or rent a power dethatcher to remove thatch and thin the lawn.

Spread The Clover Seed

Spread by hand for small areas and use a broadcast spreader for large areas. If spreading pure clover seed, not mixed with grass seed, you may want to mix the seed with some sand or compost first to help spread more evenly.

Water

The soil needs to remain moist for good germination, so if it doesn’t rain, water everyday for the first two weeks. Water more if its hot out. The clover will sprout in 7-10 days.

I want to talk, again, about lawn alternatives.

I hate to beat the proverbial dead horse, but I’m going to keep hammering away at this topic until I see some change. See one of my previous articles about alternative lawns. You can also type ‘lawn’ into the search function of this website to see other articles I’ve written advocating that we change our mindset about what lawn is.

These are changing times. Perhaps all times are changing ones, but recently, many parts of the country are faced with severe drought. Traditional lawn turf requires huge amounts of water (and fertilizer) to stay green. I realize we (the people) desire green lawns. We (the people) get disgruntled and defensive at the suggestion that we need to remove our precious turf grass lawns, because we LIKE them, and we WANT them.

Well, know what? Mother Nature, with all due respect, doesn’t care what we like and want. She has her own ways, and she allows stuff to succeed or fail at her own whim. If we orchestrate our landscapes in tune with her rules and rhythms, we not only will have a good outcome, but we’ll be preserving resources and returning rain / storm water to the watershed in more pristine condition. We just need to change some of our preconceived notions about landscaping and lawn.

Microclover® and Miniclover®

In previous posts, I have mentioned alternative lawn seed blends: Pro Time Lawn Seed and Fleur de Lawn®. Today, I want to add microclover and miniclover. They are both variations of Trifolium repens (Dutch White Clover). For a great introduction of what this stuff is, watch this video from Ohio State University Extension. Here is a source for miniclover seeds which is where to buy, but also gives a lot of great information about the clover’s benefits. Fleur de Lawn includes microclover in it’s blend.

From what I can see, both products are pretty much the same. Micro may have slightly tinier leaves. Frequency of mowing affects leaf size, too. They both tolerate wetter and dryer soil conditions as well as a good deal of shade. You might remember one of my previous lawn posts noting that there were no weeds (or clover) in the shady section of my lawn. It would be great to get some clover going in shady areas, reducing the need to fertilize. And for those of you who still haven’t embraced moss in their lawn, these clovers would help avoid that.

Wear tolerance is said to be better than for turf grass lawns.

These clovers take care of themselves, easing the amount of maintenance and expense normally thrown at traditional lawns. Clover’s roots penetrate deeply reducing or eliminating the need for aeration. As with other legumes, these clovers fix nitrogen from the air into the soil so there is no need for additional fertilizer once established. Note that if your soil is deficient in P or K, you’ll have to add that. And with nitrogen continually available, some turf grass diseases that arise from low N levels are eliminated. That means less use of pesticides, and healthier watershed.

What about cost? Well, yes, it will cost to renovate your current lawn over to clover or one of the eco-lawns. But once the new lawn is established, you will have much less maintenance cost because of less need for water, fertilizer, pesticide, and even less mowing frequency. Wouldn’t you like to save your money and time for other things and have a green ‘lawn’ at the same time?

And clover is evergreen in our climate. Imagine not having to water (much or at all) in the our dry summertime. Your neighbors will praise your commitment to the environment, and they will envy your green lawn. 🙂 Of course the choice is yours. Keep your traditional lawn. Or open your mind and learn the new principles that make our gardens and landscapes kinder to the planet.

Update!!!

Please read the update about high temperature intolerance of mini and micro clovers.

PT 799 Microclover® *limited availability this season

Application Rate: 1 lb per 1000 sq ft, 1/4 lb per 250 sq ft

Introduce a nitrogen-fixing legume to your lawn with this genetically dwarf clover. Years of natural selection have resulted in a clover small in stature with an even growth habit that makes an ideal addition to grass lawns. This perennial clover remains greener much longer than grasses in both drought and cold conditions. It has good summer color and is particularly resistant to drought because of its deep rooting system.
Two of our most popular mixes for new lawns and overseeding existing lawns—PT 769 R&R Eco-Turf and PT 767 Dog Park—contain premium grasses and Microclover®. Premium grass varieties and clovers work together to form a thick, dense turf that prevents new weeds from establishing. These lawns are self-fertilizing and require fewer inputs like water and your time.

Nitrogen-fixing clover is the backbone to many of our eco-lawn mixes. For the past 50 years, clover has been considered a lawn weed, but before that it was an important component in fine lawns—and for good reason. Clover is drought-tolerant, virtually immune to diseases and distasteful to common turf insects. Clovers generate their own food by fixing nitrogen in the soil and they are a favorite of bees and other beneficial pollinators when they are allowed to bloom.
Not to be confused with miniclover or micro clover, Microclover®, Trifolium repens var Pipolina ssp Microclover, is adapted to a wide range of climatic and soil conditions; it is already growing successfully all around the world.
In order to achieve the look of a lawn, Microclover® requires regular mowing. For an eco-friendly lawn, maintain at 3-4 inches to shade the soil surface and retain moisture. Microclover’s unique dense stolon structure does allow it to tolerate as low as a ½ inch mowing height, if desired. The shorter the mow, the smaller the leaves.
Our Microclover is coated with a natural inoculant that ensures nitrogen fixation.
Features & Benefits: drought tolerant, wear tolerant, shade tolerant, cold tolerant, tolerates low mowing
Germination: 10 to 14 days under ideal conditions

Recommended planting zones: see map

In dry years lawns turn straw-coloured, in wet ones they go soggy and muddy. They demand weedkillers, fertilisers and lashings of water. Come autumn, you need to scarify, aerate, top dress and overseed. Had enough? Consider the alternatives.

Clover and micro-clover
Clover once caused gardeners to grunt and reach for the weedkiller. But tiny-leaved micro-clover is the miracle lawn ingredient for the lazy. Grown among lawn grasses, it smothers weeds and maintains the lawn’s green. Its root nodules supply nitrogen to the grass, like a constant drip-feed. It is an ingredient in Johnsons Easy Lawn (widely available). Even less work would be a whole lawn of a short-growing, white-flowering clover; try ‘White Nanouk’ from Suffolk Herbs (suffolkherbs.com). Its attractiveness to bees and other insects, while good for biodiversity, is not much fun for the unwary barefoot child.

Eco-lawns and meadows
“No-mow” and “eco” lawns are blends of fine, slow-growing fescue grasses that are mowed once a month, if at all. Left to grow, and just raked occasionally, they fold over themselves in soft waves, quite different from a normal lawn. They are best for shadier areas without too much foot traffic. Such seed mixes are available only in Canada and the US, but their ingredients are close to mixes used for golf roughs – ask the local course if it has any to spare. Boston Seeds (bostonseeds.co.uk) has the Ecosward low-maintenance environmental mix with clover, which is a close approximation, but available only in wholesale amounts.

Meadows must be left unmown for much of the year, and are a particularly good replacement for areas that are not often walked on, such as front gardens. In back gardens, you can still sow a meadow if you regularly mow a path through it. Boston Seeds (as before) has a flowering lawn mix, and try Pictorial Meadows (pictorialmeadows.co.uk) for beautiful themed colour mixes.

A mat of creeping thyme will thrive in less busy areas. Photograph: Marianne Majerus

Ground cover
Another alternative for areas that aren’t regularly walked on. Creeping thymes and camomile (non-flowering ‘Treneague’ is best) make excellent lawns for well-drained sunny spots, but will not tolerate regular traffic. In shadier places, tiny creeping mints such as Mentha requienii will do the same low-growing, pungent job. Glossy, green mind-your-own-business Soleirolia soleirolii is another one for your shady and damp parts, but it is invasive, so grow it only in contained spaces where it has no hope of escaping. Moss is usually seen as a problem, but it can be magical ground cover. Where it grows naturally, encourage it by keeping free of weeds and watering in dry weather.

Bark chippings/gravel/rubber chippings
Bark chippings and gravel create a weed-free area that can be walked over and planted into. Bark chippings lend themselves to shady, woodland situations, and gravel to sun-baked. Lay a good quality weed-suppressing membrane first. Wackier gardeners might use colourful rubber chippings (dunweedin.co.uk), but these are best saved for play areas.

Fake turf
It’s come a long way from the sea of sharp, Kermit-green bristles. Those at the luxury end (see thegrassfactory.com and artificiallawn.co.uk) are made from soft, long and luxurious fibres, and are springy and even two-toned to make them look more realistic.

From a distance, you’d be hard pressed to distinguish them from the real thing. All they require is an occasional brush-over to clear them of leaves, and a flawless, bland, maintenance-free garden is all yours. In fact, why not go the whole soulless hog and opt for outdoor carpet (kccarpets.co.uk)? Water drains freely from its nonslip surface and it comes in a wide range of colours, including two shades of brown, in case you ever get nostalgic for a muddy, imperfect lawn.

Design the mower out of your life
If your entire garden is a bleak expanse of lawn, then you’re really getting only what you deserve. You probably have tufty bits by walls and hedges, too, because you cannot get the mower to reach them.

Make the lawn smaller and easier to negotiate. Round off corners. Create large, sweeping borders. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Make a mowing strip of bricks that your mower can just roll over. Turn awkward or tucked-away areas into pond, bog garden or patio. You and your mower will glide around your slimmed-down curves in minutes.

How to Grow Microclover

How to grow a microclover lawn

Getting your microclover lawn established isn’t a difficult process, but it does take some careful planning. There are two main questions to ask yourself before you begin:

  1. Will you start a new micro clover lawn or seed into an existing lawn?
  2. Will you sow your seed at 100% or mix with other plants for a blended look?

New lawn vs. overseeding

If you plan to seed micro clover into an existing lawn, be sure to mow close to the soil surface and aerate first. This will introduce air, water, and nutrients into the soil and give your seed a better chance of taking hold. Because clover seed is so fine, it passes between blades of grass quite effectively, but sow 25% more seed than you would a bare lawn to account for those that don’t penetrate to the soil level. Seed with a thin coating of soil and sand to improve germination rates, rake lightly, and press. The sowing rate for an existing lawn is 1.5 pounds for 10,000 square feet.

Purchase 100% microclover seed.

When planting a new lawn with micro clover, prepare the top 4 to 6 inches of your soil by tilling and adding compost. Lime where necessary, since microclover does best with a pH of 6 to 7. Rake to ensure a fine, even surface, then seed using a seed spreader, reserving some seed to fill in any gaps that develop after germination. Water regularly to ensure your soil doesn’t dry out. Wait a week after seeding before fertilizing with organic, pelletized chicken manure. This will give your seeds a chance to germinate and avoid giving the weeds a head start. The sowing rate for a new lawn is 1 to 2 pounds for 1,000 square feet.

Blended lawns vs. straight microclover

A 100% microclover lawn is a thing of beauty, but as noted above, the seed can be costly for larger areas. In some locations, microclover goes dormant in the winter and won’t retain its lush look year round, so blending with other plants can extend your lawn’s green look.

Portland landscaper, Max Floyd of Earth, Water & Wood, recommends mixing micro clover with dwarf fescues for an easy care option. Other seeds recommended for blending with microclover include:

  • Fine fescues
  • Tall fescues
  • Dwarf perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass

Check with your local extension office to see which specific grasses are recommended in your area. Purchasing a pre-mixed blend is another option and is particularly economical if you’re seeding a smaller area. Lawn trials show that mixes of 5 to 10% microclover will maintain the benefits of a clover lawn and keep weeds at bay.

Purchase a pre-mixed microclover lawn blend.

Coated or uncoated seed?

Microclover seed is available as coated and uncoated seed. Coated seeds contain the essential bacteria that clover needs to effectively fix nitrogen. In many cases, these bacteria are already present in the soil and coated seed isn’t necessary, but if your soil is sterile, has never grown nitrogen-fixing plants before, or you just want to give your clover a jumpstart, consider using seed coated with the bacteria known as Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar. Trifoli.

Related: How to Establish a Clover Lawn

What Is Microclover – Tips For Microclover Care In Lawns

Microclover (Trifolium repens var. Pirouette) is a plant, and as the name describes, it is a type of small clover. Compared to white clover, a common part of lawns in the past, microclover has smaller leaves, grows lower to the ground, and doesn’t grow in clumps. It is becoming a more common addition to lawns and gardens, and after learning a little more microclover information, you may want it in your yard too.

What is Microclover?

Microclover is a clover plant, which means it belongs to the genus of plants called Trifolium. Like all other clovers, microclover is a legume. This means it fixes nitrogen, taking nitrogen from the air and, with the assistance of bacteria in root nodules, converts it into a form that is usable by plants.

Growing a microclover lawn, one that has a mix of grass and clover, adds nitrogen to the soil and reduces the need for fertilizer.

Growing a Microclover Lawn

White clover was often used in lawn seed mixes because as a legume it added nitrogen to enrich the soil, making grass grow better. Eventually, though, broadleaf herbicides used to kill weeds in lawns ended up killing white clover. Another downside to this type of clover is that it tends to form clumps in a lawn.

Microclover, on the other hand, mixes better with grass seed, has a lower growth habit, and doesn’t grow in clumps. Enriching the soil without the need for fertilizer is a major reason to grow a microclover lawn.

How to Grow a Microclover Lawn

The secret to growing a microclover lawn is that you mix the clover and the grass rather than having all grass or all clover. This gives you the look and feel of grass without a need to use much fertilizer. The grass thrives, thanks to the nitrogen from the clover. A typical mix used for a microclover lawn is five to ten percent clover seed by weight.

Microclover care is not much different from regular lawn care. Like grass, it will go dormant in the winter and grow back in the spring. It can tolerate some heat and drought, but should be watered during extreme heat and dryness. A microclover-grass lawn should be mowed to about 3 to 3.5 inches (8 to 9 cm.) and no shorter.

Be aware that microclover will produce flowers in the spring and summer. If you don’t like the look of it, a mowing will remove the flowers. As a bonus, though, the flowers will attract bees to your lawn, nature’s pollinators. Of course, this may be an issue if you have children or bee allergies in the family, so keep that in mind.

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