What Is Microclover – Tips For Microclover Care In Lawns

By Mary Ellen Ellis

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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