I am going to try some new things with our lawn this year. The yard is a mix of dry hot sunny areas and deep shade. The soil gets compacted very fast. I’m thinking of aerating and sodding the backyard, which is mostly deep shade and the grass gradually peters out there a few years after sodding. I resod every 3-4 years and seed spring and fall the 2nd and 3rd years.

For the front yard, which is sunny and the grass does pretty well, I’d like to try over seeding with Dutch White clover. I read the clover will supply 1/3 of the nitrogen needs of the grass. And the bees will like the flowers. Dutch White is a low growing 1-6 inch clover. I am looking forward to trying this.

Interesting – if you google “lawn clover” the first entry is how to grow clover in the lawn, the second is how to get rid of it ….

15 Comments. Leave new

  • About 3 years ago I mixed some dutch white clover into my lawn (in Medford) and I love it! Last year one of my neighbors asked if I could give them some tips on how to get a green lawn like ours, and I had to tell him my secret… I don't do anything to it; all the clover mixed in just makes everything look lush and healthy!

    Unfortunately, the neighbor wasn't into the idea of "tainting" his yard. His loss!

  • My grandfather was a farmer and he always added clover to his lawn. Now I know why!

  • Clover is lovely. And you can encourage the moss in the shady spots.

  • We have a lot of clover growing in our lawn. My husband considers it a weed. Same with violets. To him, anything other than grass is a weed. He cares way more about his lawn than I ever would. But he lets me be particular about my garden/ flower beds, so I allow his to care about the lawn.

    I'm so glad I found your blog. I live in Marlborough now, but was in Belmont for 3 years. I never knew things could be as planted as early as you do. Guess I've always been one of those people who gets the plants in the ground on Memorial Day weekend.

  • Clover in the lawn definitely has to be a preference – some people like it, a lot don't and think they've got to do something to get rid of it. Just depends on what you like. 🙂 Plant and Garden Blog

  • Clover is such a great bee food, I have to second your idea. 🙂 But I wouldn't encourage wild violets if you live in a picky neighborhood. We have a backyard full, and I love them, but their forms don't visually read like grass, so I do understand why Chris' husband views them as a weed.

  • I've used a lawn service for the past 3 or 4 years and so have not had anything but grass (and chemicals) in my tiny lawn. This year I will do my own lawn care again. I'm still hoping I actually have the time for this.

    Before lawn care, I had clover that volunteered in the sunny front yard, and violets that volunteered in the back yard. I'd pull the crabgrass and chickweed.

    My parents always have a beautiful lawn with big volunteer patches of violets, ajuga, and clover that my dad mows around while they are blooming.

    Luckily I don't live in a picky neighborhood and certainly no one will complain about moving toward a more natural look.

  • We put down clover years ago, I like that it stays green when the grass is going brown.

  • Marian(LondonUK)
    April 9, 2010 7:30 PM

    Hi and hey our grass is the host for three huge patches of violets this year. They are so pretty, it is ready for it's first 2010 mow, so will have to mow around the violet fields. I couldn't possibly cut their heads off!!
    You are so organised, I hang my head in shame!!

    Marian (LondonUK)

  • The clover sounds nice and the nitrogen would be good too. It is pretty crazy the chemicals that have been used on lawns in the past and present. We have tried a few different things to keep the lawn off drugs. Its been aerating, then had compost & seed spread over the lawn and racked in. I also cut near the highest setting which shades out weeds and conserves water. Both have worked well.

  • I live in eastern Massachusetts. Rabbits will sometimes feed on the clover in my lawn,especially in early spring,leaving my vegetable garden alone. When that doesn't work I throw some dried blood around in the vegetable garden. The combination of the two approaches has turned out to be a good IPM for rabbits!


  • I like a clover-y lawn. But be careful not to step on the bees, if you go barefoot! Ow.

  • That is so interesting! Hopefully it will succeed. You really do like planting. eh?

  • I throw some white clover seed out on the lawn most every year. I buy a couple of small packets from Gardeners Supply. I think it's excellent.

    Right now my lawn has clover, white and purple violets, and yellow dandelions in bloom.

    The clover does tend to disappear over winter (and come back in the spring) so you can get bare patches if there isn't any grass there for some reason. I have a couple of places like that where some machinery went through and compacted things and I just got around to fixing it.

    The organic fertilizer guy does his thing twice a summer, and the lawn does well without any watering or additional care except mowing.

    Why does your lawn get compacted? Kids running around on it? If the shade is that dense, I'm wondering if you could save yourself some work by replacing the grass with something else you can walk on.

    Years ago bags of grass seed used to come with clover in it.

  • No kids on the lawn, but we do walk on it a lot. I'm hoping to put in a stone path this year that will take some traffic off the grass. But I think also the soil is a type that is easily compacted.

    I like to look of grass in the yard. What else can you walk on besides grass?


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