The Luck of the Irish? All About Clover in Your Lawn

clover

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! It’s the time where Irish heritage is the way to be, and symbols like four-leaf clovers and rainbows (with pots o’gold at the end) are in fashion, and, don’t get us started on green beer! But for many homeowners, finding clovers in the lawn can leave them confused at best and frustrated at worst. As we embark on the most-Irish of holidays, let’s unpack the truth about the clover and its effect on your lawn. Is it a lucky find in your yard, or an intruder that must go?

Clover Basics

Why are Clovers Symbolic of St. Patrick’s Day? – The Shamrock can be translated from Gaelic to “little clover.” It has three leaves that, as lore states, St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity, as well as faith, hope, and love. The four-leafed clover became known as lucky simply because they are rare.

What’s the Most Common Type of Clover? – White Dutch is the most commonly found clover in lawns. Clover is of the genus Trifolium, which has about 300 species of flowering plants in the legume or pea family.

Why is Clover in My Lawn? – There are a variety of reasons that you might have the luck of finding clovers in your lawn, including:

  • Imbalance in the soil’s pH
  • Nutrient deficiencies, especially nitrogen
  • Grass that has been cut too short
  • Poorly watered grass
  • Compacted soil due to organic matter

How Do I Get Rid of Clover? – The way to control clover growth in the lawn is to mow and water regularly, as well as apply fertilizers that combat the growth of clovers.

The Cons of Clover

  • Messy Clover is more staining than grass. For those who have kids playing in the lawn, this could be a consideration. Plus, not everyone enjoys the look of clover in their regular turf grass.
  • Not good for High Traffic Areas Clovers are less durable than grass. Clover must be mixed with grass to be strong enough for playing fields or high traffic areas.
  • May Require Reseeding Reseeding every four to five years may be required to maintain an even clover cover in your lawn, unless it’s mixed with grass.

The Pros of Clover

There are, however, some reasons why you may consider keeping and controlling clover in your lawn, rather than eliminating it altogether.

  • Attracts & Supports Bees Clovers are an important nectar source for insects that pollinate, including bees. The global bee population is decreasing at an alarming rate, and any support of the ecosystem that helps them thrive, which can have an extremely important impact on our shared environment.
  • Good for Soil Clover can add significant improvements to the fertility and health of your lawn’s soil. Clovers act as a natural fertilizing agent by transferring nitrogen compounds from the atmosphere into the soil.

If you need help with your lawn care and controlling where clover may be popping up, Spring-Green is standing by to help. Our services include fertilization, irrigation, lawn care and maintenance, weed control, and more. Our services include fertilization and weed control programs, tree and shrub care programs, core aeration and more. Contact Spring-Green today.

Fall Lawn Care: Our Top 5 Tips

frost on lawn in the fall

It’s that time of year again… time for some fall lawn care to-dos. The leaves are dropping, the air is getting colder and it is time to start putting your lawn and landscape to bed for the winter. In northern Illinois, we’ve already had frost form in some low-lying areas. Can you believe it? I also got word from a franchise owner in northern Wisconsin that they’ve already gotten a hard frost in his area. Brr… I hope this winter isn’t as cold and horrible as the last one! Regardless of what Mother Nature brings us, following these top fall yard care tips will ensure your lawn weathers the winter in preparation for a healthy, green spring.

Fall Lawn Care Tip #1 – Leaves

For those of you in the north, dealing with leaves is the biggest challenge you face in the fall. There are numerous articles, including a recent blog post by yours truly, that explain it’s better to mulch your leaves than spend all the time and effort to rake them. I still remove leaves from the flower beds and gardens at my home.

Fall Lawn Care Tip #2 – Core Aeration

Another good fall activity for your lawn is core aeration. Fall is the best time for active root and rhizome growth in cool-season grasses. Aeration opens up the lawn to allow for better water, oxygen and nutrient penetration into the root zone. Roots will continue to develop as long as the soil temperatures are ideal for growth. Outside of fertilizing your lawn, core aeration is one of the best practices to ensure a healthy lawn.

Fall Lawn Care Tip #3 – Fall Fertilization

Fall is an excellent time to fertilize your lawn. You may not see any top growth, but the fertilizer will be stored by the plant as carbohydrates. This will allow for an earlier green-up next spring and will aid in root development, especially if the lawn has been aerated prior to applying the fertilizer.

Fall Lawn Care Tip #4 – To Mow or Not to Mow!

We used to say that you should mow your lawn short for the winter. University research has started to show us that this isn’t necessary anymore. The idea isn’t to just stop mowing and let your lawn grow 6 inches high, but you don’t need to scalp it either. A good rule of thumb is to drop the mowing height by one or two notches on your mower for your last few cuts. Just remember to raise it back up to the highest or second highest setting next spring.

Fall Lawn Care Tip #5 – Give Your Mower Some TLC

Now is the perfect time to service your lawn mower so it’s in perfect running shape for next spring! To start, it’s a great idea to take a hose to it and wash off the top. Cleaning the underside of the deck is also a good idea. Take the mower blade off and have it sharpened over the winter. Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank or run it until all the gas is used up. Changing the oil and cleaning the air filter can also be completed in the fall. Doing these things now will mean that your lawn mower is ready to go next spring.

Need a little help with your fall lawn and landscape care? Spring-Green has been giving homeowners extra time and peace of mind since 1977. Contact us to see what we can do for your yard!

Mulching Leaves: Why Mowing Is Better Than Raking

Leaves Covering a Backyard

Let me start this post with a fact: I hate raking leaves.

Being a homeowner with several large trees on my property and in neighboring properties, I always looked upon fall with anger and loathing as I knew I had to rake up all those leaves that came dancing down this time of year. The amount is consistently extensive… one day I wake up to find a sea of leaves where my once beautiful lawn resided! I always tell people that I have the world’s largest Silver Maple. Its diameter is 4 feet! If I’m being realistic, it most likely is NOT the world’s largest… but we don’t have to tell anyone else that!

The Silver Maple is truly huge and beautiful and provides excellent shade during the summer. In the fall, every one of those beautiful shade-casting leaves drops onto my lawn causing such a mess. I used to spend hours raking up all the leaves, putting them in plastic bags so that they could be shipped off to the local landfill. As time went on, laws changed and I had to put the leaves in a special paper bag so that the yard waste could be taken to the local recycling center. Not only did I have to buy special bags, but each bag had to have a sticker attached to it and each sticker cost about $1.75. I would easily fill thirty or forty of the special yard waste bags each fall. Such an expense!

Then, about five years ago, I attended a turf conference that changed my fall yard duties forever! The speaking professor said that there was really no reason to rake up all those leaves. Just mulch them up with your mower and they will decompose over the winter. His advice about mulching leaves was one of those AH-HA moments we occasionally have in our life, and I felt a renewed desire to like fall again.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about mulching leaves, especially when the layer of mulched leaves in certain sections of my lawn reached about 6 inches in depth. I thought that the grass underneath would be suffocated by the thick layer of leaves, but I figured the professor would not lead me astray and waited to see what happened to my beautiful lawn the following spring.

I live in the Chicagoland area, and winters can be brutal to say the least. It can be bone-chilling cold, it can be cloudy for weeks at a time, and the snow can range in depth from a couple of inches to several feet. It may not seem like the best weather to encourage the decomposition of organic matter. I was pleasantly surprised the following spring to see that the layers of leaves were gone and my lawn looked fine. In fact it seemed greener and grew better the following year!

Hopefully, you figured out the lesson here – you don’t have to rake your leaves, just mulch them. Of course, there are always exceptions. If a tree or shrub on your property suffered from a leaf disease, it is advisable to rake up and dispose of those leaves. Diseases like apple scab, powdery mildew, bacterial leaf scorch and tar spot on maples will leave behind spores on the leaves that can re-infect your trees if they are left on the lawn.
Fall is a great time of year and you should enjoy it, not spend every weekend raking leaves.

Mulching leaves is pretty easy, but there are other projects you should leave to the professionals for a healthy, weed-free lawn. Ready to get started with your customized lawn care plan? Talk to your local franchise owner today!