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A Different Shade of Green

Miniclover is a trending grass alternative

May 2024

Miniclover requires significantly less water than traditional grass to thrive. (Photos Courtesy Outsidepride.com)

story courtesy of Family Features

If you’re looking to renovate your yard, there’s a sustainable, drought-tolerant alternative to high-maintenance, water-guzzling grass that, as a bonus, also reduces your environmental footprint.

‘Miniclover’ (Trifolium repens) is about one-third to one-half the size of white Dutch clover, only grows 4-6 inches and produces a thick, carpet-like look that blends well with turf,” says Troy Hake, president and owner of Outsidepride.com. “It’s less expensive than grass seed and a natural solution for self-sustaining, low-maintenance lawns that look beautiful and help eliminate the need for fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and weekly mowing. We sold out of it for the past two years, even with a two-fold increase in production. You can’t go wrong with it.”

Wondering why grass gets a bad rap? The truth is that higher summer temperatures have altered the natural pattern of droughts, making them more frequent, longer and more severe. Grass lawns, however, are not sustainable; they’re the most maintenance-intense part of yards, requiring regular fertilization, mowing and heavy irrigation to look good.

Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated at almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day. Plus, gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment release more than 30 million tons of carbon emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory.

In some regions, there are continuous, strict regulations on watering lawns or bans on the use of drinking water for irrigating grass.

As concerns about water scarcity intensify, some homeowners are looking for landscaping solutions that minimize water use and reduce environmental impact. A standout in this regard, Miniclover requires significantly less water than traditional grass to thrive. It’s drought-tolerant and has longer, deeper roots than grass, reaching into the soil for needed moisture, requiring minimal watering, staying greener longer, and showing more resiliency during periods of drought or water restrictions.

It takes nitrogen from the air, “fixing” it in the soil and eliminating the need for fertilizer or nitrogen plant food because it does the work for you, keeping grass green and growing while adding natural nitrogen to surrounding soil.

Grubs won’t eat it and bugs won’t lay eggs in it. It stands up to compacted soil, plus it’s immune to “dog patches.” It fills in bare spots fast and tolerates wet conditions. Mow as little as you like — the more it’s cut, the smaller the leaf size — or simply let it grow close to the ground, like grass. It blooms only once in summer with small, delicate flowers, which provide bees with nectar or, if preferred, mowing prevents blooming. It withstands foot traffic, making it ideal for pathways and play areas, and its tolerance for shade makes it suitable for areas with limited sunlight.

For homeowners looking to reclaim weekends and minimize time and effort spent on lawn care, Miniclover seems like a dream. It lives up to its hype, offering the winning combination of environmental sustainability, very low maintenance, drought tolerance, aesthetic appeal and cost efficiency that benefits not only homeowners’ properties, but planet Earth as well.