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Thousands of biological, chemical and physical elements above and below ground make up the particular ecosystem called your yard. These players will do most of the nutrient recycling, water conservation, and pest control for you, if you let them. Use of synthetic chemicals can suppress these natural processes. An example of this is white clover.
Once considered an attractive and necessary component of healthy turf, clover helps to deliver the essential nutrient nitrogen to enrich the growth of grass. Clover does this without dominating grass because it is easily managed with mowing: mow at 2” to favor clover, 3” to favor grass. It also stays greener during drought, so makes the lawn look better for longer without water. Plus, white clover has no serious pests. The advent of herbicides made it possible to selectively eliminate all non-grass plants, and clover, though not a weed, suffered collateral damage. Ultimately, it fell out of fashion, became classified a weed and turned into an annoyance. Ecosystem-minded land managers, though, realize that clover helps turf and reduces a lawn’s water and nitrogen needs. This simple plant can save the organic homeowner hundreds of dollars each year in material and labor costs, conserve water, and reduce nitrogen contamination of nearby streams, ponds and coastal bays.