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Going Green: Think about clover for your lawn

By AMANDA WHEELER

Community columnist

When you look out at the lawn what do you see? When I look out at mine I see some grass, brown spots, bare spots and some “weeds”. I think that it’s time to re-think our lawns. 

The whole idea of a lawn needing to be a pristine sea of green grass just sounds crazy to me. The concept was brought over from Europe where lawns were a status symbol and only the wealthy had them. So why on earth do we still have this idea that lawns have to only be green grass that is cut short? Who is that for? 

It looks pretty, but I think there are lots of things that would look prettier. And the idea that anything that isn’t grass is a weed? There are plenty of native flowers and plants that could grow in your lawn instead of grass, these would look pretty and be better for the wildlife in your yard.

Instead of grass you could plant ground cover. There are many kinds of ground cover that are native to Kentucky and are easy to manage. Some are even flowering types of ground cover that the local pollinators would enjoy. So why is it that we only grow grass? 

I’ve recently been looking into adding clover to my lawn. It seems like a great native substitute for grass and you still get that green look with the added bonus that it is beneficial for pollinators, doesn’t require much maintenance and can be a snack for rabbits. 

Some of the pros for going with a grass alternative like clover are that it doesn’t need mowing as often, this is a win-win because the reduced amount of mowing means you are burning fewer fossil fuels. It’s often more drought resistant, so during a dry spell your clover could still be looking green even if your neighbor’s grass has turned brown. Don’t even get me started on how much of a waste it is to water your lawn in the first place.

There is a challenge right now called “No Mow May” in which people are encouraged to not mow their lawns for the month of May. If you have already mowed this month, don’t fret you can always still join the effort. While there are some downsides to this movement because you don’t want your lawn to get out of control, I think the pros outweigh the cons for the most part. 

Not mowing your lawn would be great for pollinators like bees, even if you just skipped a mow or two. If you skip a couple of mowing sessions you will probably find a few native wildflowers popping up in your yard. We don’t mow our yard super low and we try to let it grow out some before we mow it again so we have seen lots of native wildflowers coming up this spring. If everyone let their grass grow a little longer, the bees would be a little happier and we would burn a little less fossil fuel. 

If you have to keep your grass cut short you can still help pollinators in your yard by creating a pollinator garden. Just set aside a portion of your yard to be a garden for bees and butterflies. You can grow native flowers for them and not only will you not have to mow that portion of your grass anymore which saves time, money and fossil fuels, but it is beneficial for wildlife too. 

Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week:

American robins are one of the first birds to lay eggs in the spring and will lay between three and five eggs. The baby birds learn to fly about two weeks after they hatch.

https://pixabay.com/photos/birds-american-robin-nature-wild-1501517/