Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

It’s not a weed; it’s bee food!

Field of clover
A clover-filled lawn helps the bees and also the soil. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

White clover adds nectar, nitrogen to lawns

In my lawn, everything’s coming up clover, and that’s a good thing.

Most turf weed killers target clover; its distinctive leaves stand out in a world of single blades. But clover brings some benefits to that turf space that grasses can’t: Food for bees and nitrogen for the soil.

White clover ( Trifolium ) flowers profusely, supplying pollen and nectar to bees. Honeybees love it. White clover actually is a source of popular clover honey. Low-growing Dutch and New Zealand white clover are most popular for lawn use; both varieties blend well with turfgrasses.

Typical turfgrasses provide no such food source to bees. Instead, the monoculture of fescue or bluegrass does little to support beneficial insects. So, clover is a definite plus from the bee perspective.

In addition, clover can thrive in poor soil with less water and tolerates drought better than most turfgrasses. The reason? Clover is a nitrogen-fixing plant, meaning it can supply its own nutrients – and less additional fertilizer is needed.

Clover grows more slowly than turfgrasses, and needs less mowing. It also can grow in shade where grasses often struggle and stays green almost year round.

As a perennial, clover may die back in winter, but re-emerges quickly in spring. One reason clover is so difficult to remove from a lawn: It has deep and hardy roots. That same trait makes it a survivor.

Clover may be a solution for spots where other lawns refuse to grow – or sunny turf spaces, too.

Clover needs less water, less fertilizer, less mowing while helping bees and staying green. That’s not a weed; that’s a useful plant.

And I feel lucky to have a clover-filled lawn.


0 comments have been posted.

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Local News

Ad for California Local

Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

Contact Us

Send us a gardening question, a post suggestion or information about an upcoming event.