OK guys be doing more reading on here trying to learn more and it has brought up another question for me.
I actually enjoy gardening. I like planting I like working in a veggie garden I find that kind of work a nice therapeutic break from the tediousness of my everyday work. However, I Loath mowing grass and I hate trimming with the weedeater even more. When I am forced to mow, I mow with such a vengeance that the grass does its best to grow slow for fear of another butt whoopin.
I can't do much about my front yard because I live in one of those neighborhoods where all the neighbors (except me) mow their grass all the same direction. My backyard is a different story. I would love to find a low to the ground grass replacement that I hardly ever had to mow. I have heard clover mentioned several times and that excites me because my yard is an older yard and is about 40% white clover already.
Is there a way to encourage the clover to completely take over the grass?
ive done exactly as you hope to do. Each year i let the grass grow to seed, then manually pull all the stalks before the seed is ready. They come up very easily and the grass is weak from putting out all that seed. The perennial white clover seeds soon after and makes huge incursions into the grass. Ive done this for two years and am happy with the results vs effort. Last time the clover flowered i counted avg of 4 wild bees per sqyare metre over a 20sqm patch of clover. The clover survives moderate traffic from toddlers, dogs, and 100kg gardeners. In the heavy clay shady front yard Ive transitionef from grass to wild strawberries using the same method.
I think if you just keep your mower blades raised to something like 3 or 4 inches (maybe higher?) other more interesting things will start showing up besides grass.
In my yard the chocolate mint has headed into the grass - hopefully it will take over and it is heavenly to mow - the scent is intoxicating. Also have violets showing up everywhere and, of course, dandelions. But the dandelions are slow going because I keep eating them in my area of the yard and the turkeys are eating them in thier area.
Will buying a bag of clover seed and spreading it on the yard help?
I am afraid to let the grass go to seed because I do live in one of those neighborhoods and if the neighbors complain about the grass not being mowed the city sends a crew to mow it and send you a bill for $150. Ya, ask me how I know that.
I have some large 16 x 20 tarps. Could I smother out large areas with about three of these tarps and once the grass and everything else that needs sunlight is dead I can reseed and straw it then move over to another patch. Would that cause any problems in my yard?
Clover is a supporting plant for grass, as it fixes nitrogen in your soil and competes with other weed. Notice how grass that surrounds patches of clover in your lawn is much greener and faster growing? It also stays green long after grass has gone dormant during hot and dry spells.
You can influence the ratio of clover to grass in your lawn. Clover naturally favours a nitrogen-deficient soil and grass is a nitrogen pig. Therefore, the more clover you have, the better your grass will grow. Clover will self-seed where conditions favour it, but generally grass will out-compete it long-term. Without annual re-seeding clover will slowly die back to a sporadic cover as it creates conditions that favour grass. If you want a lawn that favours grass, mow high and and the grass will gradually take the lead. If you want to lawn that favours clover, cut shorter and re-seed white clover every spring. Clover germinates earlier, and this sets back the grass creating conditions that favour clover.
I've used clover to restore lawns I've inherited that have been mistreated by chemicals and poor irrigation practices (light/daily irrigation). The clover quickly filled in the bare spots, outcompeting more noxious weeds. Combined with a mulching lawnmower, it will create plenty of organic matter to improve soil structure and nitrogen to create an environment capable of supporting grass. Encourage clover and you'll have a healthier lawn than one without it.
I have some in my lawn but I am not sure that it would grow in your area. When I first learned what it was I was still 'into' grass monocrop lawns and was trying to get rid of it. Someone in California let me know that there are people there that pay a lot of money to get a dichondra lawn - and here mine is coming up all over the place.
I don't worry about it anymore. Maybe it will outcompete my centipede - I hope so.
I am busting my lawn up into little patches of clover here, millet over there, a little oats, vetch, fescue, buckwheat..whatever tickles me at the moment...largely, I am just dupilicating seed, but I am also raising some as fodder, green manure, chicken feed, etc...
A flower bed full of flowering buckwheat does not have to be mowed...lol...
Im also currently trying to diversify my lawn with clover. In the backyard, I am growing straight white clover in the barren spots. Same in the front, but I also heavily overseeded what grass there is. It takes more water to germinate than regular grass it seems. Where I grew up on the east coast, clover is part of the lawn. Seems strange out here in CO that people want a pure, and single strain lawn.