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The environmental benefits of clover lawns, according to experts

While homeowners typically try to remove all weeds from their yards, clover lawns and other pollinator-friendly options are becoming more popular across the country.

YORK, Pa. — Homeowners typically spend this time of the year refreshing their yards and killing any weeds that start to pop up. 

However, letting these weeds grow freely in your yard might just be better for local pollinators and the environment. Some people in the US are even converting their lawns to purely clover lawns.

It's a trend that's recently popped up on social media apps such as TikTok. But are clover lawns something that could be a viable option in Central Pennsylvania? 

Tim Abbey, a Commercial Horticulture Educator at Penn State Extension, says yes.

“I don’t really see a drawback other than you’ll just have to get over the fact that it’s growing in your yard and it might look weedy," he tells FOX43. "But up until the 50s, clover in lawns was a common thing. People sort of saw it as part of that ecosystem.”

Experts call it a pollinator friendly lawn, and while Abbey hasn’t seen anyone fully convert their yards to 100% clover, he has seen the online trends of people doing so. He says it would help our local pollinators.

“It’s trying to provide them with supplemental food that they’re losing and by incorporating either clover into a lawn or putting in some pollinating plants, whether they’re herbaceous perennials or woody plants, you’re basically giving them food so that they can carry on," he says.

Clover can be cut just the same as your normal grass and actually fares better than grass does, especially in times of drought according to Abbey.

“It does not require the inputs of water that our cool season turf grasses do like during dry summers, which we had last year. Clover stays green. It’s a nitrogen fixture. So it has little nodules on the root system that will actually generate nitrogen, so it does not need to be fertilized.”

Clover can also block out other weeds from growing in your yard.

If you’re worried about pests becoming a problem due to increased clover, Abbey says it’s no problem at all. Ticks do not prefer low cut lawns, regardless of clover or not, as it's too hot and dry.

Abbey says that people don't need to go out and fully transform their yard from grass to clover. If you're looking to be more environmentally friendly in your landscaping, you can add more native perennials or let your weeds grow freely in your yard.

You can also find clover mixed in with grass and other types of turf online and at your local hardware store. 

Download the FOX43 app here.

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