You’re tired of constantly mowing, fertilizing, and watering your grass lawn, so you’re thinking of switching to a clover lawn. Fans say clover lawns are much more low maintenance, and better for the environment to boot. But can you really go without mowing a clover lawn?
No, you don’t have to mow a clover lawn, but there are benefits to doing so!
A new clover lawn benefits from mowing after its first flowers go to seed. A mowed clover lawn looks more like a traditional lawn. Micro-clover needs to be mowed 3 to 4 times a year to stay micro; otherwise, it reverts to Dutch White. Mowing can deadhead spent flowers, or deter bees if needed due to small children or bee allergies.
Do You Have to Mow a Clover Lawn?
The short answer: no, you don’t need to mow your clover lawn. Dutch White Clover only grows between 2 to 8 inches. The standard cool-season lawn is cut to 3 inches in the spring/fall and 4 inches in the summer.
However, there’s a few situations where you could benefit from mowing your clover lawn.
If you started a new clover lawn:
A clover lawn benefits from being mowed at least once after its first flower. Wait until the clover reaches 3 to 4 inches and the flowers have gone to seed before moving. If you started your lawn in the spring, this will probably be about mid-summer. Mowing encourages clover to grow more roots (aiding in drought tolerance) and grow denser (aiding in a thick lawn that chokes out weeds). The seeds will drop to the ground, where they can start new clover plants.
If you have micro-clover:
Micro Clover seems like a perfect no-mow lawn since it only grows between 2 to 4 inches, which is on par with turfgrasses. However, you do actually need to mow your micro clover lawn. If you don’t, it’ll revert back to Dutch White Clover within a few years. Mowing keeps the leaves small. Fortunately, you’ll only need to mow a few times a year and not every week.
If you have bee allergies or young kids:
For many, attracting bees is one advantage of a clover lawn. Bees love clover flowers, and clover flowers turn a food pollinator desert into a buffet.
But if you or someone in your household has a bee allergy and they use the lawn, then regularly mowing to remove flowers will keep bees from being underfoot. If they don’t use the lawn, there shouldn’t be a problem as bees are unlikely to sting when left alone. The main danger is accidentally stepping on bees when they’re harvesting pollen.
You may also want to remove flowers if you have young kids who play on the lawn. You can teach them to look before stepping on clover flowers, but toddlers often run without thinking or looking where they’re stepping. It may be safer to just remove the flowers, at least until they’re older. Bees prefer sun for foraging, so playing on overcast days or in the evening can help your little ones avoid bees, too.
Planting Microclover instead of White Dutch also helps with bees. Micro Clover produces fewer flowers, so while you still need to mow, you won’t need to mow as often.
If you need your lawn to blend in with grass lawns:
So you know the benefits of a clover lawn, but your neighbors may not be so keen on the idea.
Or you may belong to a Homeowners Association (HOA) that will fine you if you don’t keep your lawn clipped to a certain height.
Or perhaps you or someone in your household still loves the look of a traditional turfgrass lawn.
Natural lawns can look like you’re not taking care of your lawn. While a little education can help, keeping your clover lawn mowed can help ease neighbor tensions. Fortunately, you’ll only need to do this a few times a year instead of weekly.
To refresh a clover lawn:
By mid-summer, those beautiful clover blooms may be dying off. A midsummer mow will deadhead old blooms and get your lawn ready for another flush of blooms.
What Should You Do With Clover Clippings?
When mowing your clover lawn, you can leave clover clippings where they fall. They’ll decompose back into the soil. However, if the clover is too wet and sticks together to smother your clover lawn, then gather up the clumps for the compost bin. Using a bag when mowing can help you skip the gathering step.
Clover is susceptible to clumping when it’s too wet. The clover leaves can be just too good at trapping moisture. You can fix some causes but not others. If you’re watering too much or too often, then cut back. Wait longer after rain before mowing to give the clover more time to dry out.
But it might also be too humid or too much rainfall, which you can’t really help. Keeping your clover lawn mowed shorter will help it dry out faster since there’s less leaves trapping the moisture.
How Often Do You Have To Mow A Clover Lawn
White Clover grows short, only growing between 2 to 8 inches tall. At most, you’d only need to mow your lawn 3 to 4 times a year. (That’s a lot less than the weekly mowing a fast-growing turfgrass lawn needs.)
At the least, mow it to a height of 2 inches during the mid-season to give your clover lawn a reset. This will deadhead old blooms, encouraging the clover to bloom again, and will take off some old, more ragged leaves for a fresh lawn.
If you need to get rid of flowerheads, you may need to mow weekly. Micro Clover has fewer flowerheads, and will give you more time in between mowing.
You don’t have to mow a clover lawn. But there’s a few situations where an occasional mowing is best, like if you have a newly established lawn, or need to deter bee stings, deadhead old blooms, fit in with grass lawns, and keep micro-clover small.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.