Update: Dutch White Clover Lawn trial

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by cindys, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Happy New Year all -

    This is an update to the thread below:
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=25467&highlight=lawn+alternatives

    In that thread, you will see a photo of the clover lawn planted almost 2 years ago that I took last summer, when it was just over a year old. Looks great, eh? Well, I have to tell you that it doesn't look so great now (early January). Last year, due to the heavy snow cover, I never saw the clover lawn in winter. This year, with no snow cover, it really doesn't look good at all.

    As I mentioned in the very first post I made, this is a pretty shady area. The rye grass lawn that had been planted there had been almost entirely taken over by moss and weeds. Before planting the clover lawn, I had the whole area stripped and added new soil and sand. I was pretty happy with the results this past summer...it looked great, required almost no maintenance (a bit of weeding now and then) and provided the dog with a nice place to "go".

    The moss looks pretty nice now...I might try letting it have its way and see if I can get a moss lawn going. I would consider some kind of hardscape but already have quite a lot of that. I also have more perennial garden than I can handle!

    In addition to the backyard shady area, it may become necessary to get rid of the front lawn, as Kerrisdale seems to have succumbed to the chafer beetle (it was only a matter of time). So far, our lawn is untouched, but the lawn next door has had a bit of damage and there is one lawn across the street that has been totally destroyed. I suppose I could extend the planting beds all the way to the sidewalk, but would love to hear other alternatives. The front lawn gets more sun than the back...but I would say it barely gets 6 hours of full sun (we have horse chestnuts as street trees, which I love for the cooling effect to the house).
     
  2. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

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    It was worth the try. I like white clover mixed with lawn grasses, also various species violets, english daisies, and some birdsfoot trefoil. These grow and bloom at different times adding whimsy to the lawn. The moss problem I'd fix gradually by applying dolomitic limestone 2 times a year for several years in a row to sweeten the PH. But even the moss has its midwinter niche in the PNW. One caution of a flowering yard is that bees will be among the flowers and barefoot kids can step on a nectaring bee and get stung. . . just once. After that they watch out for the bees :)
     
  3. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    That mix sounds so nice...wouldn't work in my shady backyard, though. As for lime...too much trouble. I would rather find something that actually works for the conditions that I have. We used to lime the lawn, but it didn't really help all that much in that area.

    The area in question is a real problem one. A few years ago, we did a major home renovation. Before the reno, we had lawn in more of the backyard. I say lawn, but actually it was a mix of moss and buttercup weed with a tiny bit of grass. After the reno was finished, we redid the backyard. Because of all the machinery that had been in this part of the yard, the soil was a mess. So, lots of soil amendment was done. The buttercup seems to have disappeared (at least there), but the moss has returned. I guess if the moss doesn't work out, I will put more hardscape there and lots of potted plants.
     
  4. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Re: Update to the Update: Dutch White Clover Lawn trial

    As you know, if you have been reading my tale of woe re the shady patch I am dealing with, lawn didn't work, clover didn't work and moss seemed to be the answer, but my husband hated it. I want to tell you that I have found what I think is the perfect solution - a chequered moss garden like the one at the Zen Garden in Tofuku-Ji Temple

    Recently, I attended a lecture on Japanese gardens and slides from this temple garden were shown. When I saw them I had an "ah ha" moment! I will use 16" sq. concrete pavers to make the chequerboard pattern and the moss that already is in the area. It will be a bit of work, but it is perfect (I hope). Will take photos when the project is finished.
     
  5. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Re: Update to the Update: Dutch White Clover Lawn trial

    And here is a picture of the finished product! Of course, the moss will have to fill in but that will happen...all the moss you see came from this same patch of ground.
     

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  6. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

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    A most excellent and creative solution. I love it.
     
  7. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    That is just gorgeous. Good job working within the microclimate you have.
    keke
     
  8. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Thanks to you both....it IS pretty nice. The only problem I am having now is keeping the crows at bay. They seem to think it is really fun to swoop down, toss the moss about and peck at the ground for worms and such! I do have a cat but she is getting on in years and no match for a pack (murder?) of crows.

    Cindy
     
  9. Emmaji

    Emmaji Member

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    I want to grow moss for my lawn but have been concerned that the chafer bugs are still in the ground after we removed the destroyed lawn. When I dig a bit, I always find those grubs even though there is no lawn.
    So I assume the crows & raccoons will dig up the moss, too.
    Anyone find this happening to your moss?
     
  10. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    As mentioned in another thread, most of the damaged lawns in my area actually have an abundance of moss mixed in with the grass. This probably makes it easier for animals to dig up the beetle larvae. So, if there are grubs still present in your soil, there is a chance that they will be dug up. However, since they do not eat moss, beetle larvae should soon disappear; and the problem should lessen.
     
    Emmaji likes this.

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