Clover is an affordable cover plant in many gardens, which some homeowners decide to plant in their gardens instead of turfgrass. This iconic plant not only looks dense and appealing but also carries symbols of luck and superstition. Plus, because of its nitrogen-fixing qualities, which allows nearby plants to feet on nitrogen, it is also called “green manure.”
Taking care of this plant is relatively easy. Clover is tolerant to drought conditions and will bring nutrients to your soil without needing fertilization. Also, in contrast with other types of grass, clover doesn’t require regular watering.
This versatile plant is perfect for homeowners that don’t have much time to take care of their lawn or for those looking for ways to prepare their soil for new plants. You can even add clover to other turfs to create a fuller lawn and ensure year-round greenery.
If this plant seems something your garden would benefit from, knowing when to plant clover in Illinois will help you create a lush garden, attract beneficial pollinators, and increase the nutrient content of your soil.
Indeed, while easy to grow, clover will perform much better when planted at the right time of the year. To find out more about it, keep reading this essential guide that we put together for you. You’ll learn the answer to your question and much more.
When To Plant Clover in Illinois?
Illinois has a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. In this area, you should plant clover in the spring about two weeks after the last frost and when temperatures go above 40F at night.
For even better results, consider planting it between April to May to allow the seeds to take water from spring rains. Otherwise, you can seed clover in the summer or autumn (but no later than six weeks before the first frost), as long as you commit to irrigating the area frequently. Clover seeds will germinate within two weeks under proper conditions (more on that later).
This plant does better with some hours of direct sunlight, but it will adapt to partial shade if not given a choice. Illinois falls under USDA hardiness zones between 5 and 7. White and red clover are perennials in this area, which you may want to consider if you are planting this species as turf.
How You Can Plant Clover
You can plant clover either as a garden cover or as turf. Clover adds nutrients to the soil, contributes to moisture retention, and keeps weeds and diseases at bay. To plant clover as a garden cover, you’ll have to place it between rows of vegetables through the growing cycle of your plants. Doing so will ensure maximum nutrient content and protection.
Clover does well when mixed with other types of grass seed. This plant will grow even in shady areas ad poorly drained soil, filling up possible empty spaces in your turf. Also, it won’t need as much water as other grasses and will remain brilliant green even in the dry months of summer. Their invasive quality makes them fall under the”weeds” category in some states.
However, with proper care, clover will be the perfect addition to your lawn, especially if you like it to look dense and full. If you are mixing clover with lawn grass seeds, add them to a ratio of 1:10 of the total seed weight. The best part about adding clover is that you won’t need to fertilize, as this plant will meet all of the grass’s nutrient requirements.
While you won’t need to pay too much attention to clover once planted, regardless of why you decide to add it in your yard, for it to thrive, you’ll have to meet its growing conditions. This plant needs pH levels between 6.0 and 7.0 to thrive. Test your soil conditions with a pH meter: if the pH is low, you can add some limestone or mix some elemental sulfur to raise it.
When To Plant Clover in Illinois?: Conclusion
Don’t forget that this plant can quickly grow and spread: you may have to increase mowing frequency if you plant it as a turf. Also, don’t use herbicides or other substances on your clover: it won’t survive. Additionally, clover will flower only after one year from planting.
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