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Out of both, necessity (weed invasion) and inspiration (by Photo Friday) – I share with you my love-hate relationship with clover, Trifolium sp., and an unanticipated discovery. First – Love. Snapped this photo with trusty iPhone on a recent walk home after work. It captures the calm and decompression and the fresh young summer smell, shown as the purple sunlight. Love!

Other reasons to love clover:

  • Great company when you are stuck out in right field during a tee-ball game
  • Some may experience healing powers (I am NOT endorsing this nor doing a literature evaluation) with red clover
  • Trifolium incarnatum or Crimson clover (yes, of Sunny and Cher fame) is a farming powerhouse, tremendous cover crop that restores nitrogen to the soil
  • Can make for a great lawn if the right kind of clover, otherwise, see the hate section
  • Support healthy livestock by providing good forage in quantity and quality and fighting out fescue
  • Might even reduce livestock methane production by 10% (a (lame) special genetic variation that is less burp inducing, because you know that cow burps are burning through the ozone)
  • Can be woven into great crowns
  • Provides a never ending search for the mystery and fortune of a four leafed version (or dare we look for 5!): a leaf for fame, wealth, a faithful lover and glorious health.

The darker side of clover….. I despise the dark green and almost reddish-colored clover with yellow flowers that grows all over. This stuff is nasty, with an unground web of roots that are nearly impossible to pull up intact. Why would I wage such war on the beautiful gift-giving plant? It’s aggressive and messing up the ground cover we are growing in between our pavers out front. Yes, purely superficial. It single handedly destroyed the scotch moss that was there and it trying to over throw the current plant (but only on the weakened “periphery”), which I believe to be Brass Buttons.

Actually, this weed is called black medic (not clover, Medicago lupulina), but I still going to hate on it. Hrmppff.

The best ways to get rid of it is just pulling it up, preferable before it goes to seed. Round-up® will kill it and Preen can help prevent it, along with smothering it with compost. Yes, I am admitting to using RoundUp, most definitely in moderation, not near food plants and surrounded in controversy (albeit more about large scale applications – I dare you to search Monsanto). Another driving factor – the clover had managed to set up shop all around the irrigation system and I didn’t want to damage it with my shovel. Oooooh, wise water usage meets maybe toxic weed spray.

Today my weapons are my hands and the weed killer. At my side is my trusty steed, Snail. I’ll try Preen later as it started raining on me and I was hungry for lunch. Snail ended up guarding the yard waste bin when we were all done.

Hate:

  • Apparently some farms are growing genetically modified clovers to only have 4 leafs (creepy)
  • Black clover infiltrates with surroundings
  • Copiously seeds it spawns
  • Isn’t even a pretty weed and gives crimson clover a bad name
  • Just won’t leave us alone…..
  • Pulling it up damages surrounding plants and is like performing exploratory surgery to find its roots (which are reddish, a good thing)

Don’t judge a book by its clover!

(because it might not really be a clover)

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