So I work and work on my lawn all spring pop out every dandelion week by hand. Fertilize with an all natural pet and people safe fertilizer. Cut my grass about every ten days and my lawn is covered with clovers and clover flowers? My flower beds are gorgeous and my grass looks like crap...what am I doing wrong?
David, I tried to get a close up look of your lawn/grass. It look irregular to me, meaning there are weak spots. Try not to concentrate too much about weed killers, work on making the lawn lush and healthy like Heather and Doug suggested. Weeds like clover will take advantage of the weak areas in your lawn. Nitrogen will help the health and growth of the grass leaving less space for weeds. Be persistent! You'll have success. In the mean time, try to pull our as much as you can if it's possible, quite the chore!
It's just how clover spreads, it isn't anything you're doing wrong! Clover has to be completely eradicated or it will continue to grow & spread. You just have to carefully lift up the shoots all the way back to the main roots, then dig out the root like you would a dandelion root. Unless you use sprays, weed spray will kill it. Be careful of all the "oh just use vinegar" suggestions, they don't tell you that vinegar will kill EVERYTHING, grass included!
David, You might want to try a few things this in late fall so in the spring you can have that beautiful lawn. First, use a thatch rake and remove any dead and dying plant material, especially the clover. Second aerate your ground, this can be done with a pair of those shoes that look like they have nails on the bottom, or by a roller with the prongs on it, or if you can you can even till the soil up removing all the old grass and dead material. Then water well once before the ground is too cold to make sure the ground is absorbing it and not just running off. You want the water to penetrate deep in the ground. Add a top soil if necessary and nutrients. Then try using a winter grass seed, one that is unhulled is preferred. You can put this down before or just after the first snow, but I prefer before because it is in direct contact with the ground. Make sure you put enough of the seed down, then add a light layer of manure on it. In the spring as the snow thaws and melts the seed will start to germinate and root deep into the ground. After the snow has all gone you want to remember to water it a few times a day to keep it moist until it has taken hold. Even down the line in Detroit, watering is important as it does get hot and humid there (yes, I personally know...). Don't do it in the middle of the day, do it in the early morning and evenings. Then after it has grown, it is very important that you are not mowing it too short. Mowing a lawn too short is a death sentence. You need at least a height of 4" to keep the roots moist and healthy. I know this seems long, but have you seen the neighbors lawns? You can bet that most of them that have nice lawns have a good amount of height to them. You can then add more grass seed in any areas that seem a little thin to boost it up. The thicker the grass, the better the roots, the less like weeds will come thru. Fertilize as necessary. In the next fall you will want to throw down a little more seed before the snow again. It should be protected by the grass that is already there this time.
Clover in your lawn is a really good good thing. I actually threw some clover seeds on my lawn years ago, so some would grow in the lawn. It is a natural way to supply nitrogen to the lawn. Plus, you don't want to just have grasses growing in your lawn - any "monoculture", i.e., growing only one type of plant, is not good as a disease or pest can cause tremendous damage. Having more than one thing growing in your lawn actually makes it healthier!
Nothing! Clover is a nitrogen fixer meaning it pulls nitrogen right out of the air to fertilizer your lawn! Scott brand fertilizer created the myth of clover being a weed after its synthetic fertilizers (new at the time) started killing clover in everyone's lawn upsetting the homeowners in the process. People of that generation added clover seed to their lawns because of the benefits. I encourage you to go natural and add clover. You wont have a perfectly manicured lawn but nature will thank you and so will I!