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Why Clover Lawns Are Environmentally Friendly

Clover lawns provide many benefits over grass lawns—they have a higher tolerance to droughts and nitrogen fixation, and don’t require synthetic fertilizers to stay green. In fact, similar to aquaponics units, clover lawns are able to feed themselves, converting nitrogen from the air into usable nitrogen fertilizer. It is helpful that clover lawns absorb nitrogen because excess nitrogen in the atmosphere can produce pollutants such as ammonia and ozone, which can impair our ability to breathe, limit visibility, and have a negative effect on plant growth.


Driving Question

  • Is turf grass the best plant for lawns?

Probing Questions

  • As you see images of both clover lawns and grass lawns, what are some observations you can make?
  • What are some of the things required to help take care of a grass lawn?
  • If you could have a “perfect” lawn, what are some of the characteristics you think it would have?

Classroom Suggestions

Students could:

  • Grow a patch of clover lawn and a patch of grass lawn with students to see the difference in their growth rates and color.
  • Allow students a brainstorming period to identify the differences between the clover lawn and grass lawn, and have students illustrate differences they noticed.
  • After watching this video, have students fold a paper in half and illustrate one side as the sky and one side as the ground. Have a class discussion to identify the pros and cons of nitrogen in the sky versus the ground

Relevant Related Resources

  • Midwest Gardening: This resource is beneficial because it focuses on the Midwest, making it highly relatable for Iowa students. This site provides a long list of benefits that can be provided by clover lawns, while being honest enough to include some possible drawbacks. The primary focus of this site is what steps need to be taken to set up an effective clover yard.
  • EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency): The source describes the benefits and disadvantages of high levels of nitrogen in the air, water, and earth. This will help students gain a better understanding of the effects clovers lawns can have.
  • Clover As a Grass Turf Replacement for Lawns: 2 minute video explaining why it is beneficial to have clover lawns replace grass lawns.

Iowa Core Alignment


Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs

Credit Info

Phenomena submitted by Jack Bevans

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