Zoysia Grass Vs. Clover: Choosing The Best Option

Quick Answer: Choosing between zoysia grass and clover depends on your specific needs and preferences. Zoysia grass is known for its lush, dense, and durable nature, making it a popular choice for lawns. It requires more maintenance and water, but it can handle heavy foot traffic and resist weeds. On the other hand, clover is a low-maintenance alternative that requires less water and fertilizer. It is also more resistant to drought and can attract pollinators like bees. However, clover may not withstand heavy wear and tear as well as zoysia grass. Ultimately, the decision comes down to factors like climate, desired appearance, foot traffic, and eco-friendliness.

Introduction: Are you in the process of choosing the ideal ground cover for your lawn but finding yourself torn between zoysia grass and clover? It’s not an easy decision, as both options offer unique benefits and considerations. While zoysia grass is known for its lush appearance and durability, clover provides a low-maintenance and eco-friendly alternative. Making the right choice requires understanding the characteristics and requirements of each type, as well as considering your specific needs and preferences. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the zoysia grass vs clover debate, exploring the pros and cons, maintenance requirements, and ecological impact of both options. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which ground cover is the best fit for your lawn. So, let’s get started!

Zoysia Grass vs. Clover: Choosing the Best Option

Zoysia Grass vs Clover: Which One is Right for Your Lawn?


Choosing the right type of grass for your lawn can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s important to understand the characteristics and benefits of each type. In this article, we will compare two popular choices: zoysia grass and clover. While zoysia grass is known for its lush appearance and durability, clover offers a unique set of advantages. By evaluating factors such as maintenance, aesthetics, and environmental impact, you can make an informed decision about which option is best suited for your lawn.

Zoysia Grass

Appearance and Aesthetics

Zoysia grass is prized for its lush and vibrant appearance. It has a dense growth pattern, which gives it a carpet-like feel underfoot. The blades of zoysia grass are fine-textured and soft, creating a visually pleasing and comfortable lawn. Its rich green color adds a touch of elegance to any landscape.

Durability and Resilience

One of the key advantages of zoysia grass is its ability to withstand heavy foot traffic and recover quickly from damage. It has a deep root system that helps it survive drought conditions, making it an ideal choice for regions with hot and dry climates. Zoysia grass also has excellent disease and pest resistance, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and chemical treatments.


While zoysia grass requires less maintenance compared to other grass types, it still needs regular care to thrive. Here are some key maintenance aspects to consider:

  • Mowing: Zoysia grass grows slowly, requiring less frequent mowing. Typically, it needs to be mowed every 7-10 days during its peak growing season.
  • Watering: This grass is drought-tolerant once established, but still requires regular watering to maintain its health and color. Deep and infrequent watering is recommended to encourage deep root growth.
  • Fertilization: Zoysia grass benefits from regular fertilization to promote healthy growth. Applying a slow-release nitrogen-based fertilizer in late spring and early summer is recommended.
  • Weed Control: While zoysia grass has good weed resistance, it’s important to monitor and control weeds to maintain the quality of the lawn. Pre-emergent herbicides can be used to prevent weed growth before it becomes a problem.
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Appearance and Aesthetics

Clover, often considered a weed by some, has gained popularity as a deliberate choice for lawns. It has distinctive three-leaf clover-shaped leaves, which add a unique texture and visual interest to the landscape. Clover blooms with small white or pink flowers, attracting bees and other pollinators. Many people find the presence of clover charming and nostalgic.

Low Maintenance

One of the most significant advantages of clover is its low maintenance requirements. Here’s why:

  • Mowing: Clover grows lower to the ground compared to traditional grass, reducing the need for frequent mowing. It maintains a neat appearance even when left uncut.
  • Watering: Clover has deep roots, enabling it to access water from lower soil depths. As a result, it is more drought-tolerant and requires less watering.
  • Fertilization: Unlike grass, clover is a nitrogen-fixing plant. It has a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that convert atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form for the plant. This reduces the need for additional fertilization.
  • Weed Control: Clover is an excellent competitor against weeds, suffocating them with its dense growth. Its ability to naturally suppress weed growth reduces the need for herbicides.

Environmental Benefits

Clover offers several environmental benefits, making it an environmentally friendly choice for lawns:

  • Pollinator-Friendly: The small flowers of clover attract bees and other beneficial insects, aiding in pollination and supporting biodiversity.
  • Reduced Chemical Usage: The ability of clover to suppress weed growth and its low fertilizer requirements contribute to a significant reduction in the use of herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, minimizing the environmental impact.
  • Nitrogen Fixation: Clover’s nitrogen-fixing capabilities improve the soil’s nutrient content, reducing the need for additional fertilizers and supporting better overall soil health.

Choosing the Right Option

When deciding between zoysia grass and clover for your lawn, consider the following factors:

Climate and Conditions

  • Zoysia Grass: Zoysia grass thrives in warm climates and can withstand heat and drought conditions. It is not suitable for areas with cold winters.
  • Clover: Clover is more adaptable and can grow in various climates, including both warm and cool regions. It is known for its ability to tolerate shade and is resistant to cold temperatures.

Intended Use

  • Zoysia Grass: If your lawn experiences heavy foot traffic or you have pets and children, zoysia grass’s resilience and durability make it a suitable choice.
  • Clover: Clover is an excellent option for low-traffic areas and those seeking a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly lawn.
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Aesthetics and Personal Preference

  • Zoysia Grass: If you prefer a traditional, lush green lawn with a carpet-like appearance, zoysia grass is likely the better choice for you.
  • Clover: If you appreciate a more natural and varied lawn with the added benefit of attracting pollinators, clover may be the right option for you.

When it comes to choosing between zoysia grass and clover for your lawn, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each option offers unique benefits and considerations. Zoysia grass provides a lush, dense, and resilient lawn but requires more maintenance. Clover, on the other hand, offers a low-maintenance and environmentally friendly alternative with its nitrogen-fixing capabilities and ability to attract pollinators. Consider your climate, intended use, and personal preferences to make an informed decision. Remember, there is no right or wrong choice – it’s about finding the perfect fit for your lawn and lifestyle.

Whether you opt for the lush beauty of zoysia grass or the low-maintenance charm of clover, your lawn will surely showcase your commitment to creating a beautiful outdoor space. So, go ahead and make a choice that suits your needs, and enjoy the green carpet beneath your feet!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between zoysia grass and clover?

Zoysia grass and clover are both popular options for lawns, but they differ in several key aspects. Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass known for its durability, ability to withstand heavy traffic, and tolerance to drought and hot climates. On the other hand, clover is a cool-season legume that is often added to grass mixes for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, promote healthier turf, and provide a natural source of fertilizer. While zoysia grass forms a dense, carpet-like lawn, clover has a more relaxed growth habit with its characteristic three-lobed leaves and small white or pink flowers.

Which one requires less maintenance: zoysia grass or clover?

Zoysia grass generally requires less maintenance compared to clover. Once established, zoysia grass forms a dense turf that helps prevent weed growth and reduces the need for frequent mowing. It has a slower growth rate, meaning less frequent mowing is required. Clover, on the other hand, tends to grow faster and may require more frequent mowing to keep it at the desired height. Additionally, zoysia grass is known for its natural resistance to many diseases and pests, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Can zoysia grass and clover be grown together?

Yes, zoysia grass and clover can be grown together. In fact, many lawn owners choose to include clover in their zoysia grass lawns to benefit from its nitrogen-fixing properties and its ability to improve soil health. Clover can help reduce the need for additional fertilizers and promote a greener and healthier lawn. However, it’s important to note that clover may not thrive as well in the dense shade that can be created by a fully established zoysia grass lawn, so it is advisable to ensure adequate sunlight reaches the clover.

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Which grass is better for high foot traffic areas: zoysia grass or clover?

Zoysia grass is generally considered better for high foot traffic areas compared to clover. Its dense growth habit, deep roots, and ability to quickly recover from damage make it more resistant to heavy use. Zoysia grass can withstand the wear and tear caused by children, pets, and frequent activities better than clover. However, if the goal is to have a lawn that is both durable and requires less maintenance, a combination of zoysia grass and clover can be an excellent choice.

Which grass is more tolerant of drought: zoysia grass or clover?

Zoysia grass has a higher tolerance for drought compared to clover. Its deep root system allows it to access water stored deeper in the soil, making it more resilient during dry periods. Zoysia grass also has good drought recovery capabilities, meaning it can bounce back quickly once water becomes available again. While clover can tolerate some dry conditions, it is generally less drought-tolerant than zoysia grass and may require additional watering during extended dry spells.

Can zoysia grass and clover coexist in the same lawn without one overtaking the other?

There is a possibility that one grass type may eventually dominate the other if zoysia grass and clover are grown together in the same lawn. Zoysia grass is known for its aggressive growth and dense mat-like characteristics, which can overpower clover and limit its growth. To maintain a balance, regular mowing and monitoring may be necessary to prevent one grass type from taking over the entire lawn. Alternatively, some homeowners choose to create separate areas for zoysia grass and clover to allow each to thrive independently.

Final Thoughts

In the battle between zoysia grass and clover, both options have their advantages and drawbacks. Zoysia grass is known for its durability and ability to withstand heavy foot traffic, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas such as sports fields. Clover, on the other hand, has the benefit of being low-maintenance and environmentally friendly, as it requires less water and fertilizer.

If you’re looking for a lush, green lawn that can handle heavy use, zoysia grass may be the better option for you. However, if you prefer a more natural and low-maintenance alternative, clover can provide a green ground cover that requires less upkeep. Ultimately, the choice between zoysia grass and clover will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize durability or sustainability, both options offer unique benefits that can enhance your outdoor space. So, when it comes to choosing between zoysia grass vs clover, consider what will work best for your lawn and lifestyle.