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Clover to replace turf?


rexall

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Tue 2 May 2017, 11:05 am

ForumMates,

I have been watching helplessly as my lawn dies a little bit more each year.  Amazing that it has lasted as long as it has.  It has come back every year after the rains.  However, after this drought (Khon Kaen),  large sections of gone to dirt and are unlikely to be reborn!   :sad:

I would be happy to have an alternative to turf, it's high-maintenance and uses an obscene amount of water.  However, all the really interesting alternatives  I see on the internet are big projects and involve money and effort that I don't have.

HOWEVER, I read that clover (particularly Dutch White Clover) is a good alternative, especially for lawns that don't get a lot of foot traffic.  The seed is dirt cheap (Hehehe...) and (relatively) easy to grow from what I understand.  It is hardy, low-maintenance, doesn't require as much water as turf.  In fact, the reason I thought of it is because little bits of wild clover appear spontaneously and don't seem to be effected by the drought.

ANYWAY:  Anyone familiar with this alternative?  Seeds available in Thailand?  Any other suggestions?

Thanks, lah!

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As a former agriculture industry worker, clover is often used to enrich the soil, after a mature crop is plowed under it adds nitrogen and is often used in off cycles to get the ground ready for planting food crops.

 

It would work as long as you are not allergic to bees as it will attract a lot. Smells nice when blooming too.

 

Have you considered xeriscaping ? That is landscaping with low water requirement plants and stones and other features that practically maintain themselves ? After years of maintaining lawns and raking leaves, I will NEVER plant grass again.

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Tks Tonray.
Anyone know if clover seed is available in Thailand?  Where?

I am with you in terms of "xeriscaping" (first time I have heard that word).  There are some really great ideas on the internet, but initially, they are all really labor intensive and COSTLY. For some reason,  (decorative) gravel, stones and rocks are surprisingly expensive.  On the other hand "baht bricks" are sill  only one baht (Imagine that!) and can help a little bit. We have used them to cover a patch of dirt along the porch that refuses to grown anything. Still, all these great-looking "no-lawn" alternatives are out of my skill set and price range.

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I would try to inquire at the University, sometimes the Agriculture department can steer you in the right direction. I know a friend who buys his fish stock fingerlings from the Uni in Ubon. Good Luck !

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The clover you see here isn't the clover that is mentioned in your post, I think it is too hot for European clovers. I just let my cows on to the green bit when it gets too high. Like the above poster I was a lawn specialist and have absolutely no desire to invest time and money in a 'lawn'.

Good luck

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Overlay your lawn with top soil from the rice paddies, about 100mm. It has to be top soil. See what grows and keep mowing it. The weeds will die and the grasses will take over. I never water my grass and it dies back for 6 months of the year to reappear once the rains come. At the end of the dry season go round and spray with a herbicide that kills broad leaf weeds as they'll be plenty when the grass has died back. And repeat annually.

Edited by sinbin
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5 hours ago, rexall said:

Tks Tonray.
Anyone know if clover seed is available in Thailand?  Where?

I am with you in terms of "xeriscaping" (first time I have heard that word).  There are some really great ideas on the internet, but initially, they are all really labor intensive and COSTLY. For some reason,  (decorative) gravel, stones and rocks are surprisingly expensive.  On the other hand "baht bricks" are sill  only one baht (Imagine that!) and can help a little bit. We have used them to cover a patch of dirt along the porch that refuses to grown anything. Still, all these great-looking "no-lawn" alternatives are out of my skill set and price range.

With tegards to landsaping dont put yourself down thats tbe beauty of landscaping you can just start let your imagination take over does not have to be expensive. I use all sorts of objects in mine (ongoning project). If I see something discarded on the side of the road and pick it up. Its amazing how things take shape. I can honestly say so far i have spent 200bht buying things the rest is scrap. I also go visit sites where they are digging for land fills get a good lot of stone from them. Give it a go bet you will enjoy it.

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Tue 2 May 2017, 11:05 am

ForumMates,

I have been watching helplessly as my lawn dies a little bit more each year.  Amazing that it has lasted as long as it has.  It has come back every year after the rains.  However, after this drought (Khon Kaen),  large sections of gone to dirt and are unlikely to be reborn!   :sad:

I would be happy to have an alternative to turf, it's high-maintenance and uses an obscene amount of water.  However, all the really interesting alternatives  I see on the internet are big projects and involve money and effort that I don't have.

HOWEVER, I read that clover (particularly Dutch White Clover) is a good alternative, especially for lawns that don't get a lot of foot traffic.  The seed is dirt cheap (Hehehe...) and (relatively) easy to grow from what I understand.  It is hardy, low-maintenance, doesn't require as much water as turf.  In fact, the reason I thought of it is because little bits of wild clover appear spontaneously and don't seem to be effected by the drought.

ANYWAY:  Anyone familiar with this alternative?  Seeds available in Thailand?  Any other suggestions?

Thanks, lah!

 

 

It is very diifficult to get a great lawn in Thailand but it can be done. I know, as I am a grass specialist here in Ubon. At my home in Ubon I have twenty year lawns still looking like they were laid yesterday.

 

First of all there are no clovers in Thailand. What you are seeing in your dried-out lawn in the dry season is Desmodium triflorium. Looks like a clover but it is not.

 

 http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Desmodium_triflorum.htm

 

There is no seed available in Thailand of Desmodium triflorum.

 

What you need is a good bermuda grass but unfortunateky seeds have to be imported from the USA. You may have luck at some garden centres in Bangkok.

 

You may like to try laiding down anotrher patch of zoysia grass. If your soil is well prepared, zoysia lawns should last your lifetime.

 

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On Wednesday, May 03, 2017 at 8:17 PM, Michael Hare said:

Tue 2 May 2017, 11:05 am

ForumMates,

I have been watching helplessly as my lawn dies a little bit more each year.  Amazing that it has lasted as long as it has.  It has come back every year after the rains.  However, after this drought (Khon Kaen),  large sections of gone to dirt and are unlikely to be reborn!   :sad:

I would be happy to have an alternative to turf, it's high-maintenance and uses an obscene amount of water.  However, all the really interesting alternatives  I see on the internet are big projects and involve money and effort that I don't have.

HOWEVER, I read that clover (particularly Dutch White Clover) is a good alternative, especially for lawns that don't get a lot of foot traffic.  The seed is dirt cheap (Hehehe...) and (relatively) easy to grow from what I understand.  It is hardy, low-maintenance, doesn't require as much water as turf.  In fact, the reason I thought of it is because little bits of wild clover appear spontaneously and don't seem to be effected by the drought.

ANYWAY:  Anyone familiar with this alternative?  Seeds available in Thailand?  Any other suggestions?

Thanks, lah!

 

 

It is very diifficult to get a great lawn in Thailand but it can be done. I know, as I am a grass specialist here in Ubon. At my home in Ubon I have twenty year lawns still looking like they were laid yesterday.

 

First of all there are no clovers in Thailand. What you are seeing in your dried-out lawn in the dry season is Desmodium triflorium. Looks like a clover but it is not.

 

 http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Desmodium_triflorum.htm

 

There is no seed available in Thailand of Desmodium triflorum.

 

What you need is a good bermuda grass but unfortunateky seeds have to be imported from the USA. You may have luck at some garden centres in Bangkok.

 

You may like to try laiding down anotrher patch of zoysia grass. If your soil is well prepared, zoysia lawns should last your lifetime.

 

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. 

 

 

 

Thanks for all the useful info you post on this forum.

 

I understand you are in the seed business, i'd be interested in buying some from you if you have something suitable.

 

I am looking for something that provides decent ground cover for about 1 rai. It doesn't have to be anything nice, just something that will take over as many of my weeds as possible and not grow too high or go to wild.

 

My back garden is just wild, lol. And I wonder if there is anything I could grow instead that would be less maintanence  and hard work than multiple brush-cuttings throughout the year?

Edited by FruitPudding
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52 minutes ago, FruitPudding said:

I wonder if there is anything I could grow instead that would be less maintanence  and hard work than multiple brush-cuttings throughout the year?

See post #6. My lawn is about a rai. I cut every week for 6 months and leave it after November as it doesn't grow.

001.JPG

002.JPG

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Coming from the US midwest, If that is what counts as beautiful grass, I'm putting landscape rock everywhere when I eventually have a home built. Rocks, fruit trees, raised beds for veggies. Done.

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4 hours ago, H508 said:

Coming from the US midwest, If that is what counts as beautiful grass, I'm putting landscape rock everywhere when I eventually have a home built. Rocks, fruit trees, raised beds for veggies. Done.

Nice to be confident on how things will be done in Isaan whilst sitting on ones a*se in the midwest. Good luck if/when yer build yer house.

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Thanks! I'm reading a lot :)

Not a knock against your work or lawn. I truly believe it is probably a good lawn in Thailand between the dirt, heat, and rain seasons and you work hard for it. I would just be too depressed to work and spend money on the lawn if that is what my effort gets me. Considering my minimal effort now leaves me with a perfect fescue-only lawn after pulling maybe 4 weeds a year on the edges of my property all season long... Compared to the dirt patches I see in my gf's pictures, your lawn is an oasis, haha.

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With all due respect H508, lawns in the US mid west can not be compared to those here in Thailand, especially northeast Thailand.

 

In the US, you have the support of a billion dollar turf industry. Numerous cultivars to choose from turf ryegrasses, bermuda grasses, bent grasses, a range of fine fescues and even turf paspalum grasses. In addition, there is the support from huge range of selective herbicides to knock out this and that weed species, different fertilisers and of course state-of-the art lawn mowers. You are also in a temperate climate in which lawns are easier to establish than in the tropics. 

 

Here in the true tropics in Thailand we have none of this support. First of all we start with terrible soils, lacking in almost anything. Sand, stones, clays. Trying to get a lawn down is a huge challenge. Then there is no lawn grass seed easily available. Only two types of ready-to lay turfs to choose from; Zoysia (yaa nuan noi) and broadleaf carpet grass (yaa malaya). once these are laid then there is the short wet season of five months followed by the long seven month dry season.

 

SInbin's lawn above is a seasonal lawn made up of mostly native species especially Dactyloctenium aegyptium. Sinbin mows it weekly in the wet season and less frequently in the dry season. He does not water at all. It dies away and regrows when the rains come again. While not a beautiful lawn by US standards it is by local standards being short and green. And that is what counts. 

 

FruitPudding above inquired about cover grasses to suppress weeds and that do not grow tall and require low maintenance. Unfortunately we do not have seed of such species. Most are propagated vegetatively in Thailand. The best one around is bahia grass (Paspalum notatum). you may be able to dig up tillers at some of the Thai government livestock stations if you have contacts there. 

 

Finally, a lot of people think I should have good lawns seeing I am a grass specialist. Well I try (photos attached). However, my biggest challenge is not the weeds but one of my dogs. He is a Labrador-cross and digs to lie in cool soil. Hence all the netting you see laid down in parts. 

House March 2017_09.JPG

House March 2017_10.JPG

House March 2017_13.JPG

House March 2017_08.JPG

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1 minute ago, Michael Hare said:

With all due respect H508, lawns in the US mid west can not be compared to those here in Thailand, especially northeast Thailand.

 

Heck,  I was astounded at the difference between my lush Midwest bluegrass lawn and my scrubby Texas Bermuda lawn.  

 

Took 4x the effort in Texas, had to start from sprigs (no seeds), and it was always getting eaten by something or burning in the heat.  I can only imagine what it takes to grow a nice lawn in Thailand.  Being a BKK apartment dweller for work purposes, I doubt I'll ever have to find out.

 

 

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1 hour ago, H508 said:

I would just be too depressed to work and spend money on the lawn if that is what my effort gets me.

Beats sitting on my a*se . I'd rather spend my money and time working on my garden than sitting drinking with others farangs talking about whether '90 day reporting will ever get back up running'. Each to their own. So what do you intend to do H508 to stave off boredom once you upsticks and move to Thailand? 

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  • 1 year later...

@rexall how did you get on?  I just purchased 10 kilos of dutch white clover seeds to plant on a bit of farm land where I have a few bees.  I could not find ANY information about growing this in Thailand and brought a couple of seed packets to test, but then got the 10kg on ebay for around $22 including shipping so thought I might as well give it a go.  The first lot of seeds germinated in potts but I could not wait for the sake of $20.  This does not need to look nice as in a lawn, just needs to produce a bit of clover honey cause I miss the stuff

Edited by vagabondkiwi
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I presume you live in northeast Thailand as you replied to a thread on the Isaan forum. All Dutch white clovers are temperate species. They will not grow and persist in the humid tropics. Too hot and too humid. The seeds may very well germinate and that will be all. I am afraid you wasted your $22. You should have tried to purchase a tropical clover such as Trifolium_semipilosum.

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Lawn grass seed is very difficult to find in Thailand, and next to impossible in northeast Thailand. 

 

The seed has to be imported. Most lawn grass seed is bermuda grass imported from the USA. Selected outlets do stock this seed in Bangkok.

 

You can import the seed yourself from either the USA (bermuda grass) or Australia (Queensland blue couch or bermuda grass). 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Notagain said:

How much work is the bermuda grass to keep alive and going here ? I guess what im saying is it worth the trouble of doing it.

You have to import the most tropical cultivar of the bermuda grasses. 

https://www.bermuda-attractions.com/bermuda_0000f0.htm

 

I personally wouldn't bother. You will have to import taxes and other charges. Just stick with the either of the two common turfs found in isaan at garden centres. Zoysia (Yaa nuuninoi) or Broadleaf carpet grass (Yaa Malay).

 

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