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In this question, I was asking about trying to deal with stubborn grass that won't practically cut with a reel mower. And in this answer, it's mentioned that these kind of grasses just get pushed down with a reel mower, which is pretty much exactly what's happening. This isn't the answer I had hoped for, but probably the answer I need.

I like these rougher field grasses on the periphery of the lawn as they do a good job at providing some habitat and keeping the edges stabilized, but I think because I've been unable to consistently mow them effectively, they're just pushing into the central part of the lawn where the kids play and frankly they're not much fun to step on with bare feet (i.e. sedges have edges).

We would like to push these field grasses back and ideally replace it with something like clover so that it's more suitable for play. Per USDA, we're locating in the 6B hardiness zone though we're very close to 6A as well.

My plan for this is to try and cut the field grasses using a weed wacker, lay down a white clover seed mix, and mulch the area. For reference, the seed mix is likely to be something chosen from our state conservation service's recommended seed mixes (see Table 4-2).

Would this work to push out the field grasses or would I need to try and rip them out manually before re-seeding? Are there other factors I need to be considering?

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  • Clover looks pretty, but it is not hard wearing. I would expect kids playing on it would quickly reduce a "100% clover" lawn to bare earth. A mix of clover and grass would be more durable. It is also a fairly short-lived perennial, and unless you let it flower and reseed itself, you may need to reseed it every 2 or 3 years.
    – alephzero
    Jul 6 at 15:11
  • @alephzero We definitely intend to let it flower and reseed itself. Regarding the durability, I was thinking a fescue blend based on my state's soil conservation service recommendations, but ensuring that clover is an inherent component. Apparently it doesn't need to be a very large component, just 5 lbs/acre while the rest of the mix is 195 lbs/acre. Jul 6 at 15:44
  • That thing you refer to as a weed wacker is actually called a "weed cutter"... Jul 6 at 17:13
  • White clover seed is tiny compared with grass seed. There are about 800,000 to a million seeds per pound weight!) 5 lb/acre would give you a 100% white clover lawn all on its own if you have reasonable quality soil. (But you would need to mix it with say 50lb of horticultural sand to make it easier to spread - you can't spread 5 pounds of anything evenly over a whole acre of ground.)
    – alephzero
    Jul 6 at 18:36
  • Once you plant clover it's very hard to remove it.
    – kevinskio
    Jul 7 at 11:18
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It would be best to dig those grasses out - the other option is to slash into them deeply with a sharp knife and keep repeating that, which eventually should kill them off, but it will take a fairly long time, delaying when you can sow your seed.

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