- How To: Get Rid of Clover
- How to Kill Clover without Weed Killers
- How to Kill Clover Without Weed Killers?
- Keep the Lawn in Good Health to Keep Clover Out
- Lawn Weed Identification: Common Lawn Weeds
- How to Identify Weed Types
- Lawn Weed Identification
- ‘Tis the season: ‘Florida snow’ popping up on the Treasure Coast
- Killing White Clover – How To Control White Clover In Lawns And Gardens
- White Clover Identification
- How to Get Rid of White Clover
- Getting Rid of Clover Organically
- An Organic Lawn
- A Natural Solution
- Keep a well-fertilized lawn
- Mow high
- Remove it by hand
- Weed control
- Attack organically
- Use a DIY natural remedy
- Identify Clover in Your Yard
- Clover Can Be Beneficial for Your Lawn
- How to Get Rid of Clover in the Lawn
- Eliminate clover without chemicals
- Using commercial products
- How to Kill Clover in Your Lawn
How To: Get Rid of Clover
Stubborn weeds are the bane of a beautiful lawn. Yet, although it’s pretty stubborn, clover (aka Trifolium repens) is actually beneficial. It brings nitrogen into the soil and encourages grass growth when it decomposes. In fact, some grass blends even include micro-clover as a welcome addition to a lawn.
Still, many homeowners simply don’t appreciate all those small white flowers interrupting their field of green. Mowing it over is only a temporary fix, as clover always grows back, and fast.
So if you’re adamant about keeping this herbaceous three-leaved intruder off your landscape, you’re in luck! Read on for easy remedies that can get rid of clover for good.
- Knock it out with nitrogen. Generally speaking, a well-fertilized lawn keeps all weeds at bay, but ensuring proper nitrogen levels will give you an extra edge against clover. It’s a lack of nitrogen that allows clover to thrive, so try a nitrogen-rich weed-and-feed formula. Organic fertilizers might do the trick if you have a small amount of clover, but if your lawn is becoming overrun, choose a standard fertilizer that is not slow release.
- Remove it manually. Don’t give clover a chance to spread. Get rid of small clumps as soon as you notice them by gently loosening the soil around the base with a spade or your fingers, then plucking the clover up. Be sure you get all of the root.
- Cook it. A natural way to thwart clover is to deprive it of sunlight and oxygen. Place plastic sheeting (a garbage bag will do) on top of clover, securing the corners so it won’t blow away. This ought to kill the weed in a few weeks, but use this method only on large clover patches; otherwise, surrounding grass will probably experience collateral damage.
- Douse it. Here’s a natural remedy many gardeners find effective: Mix vinegar with a small amount of dish soap, put the mixture in a spray bottle, and spot treat clover clumps. Just take care to avoid surrounding plants.
- Kill it with corn gluten. Available for purchase online and at your local garden center, corn meal gluten can inhibit clover growth without causing ill effects to nearby plants. It releases organic dipeptides into the soil, which dry out seeds and make it more difficult for them to sprout. Spread about 20 pounds of corn gluten meal per 1,000 square feet of lawn, water well, and allow to dry naturally.
- Hit back with herbicide. If you’ve got to pull out the big guns to get rid of clover, broadleaf herbicides can do the job. These products generally contain the chemicals Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, Mecoprop, and Dicamba, which disrupt normal growth patterns and cause the weeds to twist, the leaves to cup, and the stems to crack. While these herbicides don’t harm surrounding grass, they can hurt some garden plants and insects, so it’s wise to spot treat directly on clover rather than apply freely.
How to Kill Clover without Weed Killers
When Clover begins taking-over lawns it tells us something very important about our lawn health, and most importantly about the health of our soils. Also when we begin seeing Clover in lawns, we often see that our lawns themselves may also be turning brown or yellow in colour, as well as possibly having slowed growth and looking generally in poor overall health.
The presence of Clover in lawns can be an indicator of low Nitrogen levels in the soil.
Clover requires soil with LOW Nitrogen levels because this plant can pull its Nitrogen requirement from the air.
Lawns love Nitrogen in the soil, and that’s why it’s so important to feed our lawns with Nitrogen in the form of Organic Lawn Fertilisers, Standard Lawn Fertilisers, or by leaving the clippings on the lawn after mowing.
As soon as lawn soils begin to lack Nitrogen – the lawn will become in poor health. And a lawn in poor health will be highly prone to other weeds, pests and diseases, and will not have the necessary strength to fight off these infestations naturally by itself.
When we remember the important basic principle of prevention being better than the cure in Organic Lawn Care, we see the importance of keeping our lawns in optimum health so they don’t suffer problems which may later require chemical treatments. So, let’s get our lawn back to good health, and keep it there.
How to Kill Clover Without Weed Killers?
Weed killers can be toxic, and all pesticides are the bane of the Organic Lawn and Garden movement. So, in keeping our lawns weed free, we want to avoid weed killers as our “prime directive” as Captain Kirk used to say.
With this in mind, let’s kill that Clover in the best way possible.
Remember Nitrogen… Clover hates it in the soil, and our lawns love it. So let’s start right here.
For lawns with minimum Clover invasion, first try Organic Lawn Fertiliser in place of standard lawn fertiliser in the following instructions.
For lawns with a lot of Clover, and therefore high Nitrogen-deficiency, it’s time to put some of our organic ideals aside at least just a little while we get this problem under control – and we still will not use weed killers!
Apply a high quality standard fertiliser to the lawn, not organic and not slow release. Apply the fertiliser at manufacturers recommendations (and no more). And ensure the lawn is being watered properly – and only when needed – and only watering deeply.
Do not over fertilise – this can make our lawn sick and wash most of the fertiliser away into the open environment.
The lawn will begin to spring back to health, while the Clover will being to suffer, eventually the healthy lawn will begin to weed out the Clover on its own. If we need another application of fertiliser 6-8 weeks later, do so.
We can also help the lawn to get rid of the clover with some hand weeding of the larger weeds.
Most will advise the use of standard fertilisers because organic fertiliser just will not have the guts that we need to get this job done!
Don’t expect this method to act like a weed killer – it is an overall management plan to get Clover out of the lawn and keep it out, so allow a couple of months for treatments to work.
Keep the Lawn in Good Health to Keep Clover Out
Keeping Clover out of our lawns, as well as most other weeds and diseases, is overwhelmingly a case of keeping the lawn as healthy as possible, including keeping up Nitrogen levels to the lawn soil.
If you haven’t already, begin implementing a good quality year-round organic lawn fertilising program. This should be enough to help keep the lawn in good health and keep Nitrogen levels high enough in the soil that Clover will not take over again.
Lawn Weed Identification: Common Lawn Weeds
Image by Анатолий Тушенцов
Weeds are a common occurrence in most lawns and gardens. While many of them are quite familiar, there may be some that are not. Learning about some of the most common types of weeds can make it easier to eliminate them from the landscape.
How to Identify Weed Types
In order to identify weed types and bring them under control, it’s important to understand how they grow. Like other plants, weeds can be annual or perennial. Annual weeds are less troublesome as far as control measures go. While they are known to sprout up nearly anywhere due to seed dispersal, their root systems are relatively shallow. This makes them easy to pull and eradicate, although doing so before they set seed is recommended.
Common annual weeds include:
- spotted spurge
Perennial weeds, on the other hand, have more extensive root systems, including taproots, making them more difficult to control. In addition, these weeds come back each year, especially if the roots are not destroyed. Some of the most common (and problematic) perennial weed types include:
- mouse-ear chickweed
- ground ivy
Lawn Weed Identification
One of the best ways to identify lawn weeds is by looking closely at the soil in your landscape. Many common lawn weeds can be found growing in certain types of soil, making this is excellent way to identify specific types you may have growing in your landscape. Here are some of the most commonly seen weeds:
Dandelions – Dandelions are well known in many lawns and gardens – their fuzzy yellow blooms popping up nearly anywhere. While their deep taproots make them difficult to control, they generally spread through their easily recognized white, fluffy seedheads.
Ragweed – Ragweed is commonly known by many allergy sufferers. This annual weed can be seen most often during summer (and autumn) months and recognized by its fern-like foliage.
Crabgrass – Crabgrass is a homeowner’s worst nightmare, creeping up throughout the lawn. This summer annual lies flat to the ground and has reddish-purple stems (both smooth and hairy). It forms slender spike-shaped seedheads just below mowing height, making it difficult to manage.
Spotted spurge – Spotted spurge has a reddish-purple spot in the center of each leaf and the sap is milky (which may cause a rash in sensitive individuals). This annual weed can be pulled up easily in moist soil. Improving the density of lawn grass can help keep it under control.
Common chickweed – Common chickweed is a mat-forming weed with tiny, star-shaped white flowers. This annual thrives when conditions are cool and moist. Mouse-ear chickweed is similar; however, this weed is perennial with hairy stems and leaves, and is more tolerant of summer heat.
White clover – White clover is a perennial weed that forms creeping runners and produces white, fluffy-looking blooms. Since this weed is a legume which fixes nitrogen, it is often found in lawns with low fertility. Adding nitrogen to the soil can help ease the population of clover.
Common nettle – This is prolific in soil that borders gardens and open fields. This perennial weed has many varieties, including stinging nettle. While it may look like an ordinary, hairy weed with attractive little flowers, it can cause a very painful sting if you touch it. Nettles can often be aggressive spreaders, with creeping roots.
Broadleaf plantain – Broadleaf plantain is a low-growing perennial. It has broad leaves with prominent veins and may smother lawn grass if left untreated, which generally calls for maintaining thick lawn coverage.
Knotweed – Knotweed is an annual weed, common along sidewalks. It usually thrives in dry, compacted soils. Knotweed forms a tough, wiry mat of stems and blue-green leaves with small white flowers. It is often confused with spurge; however, this weed does not produce a milky sap. It does produce numerous seeds, which can be reduced with annual aeration.
Ground ivy – Also known as creeping charlie, this weed is extremely difficult to control, as this creeping plant (recognized by its round, scalloped leaves, square stems, and small purplish flowers) can form large patches in shady, moist areas of the landscape.
Annual bluegrass – Annual bluegrass, also known as poa annua, is a bright green, low-growing grass that thrives in cool, moist weather. While it produces a number of white-colored seedheads and forms patches throughout the lawn, this weed is known to suddenly die out in hot, dry weather.
‘Tis the season: ‘Florida snow’ popping up on the Treasure Coast
When summer’s brutal heat begins to wane, pumpkin spice everything shows up in stores and locals find themselves looking longingly at photos of colorful leaves– and an oh-so-Florida phenomenon makes an appearance. Snow!
Well, not quite.
“Florida snow” is actually a perennial wildflower, or if you ask many frustrated lawn enthusiasts, a weed. Its tightly-grouped and low-lying white and pinkish or pale lilac flowers resemble a dusting of snow over the grass, hence the nickname.
More: Foreign flatworm gains foothold in Florida
Here are a few things to know about “snow”:
1. It has several names
What Floridians call “snow” is also called largeflower pusley, Florida pusley and Mexican clover, though it is neither a clover nor native to Mexico. Scientifically, it’s called Richardia grandiflora. If you want to be extra scientific, it’s a member of the family Rubiaceae, which is comprised of 15 different species of flowering plants.
2. It’s not native to Florida
Pusley is native to Brazil and other parts of South America. In the U.S., it’s only seen in Florida, particularly in central and south Florida. Currently, 26 counties in the southern half of Florida expect an annual “snowfall,” but that number could grow. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council lists pusley among the state’s most invasive species.
3. It’s very stubborn
If you don’t want that snow-dusted look in your lawn, you’re in for a struggle. Because pusley is a low-lying ground cover, it’s nearly impossible to mow. It’s more drought-resistant than grass and can survive sub-freezing temperatures.
The weed is also resistant to most herbicides and spreads rapidly. University of Florida research found that Atrazine can control pusley in St. Augustine grass, but several other herbicides tested had no long-lasting effect.
Because the flowers produce seeds quickly, a small patch of pusley can take over a whole yard in a shockingly short time.
More: What Florida is doing to manage invasive species | Opinion
4. It has some environmental benefits
As a hardy plant that happily intermingles with grass and survives drought and cold, pusley is helpful for controlling soil erosion. The flowers also provide nectar for butterflies and bees, both important pollinators.
5. The best fix involves prevention a lot of elbow grease
The safest and most effective way to get rid of pusley is to pull it by hand. Since the weed spreads from a single stem and root system, it’s relatively easy to pull. Still, the idea of pulling a yard full of snow by hand can be daunting.
If you opt for the herbicide route, make sure you know what you’re doing. Or better yet, call a landscaper or turf management company.
Mowing over pusley often makes the problem worse, as the mower blades can scatter seeds and spread the weed.
The best way to avoid a pusley invasion in your lawn is to keep your grass healthy. Thick and well-established turf inhibits the growth of weeds, including pusley. Pre-emergence herbicides can also provide weed control for several weeks by slowing or stopping the germination of seeds.
Killing White Clover – How To Control White Clover In Lawns And Gardens
White clover is a plant that is either loved or hated by the homeowner. For many gardeners who did not intentionally plant white clover, knowing how to control white clover in lawns and garden beds is helpful. Getting rid of white clover once it is established can be tricky, but it can be done if you have the right tools and patience. Let’s take a look at how to identify and how to get rid of white clover.
White Clover Identification
White clover is a perennial weed that grows low to the ground. While it can grow in many different places, it is typically found in lawns, especially sparse lawns where the competition from grass is weak.
The leaves on white clover grow in sets of 3 leaflets. Each leaflet is tear shaped and many have a reddish stripe across it. The flowers on white clover are spiky and white with a brownish green center.
White clover grows in a creeping manner and will develop roots where ever a stem node touches the ground.
How to Get Rid of White Clover
Getting rid of white clover starts with a healthy lawn. Clover will
grow in areas of low nitrogen and where competition from other plants is small, so making sure that your lawn (and flower beds) are well fertilized will not only help desirable grass and plants to grow and keep out white clover, but will also make the soil less friendly to white clover.
In flower beds, clover can be kept at bay by using a thick layer of mulch. This will keep the seeds from germinating.
If white clover is already established in your yard, controlling white clover can either be done through hand pulling or by using an herbicide. In either case, while killing the white clover already in your lawn is easy, you need to understand that killing white clover seeds is not. The seeds can survive high heat, low temperatures and can stay dormant for years before germinating. Whichever method you choose for getting rid of white clover, you can expect to be doing it once a year to control the white clover plants that emerge from the seeds.
Hand pulling white clover
Hand pulling is an organic and common way to get rid of white clover. White clover frequently grows in clumps, which make hand pulling easy and efficient. When hand pulling white clover, make sure that you pull out as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth.
Herbicide for white clover
Killing white clover with herbicide is also a common way to deal with this weed, especially over larger areas. The problem with using herbicides is that the only herbicide effective at controlling white clover is non-selective weed killers. These herbicides will kill the white clover, but will also kill any other plants it comes in contact with.
Herbicides also may not kill the root system of mature clover, which means that they can grow back. If you decide to use herbicides for getting rid of white clover, the best time to do this is on a warm, cloudless and windless day.
Knowing how to get rid of white clover from lawns and flower beds can be a bit tricky, but it can be done. Patience and persistence while getting rid of white clover will pay off.
Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.
If clover is a problem in your lawn, don’t just reach for a chemical or commercial product to get rid of it for you. Organic methods exist to rid your lawn of clover without hurting the environment or making you sick.
Getting Rid of Clover Organically
Keep in mind that clover only appears in lawns where there is low nitrogen. It is actually nature’s way of strengthening your lawn; when the clover grows, it adds nitrogen back into the soil. Eventually, your grass will grow stronger and will choke the clover out. If you can’t wait for this to happen, or if clover is a chronic problem in your yard, there are other ways to deal with it.
Physically Remove the Clover
To organically treat and remove clover from your lawn, work toward restoring the nitrogen to the grass.
- Physically remove the existing clover by tilling the soil. The aeration caused by tilling will perk up your soil and prepare the ground to grow healthy grass again.
- Obtain some organic compost and add this to the newly tilled soil.
- Add some grass seed to the soil and water appropriately.
- Give your lawn some time, and green grass will begin to grow, replacing the spots where the clover was.
Apply Sugar and Water
Sugar, any type of cane or raw sugar will do, that is well watered onto the clover will help to kill it and remove it from your lawn.
- Sprinkle sugar over the clover in your lawn (approximately 5 lbs per 1000 square feet of lawn).
- Water it well until the sugar completely dissolves.
This will not immediately remove the clover from your yard, but it will kill the roots while it helps strengthen your lawn, so the clover won’t be back next year.
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal is sold at nearly all garden centers and nurseries. It will inhibit weed growth organically by releasing organic dipeptide into the soil.
- Spread about 20 pounds of corn gluten meal per 1000 square feet of lawn.
- Water it well and leave it to dry naturally.
Corn gluten meal will also inhibit other weeds from growing in your lawn.
An Organic Lawn
Organic lawns may not be as pristine as chemically treated lawns and commonly have a few weeds contained within. In fact, clover is no longer seen as the intruder that it used to be; many people are opting to keep the clover in their lawns to help stimulate pollen and honey production and to help their lawns regain their balance naturally.
Like it or not, clover serves a purpose in an unbalanced lawn. Clover is a plant that efficiently absorbs nitrogen from the air, much more efficiently than regular blades of grass. An imbalance within the soil makes it difficult for grass to thrive, but makes for an ideal area for clover to grow.
A Natural Solution
You may be surprised to find that these organic solutions to clover in your lawn are so simple, but once you realize that organic gardening is all about a balance with nature it becomes obvious that it isn’t complicated to use organic methods. Your lawn may not be as immaculate as your neighbor who utilizes chemicals to treat clover and other lawn problems, but you can take solace in the fact that your lawn care methods are not detrimental to the environment.
There’s a patch of clover in my parents’ yard that has been there as long as I can remember. It’s proved impossible to kill, although I don’t think any of us have tried too hard. You see, this special clover patch is legendary for its production of four-leaf clovers, and we all think it’s more fun to find them than it is to have a perfect lawn.
While visiting this past Mother’s Day, my mom quickly spotted these with her eagle eyes – the same eyes that always caught me thinking about misbehaving and always spotted my lost hair barrettes when I was late for school. She’s always been the best at finding them!
Even in my own yard, it’s really hard not to like clover. It doesn’t need much mowing and makes a great low-maintenance ground cover. It’s soft as velvet, attracts bees (not so good if you walk barefoot), has pretty white flowers, and is responsible for yummy clover honey.
Up until the 1950s, clover seed was a standard addition to lawn grass seed. It’s only recently that we started viewing it as a problem in the yard, although it’s enjoying a growing popularity as an organic lawn alternative.
Don’t Lose Sleep Clover It
If you don’t want clover in your yard, rather than seeking out the right thing to kill it, your best defense is to understand why it’s there. Clover grows in nitrogen-poor soil. Like other legumes, clover absorbs nitrogen from the air, so it doesn’t need it from the soil. Lawn grasses do need nitrogen from the soil, so clover is a red flag letting you know your lawn grass is starving.
In your yard, low nitrogen levels might be caused by:
- Poor soil: Do a soil test to determine levels of nitrogen and other nutrients. Improve your soil quality by aerating and top-dressing with good-quality compost mix. You may need to repeat this for a few years until the soil is in better shape. Be sure to test different areas of soil, since the clover patch may be different from the rest of the yard.
- Low Nutrients: Feed your lawn with an organic slow-release fertilizer that will improve your soil as it breaks down. Chemical fertilizers quickly leach away and eventually make the problem worse.
- Over Irrigation: Water leaches nitrogen away, so heavy rains, overwatering, and overlapping sprinkler patterns can create inviting spots for clover.
- Cool Temperatures: If spring weather has been cool, soil microbes might not be active enough to move available nitrogen into your lawn grass, giving clover a head start in the growing season.
Do what you can to correct these problems before putting much energy into removing the clover. You can then pull it by hand or choose a weed killer labeled for clover.
Research has shown that regular applications of corn gluten meal can significantly reduce clover infestations. The corn gluten prevents new clover seeds from germinating while also breaking down to add nitrogen to the soil. While not as fast as a commercial weed killer (it won’t kill the existing clover), this organic choice feeds your lawn grass and discourages the clover at the same time.
- Clover! (gardensalive.com)
- Are You Rolling In The Clover? (wtop.com)
- Corn Gluten Meal Research Page (Iowa State University)
You have a beautiful lawn, but you’ve noticed lately that that magnificent green expanse is interrupted by clumps of sprouting clover. You tried mowing, but the small, white-flowered weeds keep coming back—and bringing bees with them.
Clover, or trefoil, is one of the most common weeds found on poorly maintained and undernourished lawns.
“Clover is a tough weed to control because of its small size and numerous leaves that make it harder to hit with granular weed killers,” says Phil Dwyer, turf grass scientist for Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Tired of fighting this weed? Here are some ways to get rid of it for good, so your lawn can look picture-perfect.
Keep a well-fertilized lawn
The best defense against any weed is a thick, healthy lawn, so you’ll need to keep it well fed. Experts recommend fertilizing four times per year.
“The ideal turf density is so thick that weeds don’t have a chance to make contact with the soil, or get the sunlight they need to begin to germinate,” says Jay Worth, marketing coordinator for Tomlinson Bomberger, a Pennsylvania lawn care company.
“A regular schedule of fertilizer applications will aid in maintaining and strengthening your lawn,” says Jon Shuey, operations manager of Green Lawn Fertilizing, in West Chester, PA.
Thick grass is able to crowd out clover and become the dominant plant once more.
When clover goes low, we mow high (thanks, Michelle Obama!). Shuey says it’s important to raise your mower deck, since clover grows low to the ground and has a shallow root system.
“Raising your mowing height and allowing your grass to grow taller will block sunlight exposure to the clover and aid in preventing the growth and spread of it throughout your lawn,” says Shuey.
Experts say to cut your grass no shorter than 3 inches.
Remove it by hand
Sometimes you have to get to the root of the problem. Yanking out weeds can be the quickest solution to bring your lawn back to gorgeous greenery. The moment you see clover growing, get on your hands and knees and remove it by gently loosening the soil around it to get all of the root.
“Obviously this is not the most popular of the control methods because it involves the most labor, but if you get to the clover early, before it flowers and begins to spread, you can remove small areas of clover by hand,” says Shuey.
Shuey says clover does spread through seed and has stems that creep and spread their roots along the ground, “so it is imperative to pull it earlier rather than waiting until you have a full infestation.”
If your clover problem is really out of hand, look for a liquid weedkiller. Dwyer prefers Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer for Lawns, which is available in either a hose-end ready-to-spray or concentrate form.
Shuey says to look for products containing 2,4-D, and to make sure the label states it is a selective herbicide that will control clover.
“The last thing you want to do is harm your lawn and have to seed areas due to chemical burn,” he explains.
You can also take preventive measures with preemergents that attack weed seeds before they germinate.
“It is best to put down preemergent in the fall and spring to help slow down the spread of weeds,” says Neal Kezar of Magic Pest and Lawn, in Austin, TX.
For those seeking an organic approach to clover growth, there are options such as Herbanatur’s A.D.I.O.S. Eco-Friendly Weed Control or Bonide’s Weed Beater.
Chris Lintner, client experience manager with Good Nature Organic Lawn Care, in Cleveland, says A.D.I.O.S. is essentially salt that dries out and burns the leaves of the clover, taking away the plant’s ability to create its own food. Weed Beater is mainly various forms of liquid iron, which coats the leaves of the clover and burns them over a few days. He says both are safe to use on lawns and will not harm the grass when instructions are followed.
“As with most weedkillers, organic or chemical, you can burn the lawn out if it’s applied when the average temperate is above a certain point. So these products are best used in spring and fall, when the average temperature is significantly lower than the summer,” says Lintner.
Use a DIY natural remedy
Sometimes a little DIY concoction can come in handy when combating clover. Spraying vinegar mixed with some dish soap can spot-treat clover patches.
Leslie Rutland, who runs the SeasonedHomeMaker.com blog, says she uses a mixture of 30% vinegar, 70% water, and 2 tablespoons horticultural orange oil in a heavy-duty spray bottle, and spot-treats clover in her Central Texas yard.
“But here’s the key: It should be applied in the heat of the day, above 75 degrees on plants that don’t have any dew or rain on their leaves,” says Rutland.
There’s also corn gluten meal, which works as a natural preemergent herbicide by inhibiting the seedlings of clover. And it doesn’t hurt established grass.
“To keep the winter and spring weeds to a minimum, I apply corn gluten as a preemergent in September and February. If the Texas weather is unusually warm and wet, I will reapply after four to six weeks,” says Rutland.
Clover (Trefoil) is definitely one of the most common weeds you can find on badly maintained and undernourished lawns. In the US, we usually face perennial white clover (Trifolium repens) which can grow everywhere thanks to its own production of nitrogen.
Actually, clover can be a very beneficial plant for your grass, but most people don’t want to see this weed in their yards and try to get rid of it since it gives the lawn a quite messy look. However, you can’t kill clover by simple mowing because it grows fast and has a tendency to sprout continually on places it once appeared. Let’s see what we can do.
Identify Clover in Your Yard
I enjoy seeing their small, round flowers throughout my yard. These white or pink flourishings are like jewels that emerge from the waves of green, and they attract bees and butterflies to come to my lawn and make my day.
Therefore, if you spot gentle flowers on your lawn and swarm of bees buzzing nearby, you can be pretty sure that you have clover around. It’s on you to decide what to do with this nice-looking weed.
Clover Can Be Beneficial for Your Lawn
Believe it or not, clover is actually beneficial for your grass, and you might consider keeping it in your yard. I will tell you why:
Clover will fertilize your lawn
Thanks to a symbiotic relationship with beneficial bacteria attached to clover’s roots, this weed is a valuable plant which can enrich the soil in your yard. Well, these bacteria absorb nitrogen from the air and don’t need to use this nutrient from the ground.
If you make an excellent mixture of clover, you will drastically reduce the need of your lawn for additional fertilization. That means that this weed will help your grass grow green and vigorous without using chemicals. Just place this weed throughout your yard or add it into the composter.
Clover prevents other weeds
If you mow your lawn high, you will prevent the occurrence of weeds because tall grass makes shades which don’t favor the growth of weeds.
However, if you prefer mowing your grass on ideal 2.5 inches (6 cm), you will have a problem. Therefore, clover is a solution! Its umbrella-like leaves will shade the ground and disable other weeds’ growth.
How to Get Rid of Clover in the Lawn
If you can’t stand clover in your lawn or you are afraid that insects which clover may attract will harm your children, you can destroy this weed. It won’t be an easy job, but you can succeed if you are patient and persistent.
Eliminate clover without chemicals
1. Remove it manually
When you spot clover on your lawn for the first time, don’t give it a chance to spread. Take action immediately, grab clover and pluck it up from the ground after gently loosen the soil around it. Try to move all of the roots to prevent further spread of weeds.
Make a mix of vinegar and dish soap. Use the mixture to treat small surfaces of the lawn covered with clove by using a spray bottle.
3. Corn meal gluten
It is an excellent solution for clover growth inhibition. At the same time, it won’t harm grass. You need to spread approximately 20 pounds (9 kg) of corn gluten meal over 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of the lawn. After applying the solution, water your grass well, and let it dry naturally.
4. Cook it
Put plastic garbage bag over the clove and deprive it of oxygen and sunlight. Expect first results after approximately a few weeks. This method is a perfect solution for large areas with clove, but you should avoid it when you spot just small patches of this weed. Otherwise, you can harm your grass too.
5. Fertilize your lawn
Keep in mind that clover prefers under-fertilized soil and the lawn rich in nutrients is not a place of choice for these weeds. Therefore, fertilize your yard with an excellent organic fertilizer or with the content of your compost tumbler in the early spring and late fall. That way, you will encourage the growth of your grass and repress clover.
6. Mow high
Every time you cut your grass under 3 inches (7.6 cm), you will make ideal conditions for clover. Otherwise, if you mow the lawn high, you will encourage the growth of your grass and give it a considerable advantage over clover. It is a pretty simple way to get rid of this weed.
7. A new organic way for killing clover
These days, you can find A.D.I.O.S. selective organic weed killer on the market. It is a natural product which kills weeds without harming your grass. Just spray it on the clover, and it will become weak and die eventually.
Before and after using A.D.I.O.S., you should water your grass correctly. Try to water the lawn at least one inch (2.5 cm) deep once or twice a week. Keep in mind that this product is harmless for the grass, but your grass may die after applying it if it is stressed out by lack of water.
Using commercial products
8. Nitrogen-rich fertilizer
Every nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizer will be efficient against clover since it doesn’t do well in the environment rich in this particular nutrient. Spray the chosen fertilizer directly on clover. When you spot just small patches of clover in your yard, the best solution is using an organic, slow-release product.
For more significant parts covered with clover, you need to pick out a quick-release fertilizer and apply it once a month to get rid of weed as soon as possible. The excellent solution is using the fertilizer in early spring to prevent clover from growing.
Treatment with herbicides is always an effective way to kill clover fast. Chose the one with 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and it will kill clover and prevent its future growth. Apply the chosen product directly to clover once a month, but take care to avoid other plants. Don’t forget that herbicides kill bees and be careful!
Many experienced gardeners burn clover with ammonia. The perfect period for applying this chemical is a day after rains, but you can simply water your grass when deciding to fight weeds. Purchase ammonium sulfate for lawns and add it by following the instructions from the user guide. Put the chemical directly on clover once a month and avoid areas with grass. That’s it.
How to Kill Clover in Your Lawn
- Keep a Well-Fed Lawn
Constantly battling weeds like clover is a clear sign that you’re dealing with a bigger problem. The best way to control clover is to stop it before it starts. One way is to feed your lawn regularly (four times per year), which provides grass with the nutrients it needs to grow thick and strong. Thick lawns are able to crowd out weeds like clover.
- Adjust Mowing Height
It may be tempting to lower your mower height to mow over all the clover, but it’s actually more beneficial to raise it. Clover is low-growing and its roots are shallow. By raising your mowing height and letting your grass grow a little taller, you block sunlight, which helps prevent clover from growing.
- Pull Clover by Hand
If you happen to notice clover early, you can remove it from small areas by hand before it forms flowers and starts to spread. Clover spreads by seed and creeping stems that root along the ground, so be sure to pull it sooner than later. When pulling up clover, be sure to loosen the soil to break up any remaining roots you may have missed.
- Use a Weed Killer
If you don’t want to pull clover by hand, you need an effective weed killer that won’t harm your grass. If there are just a few clover plants in your lawn, Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns will get the job done for most grass types; just be sure to follow the label directions. If you have a larger clover problem, or you want to feed your lawn and kill clover at the same time, try Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action. If you have a St. Augustine, centipede, or zoysia lawn use Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action instead.