If clover is taking over your lawn, it can make you feel anything but lucky. It attracts bees, which is the last thing you want with children playing in the yard. White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is a perennial broadleaf weed thriving in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 10. It grows in low clumps in lawns, turf and flower beds. If you don't get it under control, it can quickly take over your lawn. The best method of control depends on the extent of the problem.
1. Give Weeds a Hand
When you notice just a few clover weeds scattered here and there in your lawn, you don't need to bring out a bunch of chemicals and tools. Hand-pulling is simple and effective. Pull those pesky weeds when the soil is moist. The roots will come up easier then, and getting the roots out completely is key to eliminating the problem. If you have large patches of clover, an herbicide is your best bet.
2. Pick Your Poison
Herbicides that contain 2,4-D, dicamba or mecoprop are effective at killing clover in lawns. Three-way herbicides contain all three and are safe to use on bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass and tall fescue. St. Augustine and centipede grasses are sensitive to 2,4-D, so if you have one of these, look for an herbicide that omits 2,4-D or apply a three-way herbicide at a reduced rate. Apply your herbicide early in the fall, and avoid applying it in the spring and when temperatures are above 90 F. Once the clover is gone, you will likely have bare spots in the lawn. Plant grass seeds in those spots to fill them in.
3. Nurture the Good Greens
A healthy lawn will choke out pesky clover, and regular maintenance will keep your lawn in top shape. Mow regularly to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Watch for signs that your lawn is stressed. If it starts to turn a bluish color or doesn't spring back up after you step on it, it needs water. If you keep your lawn happy and healthy, it will take care of clover without additional work on your part.
4. Can't We All Just Get Along
While it gets a bad rap, clover can be beneficial. Its white flowers attract pollinators to your yard that can help your flower beds. It provides nitrogen to nearby grass, making it greener and healthier. A number of grass seed mixes even contain clover seed. In addition, kids love hunting for lucky four-leaf clovers, giving you a well-deserved break.
- Blades Lawn Care: How to Kill Clover
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: White Clover
- Colorado State University Extension: White Clover Control in Lawns
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Watering Lawns
- University of Massachusetts Amherst: White Clover in Lawns
- Desert-Tropicals: White Clover
- Sod Solutions: Herbicides and Lawn Weed Control
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