Clover is one of the most common weeds in lawns in North America.

What Is the Best Way To Kill Clover in Your Lawn?

by Kristi Roddey

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.

About the Author

A professional writer and editor, Kristi Roddey began freelancing in 1999. She has worked on books, magazines, websites and computer-based training modules, including South Carolina Educational Television's NatureScene Interactive, "Planted Aquaria," "Xtreme RC Cars" and online courses for Education To Go, Inc. Roddey holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Carolina.

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