How to Get Rid of Clover

Category: Lawn Care

Clover is a persistent broadleaf weed found in many lawns, and is actually named “White Clover”. As a professional lawn care company in Lancaster, PA we often get calls from frustrated do-it-yourselfers that can’t seem to get rid of clover in their lawns. This perennial lawn weed will gain strength each repeated year and eventually can choke out lawn areas that were intended for grass. In addition the blooming flowers attract many sorts of stinging insects and can become problematic for humans that want to occupy that same place in summer months, particularly if they have severe allergies to stings.

Clover loves to grow in areas with low fertility, compacted soil, and low soil pH. These are not great conditions to grow a lawn. When managing clover in a lawn area it’s important to address these issues as well, not only spray clover with a labeled herbicide. If you are struggling with clover in your lawn this is a proven method to managing it:

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Provide Adequate Fertility:  Depending what type of turfgrass you have growing in your lawn, you’ll need anywhere from 2-4 lbs. of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet, delivered throughout the year. Clover will thrive in low-fertility soil and your lawn will suffer, so be sure that you are giving your lawn a fighting chance. Fertilizer won’t kill clover, but it will help your lawn to grow more aggressively.

Address Soil Compaction:  Clover plants can grow very well in compacted soil, but grass plants will start to thin out and perform poorly there. Core aerating your lawn annually and topdressing at times will help to improve soil structure, making it more suited to turfgrasses and less desirable to clover.

Correct Soil pH:  When we find a lawn loaded with clover, we find low soil pH the majority of times. Clover can adapt to all sorts of soil pH, but lawns prefer a soil pH that is fairly neutral, around 6.5-7.0. Taking a soil test for your lawn and adding limestone to address this deficiency will help your lawn to grow thicker, creating more competition for the clover.

Spray Clover with Herbicide:  Liquid selective broadleaf weed control will work very well to address clover. Weed controls for clover that are available to the average consumer aren’t always effective, particularly in the instance of granular weed control products. Since the leaves of clover plants are very small it is difficult to get an adequate amount of material on them. Using a professional lawn care service to treat clover throughout the year, and each subsequent year, will be very effective in managing this perennial weed. Just be sure to also address the issues listed above or you may see clover re-growing in your lawn.

creeping woodsorrel
There are also a few other varieties of broadleaf weeds that are commonly confused with White Clover (commonly referred to as clover). Oxalis corniculata, the Creeping Woodsorrel is a broadleaf weed that people will sometimes refer to as “Red Clover” or “Oxalis”. It will often start growing with green leaf tissue and turn to a deep red as it matures. This weed is much harder to control and will take repeated efforts throughout the year to reduce in lawn areas. Correcting the issues above along with proper herbicide selection is recommended.
Another broadleaf weed commonly mistaken for clover is Black Medic. This summer annual weed will grow longer stems and spread a bit more in the lawn. A key difference for this weed will be its presence of yellow flowers verses the white flowers of clover. Management strategies will be similar to that of clover but this weed is easier to control than oxalis or clover.

If you have White Clover, Oxalis, or Black Medic in your lawn there is help available. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss lawn care options on a free consultation with you and get your lawn in tip-top shape.

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