You can do everything correctly in your quest for a beautiful lawn, only to have it ruined by tenacious, obnoxious weeds. Trifolium repens, also known as white clover, is one of the most troublesome perennial weeds homeowners have to deal with.
Before you rush out and kill the clover in the lawn, take a moment to appreciate those small white flowers. Although clover grows quickly and is considered invasive by some, it is useful for all lawns. In addition, nitrogen permeates the soil when clover decays, beneficial to your Grass’s growth.
Clover works like an umbrella, so if you want to keep your Grass at the perfect 2.5 inches long, the clover leaves will shade the ground and keep weeds at bay. But, despite its benefits, many homeowners don’t want clover to take over their lawn, so they hunt for ways to eradicate clover while leaving Grass alone.
In our guide, you can learn how to get rid of clover in the lawn. You have plenty of options, and by the end, you’ll see how to kill clover in lawn without harming the rest of your Grass. (Learn How Long Does Milorganite Take To Work On A Lawn)
What’s Causes Clover in My Lawn?
Clover can spring up in your lawn for many reasons, and most are to do with your soil.
Wrong Soil pH:
For most lawns, the ideal soil pH (how alkaline or acidic the soil is) is between 6.0 and 7.0. If your lawn’s soil is acidic, Grass struggles to grow, and clover thrives. Fortunately, soil supplements such as lime can help bring the pH back into balance.
Clover grows well in soils with low nitrogen levels. This is because Grass requires nitrogen from the soil to grow, whereas this perennial plant gets its nitrogen from the air, acting as its fertilizer.
You may have used too much fast-acting fertilizer, resulting in a nitrogen deficiency in your soil. While they promote rapid grass growth, they might eventually degrade the quality of your soil. You can avoid this by using organic fertilizers like manure or cornmeal. (Read Can I Mow After Overseeding My Lawn)
Compacted soil deprives your Grass of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, as well as air and water. Fortunately, a core or spike aerator can help break up compaction.
What Is Clover?
Clover is a perennial weed that multiplies in lawns and yards globally recognized. Unlike other weeds, clover is easily identifiable. Clover is a vibrant green plant. Each half-inch leaf contains three little petal-shaped leaves with a white crescent.
The clover’s three leaves are so common that discovering a four-leaf clover is considered lucky and a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.
Clover is a vigorous perennial and flourishes in any favorable environment, and contrary to common belief, clover is good for your garden.
White clover (Trifolium Repens) has a broadleaf and grows with Grass in more challenging conditions such as poorly drained soil or overly shaded regions where other plants struggle.
Red clover, taller than white clover, has tiny purple flowers. In addition, clover has microbes that transform nitrogen into fertilizer. As a result, it may thrive on nitrogen-deficient soil.
Clover growth in your lawn may show soil nitrogen inadequacy. This shortage can be caused by poor soil quality, over-fertilization, over-irrigation, or cold weather.
Improving soil quality and nitrogen levels for lawn maintenance helps other plants grow while inhibiting clover growth.
What Will Kill Clover But Not Grass?
Here are some ways to get rid of clover naturally:
Pull By Hand
You can manually eradicate clover from tiny spots of this perennial weed. Then, gently loosen the soil with a spade and pull the clover out, roots and all. Clover will grow like other broadleaf weeds if any shallow root system is left behind.
Deprive Clover Clumps of Oxygen and Sunlight
You can eliminate clover by denying it oxygen and sunlight. Then, cover the area with plastic sheeting or a garbage bag, anchoring the corners with rocks to keep it from flying up.
In a few weeks, you can get rid of clover, but remember that any grass underneath the plastic will also die using this method to combat clover.
Use an Organic Herbicide
You can apply A.D.I.O.S, or Ortho Weed, a selective herbicide that will kill clover but not harm surrounding Grass. Spray it on clover, and other lawn weeds, which weaken and die.
Organic weed killers may sound too good to be true when eliminating lawn weeds, but a new one for clover management has recently been created. Clover is weakened and killed by an organic weed killer, not Grass.
To use, spray Adios directly on the clover. As the clover becomes weaker and dies, the Grass will take its place. Make that your lawn is well-watered. You risk harming both your Grass and the clover if you apply Adios to a stressed lawn due to a lack of water or extreme heat. (Read How Long Does It Take For Weed Killer To Work)
How to Prevent Clover in Your Lawn
Clover can be prevented from growing in your lawn in the first place in several ways.
Spread Organic Fertilizer
Clover will be less attracted to your lawn if you use an organic, slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer. However, traditional, slow-release fertilizer is preferred by some homeowners since it grows Grass faster and costs less.
However, applying organic fertilizer will cause healthier development in the long run. Cow manure, guano, blood, bone, earthworm castings, and liquid kelp are common organic fertilizers.
Adding other nitrogen-fixing plants can also help minimize clover around your garden.
Use Corn Meal Gluten
Meal made from corn Gluten causes organic peptides to be released into your soil, thus helping control clover development across your entire lawn while not harming garden plants.
This method won’t stop existing clover growing, but it stops fresh seeds from sprouting. So be cautious in use if you have or are about to reseed your lawn. Fortunately, this approach shouldn’t affect the existing Grass. Corn gluten meal is available at your local garden center.
Mow Grass Higher
Clover grows in Grassless than three inches tall, so it may appear that mowing all the clover short is the way to kill clover. However, this height stresses your Grass, allowing clover to spread more quickly. Keeping your Grass mowed high offers it an advantage over clover, making it easier to outcompete it.
Why You May Want to Keep Clover in Your Lawn
Clover may not be attractive, and you want to get rid of clover, but it’s beneficial to your lawn.
Clover’s link with helpful bacteria allows it to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it a natural fertilizer.
In the end, it can make your lawn greener and lusher. This keeps it growing and competing with your Grass.
Keeping your Grass mowed high will keep weeds, such as clover, from sprouting. Allowing clover to grow is a suitable alternative if you prefer short, neat Grass under 3 inches. Clover leaves also shade the soil, making it impossible for other weeds to grow themselves and compete with your lawn.
Here are more ways you can remove clover naturally.
Mulch Your Lawn
Clover growth is slowed by mulching. Like any other plant or other weed, clover requires room to grow. It flourishes in areas where it can find a spot to plant its roots and receive some sunlight.
Mulching your Grass cools and moistens the soil beneath it while denying clover the light it needs to grow. The most straightforward proper lawn care technique to control clover growth is using organic mulch, such as homemade compost.
Grow Native Plants
The clover is suppressed by the dominant plant growth of native plants, such as native Grass or flowers, which grow aggressively.
To kill clover naturally, plant broadleaf grass-like St. Augustine, a vigorous grower, buffalo grass, and tobosa grass. (Read Best Weed Killer That Won’t Kill Grass)
Reduce Soil Disturbance
Thousands of tiny seeds are contained in each clover bloom, which gradually spread throughout the lawn. Clover seeds planted in your yard’s topsoil have a better chance of thriving since they have more sunlight and water.
Soil disturbance, such as digging or tilling for your grass seeds exposes buried clover seeds to the surface layer of soil, increasing the likelihood of a full-grown clover plant growing.
You may need to till your Grass for other plants, but don’t do so unless it’s essential.
Use Landscape Fabrics
The landscape fabric is a type of gardening fabric that acts as a physical barrier to keep any invasive species or other weeds at bay. It functions similarly to mulch but is far more effective. This is because it’s made of a long-lasting material that won’t degrade quickly.
Make sure to choose landscape fabric with small holes to prevent clover from passing through. In addition, a high-quality cloth should be stable and rigid, and it should not readily tear or stretch.
Burn The Clover
Burning is a cost-effective and efficient approach to control clover development in driveways, sidewalks, and other areas where no other plants or Grass grow.
Burning the clover also minimizes the possibility of the seed spreading. You also don’t have to burn the clover entirely. Allow the clover to lose its internal moisture by exposing it to the hot flames; the clover will naturally die in a few days.
Make A Homemade Clover Killer
Making homemade herbicide weed killer is the simplest way that kill clover. It’s quick and straightforward to prepare, and you probably have the necessary ingredients at home.
Clover killer made from vinegar and dish soap is the most effective way to kill clover without effort. To make, all you need to do is mix one tablespoon vinegar, one tablespoon dish soap, and 3/4 cup of water in a bowl.
To use the weed killer, add to a spray bottle and shake, and then spray directly to kill clovers such as white clover and yellow clover.
Start by spraying in the middle of the clover or directly onto the white flowers with the natural weed killer to prevent it from generating seeds.
It’s also a good idea to target clover roots. The vinegar can permeate through the soil and absorb the roots to make it impossible for the yellow clover to grow again.
However, when spraying the vinegar mixture, be careful not to spray it on surrounding plants or Grass, as you could harm them by doing so.
Use Proper Lawn Care
White clover (Trifolium repens) and related plants (Trifolium spp.) infest lawns all year. Still, you can control them without harming the Grass by fertilizing regularly, removing clover plants, or spraying with a broad-leaved weed pesticide.
Another option is to learn to cohabit with these beneficial weeds. For example, clover thrives in low fertility lawns, and identifying clover does this can help you care for your lawn regularly or accept the hard to kill weeds are doing more good than harm.
Clovers improve soil fertility and structure by attracting bees and other beneficial insects. Clover roots boost nitrogen levels in the soil, and their long taproots reach deep into the subsoil, absorbing nutrients and transporting them to the topsoil layer. Clover roots can help loosen soil that has been compacted.
Clover blossoms and leaves are popular among gardeners, and clovers are included in some lawn grass seed mixes if you seed regularly around your yard. Therefore, clover control can be more beneficial than finding something that kills clover.