Clover can be one of the hardest lawn weeds to control. But with the right strategy, and products, you can kill clover and prevent it from coming back.
Clover is a low growing, quick spreading, perennial plant with three leaves and white or pinkish flowers. Clover is one of the most common lawn weeds and also one of the toughest to control. It’s aggressive spreading habit allows one small plant to multiply in size.
Clover also has the unique ability to create its own nitrogen which makes it thrive in an underfed lawn.
Most varieties, such as white clover, are perennial, so you can count on it coming back every year as you leave it unchecked. It also self seeds and can pop up in sections of your landscape that have been clover free in the past.
Clover Life Cycle
After spending the winter in a dormant state (except for warmer regions where it can stay active during the winter), clover begins to wake back up and spread when soil temps approach 50 degrees. White clover, which is one of the most popular lawn weeds, will flower from early spring- summer and spread aggressively if not controlled. Eventually the flowers turn to seeds and these seeds germinate in early fall.
Kill Clover with Lawn Safe Liquid Weed Killer
The best way to kill clover is by using a lawn safe, liquid weed killer:
For Cool Season Lawns:
1. Ortho Weed B Gone Chickweed, Clover, Oxalis Killer– This is a great product for targeting clover, chickweed, and oxalis which can be some stubborn weeds to control. It also controls a number of other common lawn weeds in cool season lawns. It is sold as a concentrate so will require mixing with a tank sprayer.
2. Ortho Weed B Gone Plus Crabgrass Control– This is a great product to always have on hand if you have cool season grass since it controls such a large variety of lawn weeds, including crabgrass. This product is available in a pre mixed ready to use formula that has an applicator wand, or you can buy the concentrate that gets mixed with water in a tank sprayer.
3. Tenacity– Tenacity (active ingredient Mesotrione) is another great liquid weed killer that will kill clover. It is the ideal choice if you are getting ready to seed your lawn since it’s one of the few herbicides that won’t interfere with seed germination of cool season lawn varieties. In fact it can even be applied at the same time as seeding. So if you’re planning on doing any type of seeding and you also want to solve your clover problem, then Tenacity should be your go to choice.
For Warm Season Grasses:
1. Celsius WG– Celsius WG is a great all around lawn safe liquid weed killer that kills a large number of broadleaf weeds as well as grassy weeds. It does a great job killing a variety of clovers. Best of all this is safe to use in most warm season grass types such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Centipede.
2. Image Southern Lawn Weed Killer– This is another great all around lawn safe liquid herbicide that kills a number of broadleaf weeds, including clover. This is actually the go to liquid weed killer I recommend in my lawn care program for warm season grass. Even though the front label says its safe on St. Augustine and Centipede, if you look at the back it says it’s also good for Bermuda, Zoysia, and Bahia.
*** Pro Tip– Repeat applications will likely be necessary when using any of the above weed killers. Also, mixing in a little surfactant with the herbicide will help the herbicide stick to the plant. Always follow label instructions when applying herbicides.
Pre Emergent Herbicides
While pre-emergents won’t kill existing clover, or prevent it from spreading, it will prevent new clover seeds from germinating. Pre-emergent herbicides are an important part of any lawn care program and help to prevent a large variety of broad leaf weeds from emerging. The trick to a good pre-emergent plan is correctly timing your applications based on soil temperatures.
Get Rid of Clover Without Chemicals
Manual removal of clover in your lawn can be very difficult since its roots are well spread and anchored in the soil. Using a weed puller tool will make it easier if clumps are small.
A better option for a chemical free way to kill clover is to use vinegar. Mix vinegar with water (usually a 1:1 ratio) and spray it directly onto the clover. Be careful not to overspray, as vinegar can also harm surrounding plants and grass.
A Healthy Lawn Is the Best Defense
A healthy, well maintained lawn is always the best defense against clover. When you have bare spots in your lawn, it is the weeds that will claim the real estate. Stick to a simple lawn care program to keep your existing turf lush.
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