Reason : Microclover Provides Clover Benefits Without Drawbacks
Over the years many people have called us wondering how to eliminate the Clover in their lawns without using chemicals. Once they understand the benefits of Clover they often leave the Clover and even consider purchasing additional Microclover to help make the lawn more uniformly Clover covered!
The image above is of a lawn seeded with our Microclover which flowers much less prolifically than standard White Clover and is aggressive enough to spread evenly through a lawn. We’ve found that lawns planted with Microclover stay greener, healthier, and have fewer weeds than lawns with no Clover. In addition, they need less fertilizer and water. So, if you’re now of the mindset that if you can’t “beat clover, join clover” then you might want to learn a little more about it by visiting our Microclover page. You can also purchase Microclover at our online store.
How To Kill Clover Without Weed Killers
Weed killers can be toxic, and all pesticides are the bane of the Organic Lawn and Garden movement. So, in keeping our lawns weed-free, we want to avoid weed killers as our prime directive as Captain Kirk used to say.
With this in mind, lets kill that Clover in the best way possible.
Remember Nitrogen Clover hates it in the soil, and our lawns love it. So lets start right here.
How To Get Rid Of Clover With Nitrogen
The better fertilized your yard is, the fewer problems you will have with weeds. The same holds with white clover. To combat clover, check your lawns nitrogen levels, as the proper levels give you an advantage over the weeds.
Low nitrogen levels are required for clover to thrive, so look for a weed-and-feed product containing higher levels of nitrogen than other fertilizers. For lawns overtaken by clover, do not use a slow-release formula, as those only work on smaller patches.
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How To Remove Clover From Your Lawn
Clover or trefoil are common names for flowering plants in the legume or pea family.
A number of clovers and clover-like species can be a persistent nuisance in lawns, especially as they have a strong resistance to weedkillers.
Clovers are perennial weeds which are easily recognised by their trifoliate leaves.
You can find clover all over your garden, especially on lawns.
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Clover Ideal Growing Conditions
There are specific conditions that benefit clover while also hurting your lawn. Consider fertilization and soil acidity when dealing with stopping clover from taking over.
Under Fertilized Lawn
While lower nitrogen can benefit clover, there are other issues that under-fertilization can cause. Your grass becoming weaker from not having enough fertilizer will give the clover the edge it needs to conquer your lawn. Keep the nitrogen levels of your yard high to keep your clover low.
Clover Soil pH
Though clover benefits from low nitrogen, it doesnt benefit from lower acidity. If the acidity of your yard is higher than it should be, this can create a breeding ground for clover.
Because of this, you can stop clover from taking root by lowering the pH of your yard. Lower the pH to 6 or below if you can to stop clover growth. Make sure that you arent harming other plants in doing so, especially delicate flowers that may need a specific soil acidity. To lower acidity, consider adding sulfur.
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Cover Up And Deprive Of Sunlight
Depending on your situation, it may be possible to simply smother out the clover. Persistent weed or not, clover is still a plant, and plants need sunlight to survive.
For smaller areas, consider using a tarp or other large covering to spread over the clover. Doing so will stop sunlight from reaching them, depriving them of food and life. It may take some time to entirely kill the clover using this method, as it relies on them naturally dying out from starvation.
Again, exercise caution when doing this method, as this can kill your plants as well. Grass will need sunlight, as will all of your flowers. Techniques such as this are best if the clover is the only weed in the area youre covering, and youre attempting to stop it from spreading.
Clover In Lawns: It Was On Purpose
Prior to the 1950s, a standard practice was to add clover seed to lawn-seed blends. Clover effectively competed with other weeds and provided a fairly low-maintenance lawn by providing nitrogen to the grass. Some grass seed blends today continue to include clover seeds.
The suburban, middle class, along with single-family homes with carpets of lawn, grew significantly after World War II. Some of the chemicals developed during the war were now becoming available commercially to homeowners. The first residential herbicides were available in 1945 and was used to kill broadleaf weeds, which includes clover. This made it more convenient to eliminate clover from lawns than promote it.
Although were seeing a trend to again introduce clover to lawns, most homeowners continue to prefer the clover-free, weed-free lawns that have been in vogue for the past seven or eight decades. These folks want to kill clover in their lawn.
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Identify Clover Plants Correctly
Clover comes in a wide variety of species, and the kind of clover you might find in your landscaping is mainly determined by where you live.
In the United States, most clover falls into the perennials category. Perennial clover can live for two to three years, but it does not reseed well. You can find perennials such as white clover all over the United States. Another perennial, red clover,also grows nationwide but is more common in the northern and midwestern states.
Perennial varieties flower throughout the summer and stop growing only when they run out of water. These broadleaf weeds spread by seeding and through nodes that take root as the plant grows.
Other, less-common clovers, such as arrowleaf clover and subterranean clover, are annuals. These plants complete their life cycles in a single year. Arrowleaf is most commonly found in the region stretching from East Texas to Georgia, while subterranean clover thrives in the temperate climates of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7.
Annual clovers germinate in the fall and continue to live through winter and early spring. They make use of winter rainfall for their hydration needs.
Reduce Soil Compaction By Aerating Your Lawn
Compacted soil is the result of heavy lawn use.
Kids and pets playing on it through the summer is a prime example of this.
The forces put through during times of heavy use cause the soil particles to be pressed together, squeezing out air and water. It also prevents them, along with other nutrients from penetrating the soil so the grass cant get what it needs to grow and survive.
Other areas of your lawn are also prone to compaction, like around the washing line, if you have garden furniture on your lawn or the route that your postman takes to the front door.
Aerating your lawn relieves compaction and create space in the soil for air, water and nutrients to penetrate.
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How To Get Rid Of Clover Around The Yard
Keep a lookout for any clover sprouting and pull it up as soon as it does. Stay especially vigilant during springtime to stop clover before it can spread around your yard. You can prevent roots creeping into your yard by putting barriers, such as a thick layer of mulch, to frame your yard or a nitrate-heavy border of grass.
Use A Weed Killer To Kill Clover
If the clover is spreading rapidly and putting your lawn at risk, using a weed killer or a post emergent herbicide will be effective in killing the clover. These kinds of weed control products generally contain chemicals like Mecoprop, Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and Dicamba which disrupt the growth of the clover, causing its stems to crack and leaves to cup.
While lawn safe weed killers are selective and dont damage the grass around the area of application, they might be harmful to some beneficial lawn insects and garden plants. Therefore, if you are using chemical fertilizers, Eden recommends applying the weed killer to the problem spot directly instead of applying freely.
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Using An Organic Weed Killer
There is an excellent organic weed killer available online called A.D.I.O.S. which is an eco-friendly post-emergent control used on broadleaf weeds. It is non-toxic and can be used in parks, playgrounds, lawns, gardens, flower beds, and many other places. It uses selective weed control which means it will not harm the grass or surrounding plants, only the clover or other weeds it touches. It is an excellent choice if none of the other options are feasible.
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Why You May Want To Keep Clover In Your Lawn
You may not like the look of clover, but it can actually benefit your lawn.
- Natural Fertilizer: Clovers symbiotic relationship with beneficial bacteria allows it to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere. Ultimately, it can make your lawn greener and more lush. However, this will keep it growing and outcompeting your grass.
- Weed Prevention: Mowing your lawn high will prevent weeds from growing, including clover. But if you like short, neat grass thats under 3 inches, letting clover flourish is a solid option. Clovers leaves cast shade over the soil, making it hard for other weeds to take root and grow and compete with your grass.
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Minnesota Lawn Care You Can Depend On All Season Long
When treating your lawn, you want to avoid harsh chemicals and fast-release fertilizers that dont promote healthier growth in the long run. By adding more nutrients to your soil and increasing the nitrogen levels, you can avoid the spread of white clover in your yard.
Green Stuff Lawn uses effective weed control services in the Minneapolis area to promote lush, thick lawns all year round and prevent dangerous chemicals from seeping into groundwater systems or exposing irritants to your kids and pets. Our lawn maintenance services adapt to residential and commercial sites of all kinds, contact a Green Stuff Lawn technician to get started today.
Spray A Vinegar Solution
Create your own non-toxic weed killer with this natural home remedy.
- Mix one cup of vinegar with a cup of water and one drop of dish soap.
- Shake it up and spray it onto any patches of clover. The vinegar will dry out the clovers leaves, and the dish soap will make sure it sticks.
- You may need to spray over a series of weeks to kill off the clover completely. Unfortunately, the vinegar can damage grass, so spray the solution carefully.
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How Will I Know When My Lawn Is Clear Of Clover
While theres no real way to be 100 per cent sure your lawn is free of clover without testing soil samples, you can follow a few simple tells to work out if your lawn is clover-free. These include looking for:
- New weed growth in your lawn and in any areas where clover was previously growing. If your lawn is free of clover, you shouldnt see any new growth on your grass.
- Browning or yellowing of the grass in affected areas or patches where clover was present. If this begins to occur, then the clover may be returning and will need to be removed.
- New growth of clover in the spring and early summer months, as this is when it tends to grow the quickest. If you spot any new patches of clover, be sure to remove them before they begin to flower.
Why Is Clover Taking Over My Backyard
If you are experiencing a sudden invasion of clovers in your lawn, then it might be because of the following reasons:
Your lawn has low nitrogen levels: Clover is part of the legume family, which means its a plant that fixes the nitrogen of the soil by producing its own nitrogen. Therefore, when the nitrogen levels of the soil are low, clover will thrive in such a lawn as it does not require nitrogen to grow while your grass does. Low levels of nitrogen in the soil means your grass will be weak, but clover will remain strong. You can use nitrogen rich organic fertilizer or cornmeal to fix this issue. If the clover has taken over a major part of your lawn, then you might need to use a quick-release chemical nitrogen fertilizer for a more immediate result.
The pH of your soil is unbalanced: Most turfgrass prefer a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 to grow healthily, but there are no such restrictions for some species of clovers. Strawberry clover has a wide range of pH tolerance from 5.3 to 8.2 while red clover can thrive in soils with pH higher than 7.0. Therefore, get a soil test done to check the pH of the soil and if it is too alkaline, make amendments appropriately.
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How To Get Rid Of Clover In Lawns
Clover is great in lawns, but if its not for you, thats OK too. So, what is the best way to remove it?
My first choice for getting rid of unwanted plants in the lawn is to dig them out. Theres no chemicals, no damage to the environment and, provided there are only a few of them, its quick. Remove the clover and make a quick repair with some topsoil mixed with grass seed. Job done.
If your lawn is heavily infested with clover you might want to try a selective herbicide. Clover however, hasnt become the successful plant that it is, by succumbing to weedkillers. Its quite resistant to some herbicides, so do your homework carefully before buying any sprays or treatments. Im not going to mention any brands simply because product availability changes fast and you might be reading this blog in the future. However, a good place to ask questions is the .
A really good, environmentally friendly way to get rid of any weed from your lawn is to cover the weed with something light-proof and literally, keep it in the dark until it dies. So a piece of black plastic, thick cardboard or wood, weighted down and left for a couple of weeks should sort it. Its not a visually attractive solutions and it will kill any grass that is covered up but its a solution just the same.
A regular lawn feeding regime will help to keep clover at bay
How To Eliminate Clover From Your Lawn
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If youre sick of dealing with the clover growing on your lawn, have no fear! You can easily eliminate it and keep it from coming back. To get rid of clover thats already on your lawn, you could use a potent herbicide to kill it, or you could make your own natural herbicide as an alternative. If you want to keep clover from setting up shop in your yard, give your lawn the TLC it needs to be healthy enough to prevent the weed from taking root.
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Use Corn Gluten On Clover
Another way to get rid of clover is to use corn gluten. Corn meal gluten kills off the clover without harming nearby plants. It works by releasing organic dipeptides into the soil. The dipedtides dry out the clovers seeds and make it hard for them to sprout. This well-reviewed product can be used by mixing three parts water to one part corn gluten. One liter of this mixture will cover about 1,000 square feet. Once applied, be sure to water well and then allow it to dry.
Note: While the dipedtides have worked to get rid of clover for some, corn gluten hasnt worked for all, and is therefore not universally regarded as a solution for dealing with clover.
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Deprive Clover Of Sunlight
If youve been wondering how to get rid of clover, weve got you covered. If youre dealing with a large clover patch and youre willing to sacrifice your grass, place plastic sheeting, or a large garbage bag, over the clover. Be sure to secure the perimeter so the plastic doesnt fly off. Keep the clover covered for a few weeks. Depriving it of sunlight and oxygen should do the trick will kill it .
To start over with new grass, first youll have to determine if you want to use seed or sod. This discussion will help.
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Mow On A High Setting
Letting your grass grow a little longer can help to eradicate this weed.
Keep the mower on a setting of around 1in1.4in to help the turf gain strength and block out light for the clover, recommends David.
If the weed is widespread, rake the turf first to lift stems before mowing, adds the RHS. Remember to always use a grass box on the mower to minimize spreading seeds around and worsening the problem.
Need to update your tool for the job? Our buying guide to the best lawn mower is a good place to start your search.
Allow your grass to grow at a slightly taller height so that it blocks the light from reaching clover