Do you see these 3 leaf plants in your lawn that are making your lawn look ugly and ruining all your efforts? Yes, I am talking about clover weed and we talk all about clover weed and how to eliminate it from your lawn.
To kill clover with vinegar take vinegar and water in the same ratio and add a drop of soap so that the solution sticks to the leaves when you spray it. Apply the solution to the clover weed. The vinegar will make the weed dry out and eventually kill it. To eliminate clover weed you need to reapply the solution several times before it kills all the plants and makes your lawn free from clover weed.
Now you know how to remove clover with vinegar but why is clover growing in your lawn and how can you prevent it in the future? We will talk about these things below.
What is Clover Weed?
The Clover plant is a genus of plants related closely to 300 species of pea plants. The most common type of clover, White clover, and Red clover are named after their colour but look the same.
To distinguish the clover plant you need to look for the three-leaf pattern on them. White clover weeds give white flowers in the centre while red clover weeds produce purple flowers. They are less common clover weeds that give red and yellow flowers as well. Clovers occur in temperate and subtropical areas.
The clover flowers are really attractive to bees and are used for honey production.
Clover is a short-lived plant and contains one or two seeds in the flower. Clover is a very tough plant that can tolerate shade and drought very well and is resilient to foot traffic. Due to all these factors, clover can spread quickly on your lawn before you even notice its presence. So it’s very important that you take all necessary precautions to prevent clover weeds from establishing in your lawn or it will be very difficult for you to eliminate them from your lawn.
Types of clover
There are several types of clover weeds, but the most common clover weeds found in lawns are white clover weed and red clover weed. Let’s talk about them in detail:
- White clover weed – White clover or Trifolium repens is very easy to identify in lawns. Each stem of white clover has three petal-shaped leaves and produces white flowers in the centre. The white flowers from the weed usually bloom between early spring and late fall.
The height of clover weed is usually between five to eight inches and the stems usually grow along the surface of the ground.
- Red clover weed – Red clover weed is another common weed found in lawns but is less frequent than white clover. The red clover also has a three-leaf pattern and a pink flower in the middle.
The red clover usually grows between 12 to 15 inches in height and its stems also try to cover the lawn as much as possible.
Why do you have so much clover on your lawn?
You will find clover in lawns where the grass is turning yellowish. This is due to the low percentage of nitrogen available in the lawn, which is very essential for the grass to grow. On the other hand, clover weed loves low-nitrogen soil and thrives in it. Clover weed is a legume of plant-like beans that extract nitrogen from the air, so it doesn’t require nitrogen in the soil.
So if you are seeing clover weed in your lawn then it is an indication that your lawn is low in nitrogen and needs fertilization. But before you fertilize your lawn, do a proper test of the soil and see what is the soil quality and what other nutrients your soil needs
There are some other factors that help clover weed to grow on your lawn. Let’s talk about them in detail:
Factors that help clover weed grow
- Bad pH level – if your lawn has a bad pH level then clover weed will love to grow in your lawn and will establish in your lawn very quickly. Your lawn can become acidic or alkaline due to the flushing of essential nutrients due to heavy rainfall or excess watering. The best way to balance the pH level of your soil, apply garden lime to the soil. The lime will restore the pH of the soil and make it healthy for the grass to grow. Keep in mind that restoring the pH level of the soil by applying lime will take some time, so you need to be patient to see the result in your lawn.
- Compacted soil – Compacted soil is another reason for clover to thrive in your lawn. Compacted soil blocks essential nutrients like air and water to the roots of the soil and makes it difficult for the grass to grow. On the other hand, clover weed has short roots in the upper part of the soil which can easily take nutrients and water from compacted soil. To negate this problem you need to properly aerate your lawn and detach it for a proper supply of nutrients to the grassroots.
- Stressed lawn – if your lawn is stressed due to lack of moisture or nutrients in the soil, the grasses will become thin and short and also creates bare patches in the lawn which then the clover weed can occupy as it doesn’t need nutrients and water that much. To reduce stress in your lawn, take proper care by watering the lawn properly and doing fertilization in proper intervals so that your grass has all it needs to grow and thrive.
- Insects and pesticides – insects and pesticides can also cause problems in the lawn and can damage the lawn grass on the other hand clover weed is very tough and can fight insects very well. To take care of insect attacks on your lawn take precautions by applying pesticides on your lawn.
- Shade in the lawn – if your lawn has shade then it will be really difficult for your grass to grow as all grasses need some sunlight to grow but clover weed can grow and thrive in shade. Too much shade can also be a reason you are seeing clover on your lawn. So try to remove the shade from your lawn by cutting tree branches or other things which are blocking the sunlight.
How to kill a clover?
- Pull it out – the best way to eliminate any weed from your lawn is to remove it manually. You just need to make sure that your soil is moist so that you can remove the whole plant from the soil and not just the top part. If you leave roots behind then the weed will grow back and all of your efforts will go in vain.
- Vinegar – To kill clover with vinegar take vinegar and water in the same ratio and add a drop of soap so that the solution sticks to the leaves when you spray it. Apply the solution to the clover weed. The vinegar will make the weed dry out and eventually kill it. To eliminate clover weed you need to reapply the solution several times before it kills all the plants and makes your lawn free from clover weed.
- Using nitrogen – as you know by now, clover weed hates nitrogen in the soil as it takes it from the air and doesn’t grow there. To eliminate clover in your lawn fertilize it with quick-release fertilizer. Don’t use slow-release fertilizer as it will take time and will not work effectively.
How to prevent clover?
Clover weed is very tough to remove from your lawn once it has established itself. So preventing clover weed in the first place is very crucial to have a healthy and beautiful lawn.
There are some things that you can do to take proper care of your lawn and prevent clover from developing in your lawn. Let’s talk about them in detail:
- Test your soil – the first thing to prevent clover weed in your lawn is to test it to see what essential nutrients it already has and what it needs to be healthy and support grass growth. Another thing to see is the pH level of the soil as clover weed tends to grow on an acidic lawn so see if your lawn is acidic or not. Maintain a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5 as this is an ideal condition for grasses to grow.
- Overseeding – By overseeding your lawn you make the lawn thick and healthy and there will be no space for the clover weed to grow as it grows very low to the ground.
- Aerating – aerating your lawn is very necessary to prevent clover weed as all the essential nutrients cannot get to the roots of the grass and make your lawn thin. On the other side, clover weed thrives in compacted soil as it has very small root systems which tend to be on the very top of the soil, so it can take water and nutrients from the soil very easily.
- Proper fertilization – fertilization is also very necessary to prevent clover weeds in your lawn as clover grows in a lawn where the nitrogen concentration is very low in the soil. So if you do proper fertilization of your lawn, it will make lawn rich in nitrogen and other essential nutrients which prevent clover from growing in your lawn.
IS CLOVER BENEFICIAL FOR YOUR LAWN?
Although clover is a weed it has some good qualities in it which can benefit your lawn. Let’s discuss these:
ADVANTAGES OF CLOVER:
- Clover weeds don’t take nitrogen from the soil but absorb nitrogen from the air, enrich the soil and become a natural fertilizer for your lawn. So you never have to fertilize clover weed.
- Clover weed can survive in sunlight or shade and need no maintenance to make your lawn look green and lush. It will stay green all summer long and make your lawn look green and lush.
- Clover has flowers that attract bees and other wasps that keep the bugs and insects away. Thus it helps in keeping the insects away.
- Growing clover on your lawn is very affordable as it doesn’t need special fertilizer or chemicals to grow.
- Clover weed doesn’t need any mowing as it will grow very short and spreads horizontally on the lawn.
- Clover weed also doesn’t require any herbicide to protect itself as it can protect itself from other weeds.
Clover lawn problems
Clover weed grows in places where it is not wanted and makes your lawn look ugly and blocks the grass from growing. There are other problems which we talk about in detail:
- Blocks grass growth – one of the biggest problems with clover weed is it blocks lawn grass from growing. Clover grows very low to the ground and covers the soil as much as it can blocking sunlight to get to the soil which blocks grass growth.
- Hard to eliminate – clover weed is very resilient and can survive in bad lawns with or without sunlight. The other thing about clover is it can establish itself very easily so if you miss a small patch of clover then it would not take time that the whole lawn to be full of clover
- Bad for foot traffic – if you want to plant clover in your lawn then you have to see that your lawn doesn’t have any foot traffic as clover plants cannot handle foot traffic very well.
How to get rid of white clover without destroying the lawn?
To get rid of white clover in your lawn you can try 2 methods.
- To pull out the weed manually by hand
- Apply a selective herbicide to your lawn which only kills white clover weed in your lawn and doesn’t harm the grass.
Let’s discuss how to do these properly in detail:
1. Pull it out
The best way to get rid of a small amount of clover weed in your lawn is to pull it out by hand. First water your lawn to make the soil moist so that you can remove the weed very easily without leaving any roots in the soil. This will ensure that you have eliminated all the weed and it will not come back.
2. Apply herbicide
The second way to remove clover from your lawn is to apply selective herbicide which only kills clover weed and doesn’t affect your grass. Apply herbicide when the soil is moist and do a little watering after the application of the herbicide to wash away all the herbicide from the leaves of the grass so it doesn’t get burned.
What is the best herbicide to kill clover?
The best chemical to kill clover is MCCP (Mecoprop) preferred for lawn care. Most of the herbicides or weed and feed products have MCCP with other chemicals to kill all the weeds in the lawn and make it healthy and beautiful. The two best herbicides which you can use to kill clover are:
1. Spot weed killer – This weed killer made by Maid Brands Inc, is a spray-on spot application product to eliminate weeds from your lawn and it works very effectively on clover weed. If you provide a few hours for it to dry before you water your lawn then it will not get washed away.
2. Bonide – Bonide is a well-known weed killer recommended by many commercial turf nurseries to eliminate clover, oxalis, chickweed, and dandelions in your lawn. These weeds are usually very hard to remove from your lawn but bonide works well and eliminates all the weeds from your lawn.