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How to Get Rid of Black Medic Weeds in Your Lawn

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

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A common weed known to invade lawns and gardens, black medic is known by several different names, including yellow trefoil, yellow clover, and black clover. A summer annual weed, black medic usually dies off with the arrival of the cold season; however, in milder climates or when winters are particularly mild, it can survive much like a perennial weed. Its seeds can also survive in the soil for several years, which means that gardeners are likely to see this weed’s return year after year without proper control. Black medic grows in lawn grasses that are struggling in compacted soil, where the turf grass experiences heavy foot traffic or soil that is nitrogen deficient. 

What Is Black Medic?

The black medic weed is often referred to as a clover because its leaves resemble the leaves of clover; however, it is actually a member of the legume family. Although it develops long taproots and can grow rampant when conditions are ideal, it only grows from seed–not rhizomes like many other common lawn weeds. Unlike clover, black medic produces small yellow flowers in late spring. It then produces black seed pods filled with seeds that can stay viable in the soil for several years or sprout up the following growing season.

How to Identify Black Medic

Black medic weeds feature a trifoliate arrangement of oval leaflets or teardrop-shaped leaves. Unlike other clovers like white clover (and again, black medic weed is referred to as clover but is technically a legume), black medic leaves have toothed margins as well as an extended stalk on its center leaflet. The black medic weed will produce small, bright yellow flowers during the summer months into the fall.

How to Get Rid of Black Medic

There are several ways to kill black medic. It’s also possible to prevent black medic weed growth, which we’ll discuss in just a bit. To get rid of black medic from your lawn or garden, consider the following methods:

Natural Black Medic Control Methods

Hand weeding is an effective measure to control black medic since the weeds usually grow together. Hand weeding, however, is more time-consuming and labor-intensive than using other control methods like chemical control to kill black medic or if the weeds are growing throughout large areas of the lawn as opposed to a small central location. Be sure to dispose of hand-pulled weeds to ensure they don’t drop seeds onto your soil.

Get Rid of Black Medic with Chemical Controls

It’s easy to kill black medic with a chemical herbicide such as TZone . Simply read the label directions and apply the herbicide accordingly. Non-selective weed killers that are available at the hardware store or gardening centers are effective for killing the black medic weed, but they will also kill other garden plants they come into contact with. It’s important to be careful when applying these types of weed killers. Be sure to try to kill your black medic weeds before they produce their seed pods.

How to Prevent Black Medic

It’s not usually difficult to prevent a black medic weed infestation. Since black medic grows in struggling lawns with compacted soil, it can usually be controlled simply by aerating the soil or improving the soil quality with an organic fertilizer that boosts its nitrogen content. Regular feedings of your turf grass with nitrogen fertilizer will also help you prevent black medic. In fact, maintaining a healthy lawn with cultural control, proper mowing (don’t mow the lawn too short), and growing the right grasses (those that will thrive in your area) will prevent most weeds from infesting your lawn.

Black Medic FAQs

How do I get rid of black medic weeds in my lawn and garden?

The easiest way to eliminate black medic weeds from your lawn is to use an herbicide like TZone. While some people prefer to pull black medic weeds or other weeds by hand, it’s a more labor-intensive process. 

What spray kills black medic?

TZone is an effective black medic weed killer that will kill this weed and many other weeds. If you use a non-selective weed killer, be sure it does not come into contact with another plant. Apply it only to the weeds you want to kill. 

How do you get rid of black medic in flower beds?

If black medic weeds have gotten into garden beds and not just the lawn, you can apply your weed killer to only the weeds in question.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

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