How To Get Rid of Clover In Lawns (Kill & Eliminate Clover)

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Written By: Mark Marino

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

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Clover is among the most common broadleaf weeds in residential and commercial lawns. It is a perennial weed with many species, with hop, red, and white clover being the most common. I spray this weed throughout the growing season with End Run with Trimec, but other selective herbicides containing 2,4-D and Triclopyr will work just fine. I recommended using a surfactant since the leaves on these weeds tend to be small, and herbicides can run off quickly.

  • Clover produces its own and adds nitrogen to the soil.
  • Clover is a desirable and sought-after weed in organic lawns.
  • A pre-emergent containing prodiamine or pendimethalin can help stop future crops.
  • NOTE: Mow the flowers off the clovers 1-2 days before spraying to help limit the harm to pollinators.

One of the most common weeds that grow in cool-season lawn and turfgrass is white clover. Characterized by the white flowers that grow from the stem, these weeds flourish in under-nourished lawns and can turn a beautiful lawn into a mess in no time. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the popular weed, how to kill clover in your lawn grass and what to do if you find clover in your lawn. Read on for more information and other weed control tips:

Clover Identification

It’s fairly easy to know whether or not you have clover growing in your lawn grass. The clover weed is characterized by rounded three-piece leaves and a white flower head. The perennial weed is common in cool-season lawn grasses and can quickly expand into the surrounding grass if it’s not treated promptly and correctly.

One of the reasons why clover is such a pesky weed is because it produces its own nitrogen. Generally speaking, this means that it can create its own fertilizer. This allows it to thrive and harm the surrounding grass – especially in lawns that are under-nourished or don’t have a proper weed control plan in place.

How To Eliminate Clover

Though it is possible to remove clover from your lawn by hand, it’s far easier to apply a 3-way herbicide to combat clover and keep your lawn healthy. There are plenty of herbicides that can do the trick, including organic weed killer options that will target clover but not jeopardize your overall lawn health. Such broadleaf herbicides are best used for spot treatment purposes.

It’s important to enact such clover control measures as soon as you notice it. Doing so helps prevent the spread of clover plants and helps maintain a beautiful lawn.

There are a few other ways to eliminate clover. One is by mixing vinegar with dish soap and spraying any clover patches on the lawn. You can also cover it with plastic sheeting or a garbage bag to deprive it of the oxygen and sunlight it needs to grow.

After clover is eliminated, you may have to fill in any bare spots in the lawn with grass seed.

How To Prevent Clover

Like we noted in the above section, clover tends to thrive in cool-season grass species and in lawns that are under-nourished. Noting this, there are a few tried and true ways to prevent clover flowers and other broadleaf weeds from growing in your yard:

Improve your soil

Poor soil is likely to lead to clover and the growth of other weeds. Improving the quality of your soil will also improve the health of the grass that’s rooting in it and help prevent weeds from forming.

Fertilize your lawn

Fertilizing your lawn is one of the best ways to improve its root health, protect the soil and prevent weeds from forming. Most lawns are best treated with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer up to four times a year – early spring, early summer, late summer, and fall – for best results. There are several quality organic fertilizers to select from.

Use a pre-emergent or corn gluten meal

Pre-emergents work to control weeds before they’re able to form. They’re best applied in the early spring and fall.

How to Control Clover

There are various further measures you can enact to control and prevent a clover lawn. These include:

  • Mowing high: Clover grows low to the ground. Adjusting your lawn care routine so you cut your grass at a higher height can help snuff out sunlight and prevent it from growing.
  • Take measures to prevent it from growing: In addition to mowing your lawn high, be sure to follow many of the tips we listed in this post, such as treating it with a pre-emergent, using a natural fertilizer and administering a herbicide at the first sign of clover growth.
  • Make sure your lawn is getting plenty of water: As we noted earlier, clover tends to flourish in under-nourished lawns. Your lawn needs anywhere from 1.5 to 2 inches of water per week to thrive. Additionally, apply grass seed to fill in bare areas where there’s no grass.

White Clover FAQs

What other weeds look like clover?

Oxalis is often confused with white clover. While clover is characterized by white flowers, there are similar broadleaf leaves with dark pink flowers and yellow flowers. Red clover is another similar type of weed.

What is the best weed killer for clover?

While many herbicides will do the trick, we tend to prefer organic solutions that won’t harm the surrounding grass.

How do I kill clover on my lawn?

One of the best things you can do is notice clover early. This allows you to treat it with a herbicide or pull it out by hand before the root system can become too much of a problem.

Is clover in grass a weed?

Yes, clover is definitely not grass, despite its green color. It should be treated accordingly at the first sign of it to prevent a clover problem.

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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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