Weeds, including clover, are opportunists, taking advantage of open spaces in thin, weak stands of turf. This segment discusses steps to remove clover from your yard, so that you can have a dense, healthy, and vigorous lawn.

Produced by K-State Research and Extension. For more information, visit our website at: http://kansasgreenyards.org

Controlling Clover in Your Lawn

What we have here is a patch of white clover. White clover is in the bean family, and these types of plants typically fix nitrogen. They’ll take nitrogen out of the air, and put nitrogen into the soil. So, commonly we’ll see yards that have been under fertilized, or not fertilized properly – they’ll contain a fair amount of clover.

Once you have the clover, you’ll need to use an herbicide to get rid of it. Then, to prevent the clover from coming back, you’ll need to maintain adequate fertilizer in your yard.

The common three-way herbicides that you’ll find at your garden center can be effective at controlling clover, but usually it will take several repeat applications. Herbicides that contain the active ingredient triclopyr will be much more effective at controlling clover in the yard.

You can recognize clover by the three-leaf clover shape pattern. Other weeds that look similar to clover are black medic and oxalis. It used to be common to mix clover in a turf grass stand. It was thought that the clover would absorb the nitrogen from the air and help feed the turf grass. And, the two could co-exist together. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way. Usually it ends up with what we have here – a patch of clover and grass surrounding it. The two don’t necessarily co-mingle together. So generally, we don’t recommend mixing clover and turf grass together as a desired lawn species.

For a little patch like this, it might be just as easy to take small shovel or spade, and dig this patch up. Then transfer some sod back into this place, or re-establish this area from grass seed. You don’t always have to use a chemical control to remove your weeds. A mechanical control on a small patch like this will work just fine.

This feature story prepared with Rodney St.John, former Kansas State University Research and Extension Turfgrass Specialist. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

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