Clover is a perennial broadleaf plant often found in lawns, fields, and meadows. It can be grown in deer food plots and as ground cover, but since it can take over your lawn with its small flowers and petal-shaped leaves, it is often considered a nuisance weed.
Clover is relatively easy to identify. Each stem has three small petal-shaped leaves that are about a half-inch long with a white “v” or crescent on each leaf. White clover, which normally blooms between early spring and late fall, has small white or pink flowers. The blooms form a spherical cluster that look like a ball of white pearls. Clover is a low-growing plant with a shallow root system and it does not tolerate drought conditions well.
If you currently have clover in your lawn, you can treat it with a broadleaf post-emergent herbicide. Select an herbicide that is labeled for control of clover and is safe to use on your grass type. While applications can be made throughout the spring, summer or fall growing season, fall weed killer treatments tend to be more effective.
Applying pre-emergent herbicides in both the spring and fall will help prevent clover from taking over your lawn. Clover seeds begin germinating in the fall and continue throughout the winter and early spring months. Pre-emergents prevent weed seeds from growing, making application timing very important. Fall pre-emergent applications should be made before the first frost occurs. Apply spring pre-emergents after the ground has thawed from winter but before soil temperatures reach 55 degrees.
Maintaining a healthy lawn will help keep your lawn clover-free.
One of the key factors for clover taking hold in your lawn is under-fertilization. Soil that is lower in nitrogen creates an ideal growing environment for clover. If you see clover, there is a good chance the soil is lacking Nitrogen.
The best long-term defense for preventing clover from growing in your lawn is a sufficient and proper fertilization. A soil test can tell you exactly what nutrients your soil has and what it lacks, and help you determine which fertilizer to apply. Fall applications are especially helpful in preventing clover the following year.
Proper drainage, good mowing practices, and irrigation are also all extremely important to maintain during the year. The healthier your lawn is, the less likely clover and other weeds will take hold in your lawn.
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