White Clover in Home Lawns
Zac Reicher, Extension Turfgrass Specialist,
Department of Agronomy, Purdue University
The small white flowers of white clover are
very visible right now and it may appear that clover is taking
over your lawn, especially under-fertilized turf areas. Clover
is a legume and is very competitive under low N conditions, so
increasing annual N is best method to help exclude this weed
as well as mowing at 3 inches or higher. However, its spreading
stolons make it difficult to control once it’s
established in a turf because herbicides often have a difficult time
translocating through stolons. Herbicides applied now are
not as effective as fall applications, and so most homeowners are
better off waiting to apply in October. Some professional use products
that are more effective than those available for homeowners, so
you might consider hiring a professional now for this project.
Consider the following if you chose to apply now:
Insure that the clover and grass are well-watered and not under
Avoid making herbicide applications when temperatures
are above 80 degrees F because turf burn is likely and control
will be less effective.
If granular products are used, these must be applied to wet or
Avoid applying when rain is in the forecast for the next 12 hours.
Chose a product containing quinclorac or dicamba, 2,4-D alone
will not control clover effectively.
Plan on making another application this fall for best control.
Click image to enlarge
The flowers of white clover are clearly visible in lower fertility
turf areas. Though herbicide applications made now will help control
clover, fall applications are still preferred for maximum efficacy.
Clover is a legume and prefers competes favorably with turf in
low N lawns. Note the presence of clover in the under-fertilized
off-color portion of this lawn compared to the lack of clover in
the fertilized portion (Not necessarily a good representation of
how to fertilize a lawn however!!!)