Easy ways to learn how to get rid of clover

The ultimate guide on how to get rid of clover

how to get rid of clover

Have you been struggling to get your lawn looking lush and green? Having a perfectly manicured lawn is a dream for most gardeners and although grass seems easy to maintain there are other plants that can get in the way.

Some gardens are rife with wildflowers and others suffer from too much clover. This can spread across your grass and make it look unsightly. The little white flowers can ruin the greenery and give your grass a patchy look rather than a nice, even tone.

But while there is a lot of advice on telling you how to get rid of clover, some of it contradicts others and it can be confusing.

We’ve put together the ultimate all-you-need-to-know guide so you can rid your grass of this intruder once and for all. We cover pesticides, natural options and other ways you can clear up your backyard and get it looking how you want once and for all.

So if you’ve been trying and failing to get rid of this weed or even if you just want to neaten up the garden, then read on and discover how you can beat this frustrating situation.

What is clover?

Clover is a small, plant which has white blooms. There are about 300 annual and perennial species and they are widespread across the world. You can find clover in almost all of the temperate climates in the world apart from southeast Asia and Australia.

Its technical name is Trifolium and although it is annoying to gardeners, farmers often use clover plants to feed their livestock and it can also be planted as a cover crop.

Bees absolutely love clover and they can produce specialist clover honey. Clover can also be used as a green manure.

bee on red clover flower

A honey bee collecting nectar from red clover flower

This little herb smells lovely when it flowers and as well as white, the blooms can be pink, red or yellow. The fruit inside the flowers only have one or two seeds but they are a very hardy plant so one or two is enough to spread and create more plants.

These plants can be mown over, stood on and survive with little or no natural light.

What natural pests harm clover?

Clover plants are susceptible to alfalfa weevils and a number of foliar diseases, including common leaf rot.

Uses of clover

While it is something gardeners try to get rid of, clover is used for animal feed and it can also be used to improve the quality of soil

It is high in nitrogen which some plants need to thrive so by planting clover on a field you can improve the soil and plant nitrogen-loving crops.

Tools you will need to deal with clover

  • Lawnmower
  • Spray bottle
  • Rake
  • Herbicide
  • Fertilizer
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Vinegar
  • Corn gluten

Step by step: How to get rid of clover

1. Keep your lawn healthy and well-fertilised

Making sure your grass is healthy, well-watered and fertilized will actually keep clover away. This is the best way to tackle clover before it takes root in your soil.

The grass will stop clover growing if it is thick and dense enough. Not having enough nitrogen in your grass will also mean clover will thrive as it is a plant which doesn’t need nitrogen in the soil to survive – it can absorb it from the air.

2. Aerate your soil

An overly compact soil can also mean that clover will appear. Make sure to use a rake to dig holes through your lawn at least once a year to prevent clover growing or kill it off.

You can do this quickly and easily by just taking the rake and punching small holes through your lawn in a pattern from one side to the other. Just make sure you cover the whole of the lawn.

3. Adjust the height of your mower

When you see clover appearing in your lawn, the first reaction might be to set your mower to the shortest setting and hack away. But this can actually damage your lawn and lead to yellow spots.

let the grass grow taller

Raise the mower and let the grass grow taller

Over mowing won’t stop clover growing anyway as it is able to thrive from only a very small root base. To get rid of the herb, just raise the mower and let the grass grow taller.

Longer grass will choke off the clover naturally. Then when it is dead, you can mow the grass down to your preferred height.

4. Manually remove it

Clover spreads very quickly. The roots grow horizontally so it can be tricky to make sure you’ve removed it all. The key to getting rid of clover is speed, the sooner you can remove it the better the chances of stopping the spread.

When you do remove a clover plant make sure to take it from the ground carefully to make sure the roots come with it.

5. Use a herbicide

If you’ve already got a clover problem then you may have to turn to a herbicide to ride your garden of it.

You can use 2,4-D, Mecoprop, Dicamba as a clover killer. These target the broad-leaf weeds and should leave your grass alone so it will continue to thrive.

You should be very careful when using these chemicals however as they can kill off other plants in your garden. They can also harm insects.

6. Rip everything up and start again

If clover is absolutely covering your garden and it doesn’t seem like anything you do is getting rid of it then you can take the dramatic step of ripping up your lawn.

Using a spray bottle, spray the whole area with the herbicide and then use a rotavator or rake to pull the soil over and remove the grass. You can replace it with the fresh lawn but make sure you remove all traces of the clover first.

The bottom line​

So now you have everything you need to get rid of this herb from your lawn. Just remember to be careful when using herbicide and try to remove it manually before you take the final step of pulling up your lawn.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful. Please comment below if you have any tips or advice and share it with your family and friends.

About the Author

I’m Emily and after a ten year career as a journalist I have moved on to share my passion for gardening. While getting out in the garden is one of my favourite hobbies, and helps me de-stress after a long day in the office, I often found myself frustrated at not getting the results I wanted from my plants. Through blogging, I have uncovered the answer to lots of common problems and now I want to share my knowledge with other horticulture enthusiasts.

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