Clover is a weed that can be difficult to identify and control due to its widespread distribution. It is an invasive species of weed that can be found in many lawns.
This blog post will show you how to identify clover, get rid of it using different methods, and keep it away from your yard for good!
What Is Clover?
Clover is the common name if the plant species Trifolium – Latin for “three leaves”. There are about 300 subspecies of clover, including Trifolium Repens, or White Clover, and Trifolium Pratense, or Red Clover.
There are many benefits that clover plants have, particularly in wild areas. For example, clover is foraged by many species wildlife such as bears, birds, and other game animals. In fact, the main reason it was introduced to North America from its native habitat in Europe and Asia was as a forage crop to feed grazing animals.
It is also good for pollination; bumblebees are most efficient at pollinating it, but honeybees can as well.
Native Americans used to eat the clover plant both raw as well as cooked; they would also dry and smoke the roots. The blossoms’ seeds were used as an ingredient in making bread. You can also make tea using the blossoms.
In the British Isles and Ireland, clovers are associated with good luck, and the Shamrock good-luck symbol associated with St. Patrick is traditionally pictured as a four-leaf clover.
How and Where Does Clover Grow?
Clover is able to grow in a great range of climates and different soils. It grows freely and abundantly in many different conditions, and is very recoverable in that it can regrow just as thick and strong after multiple mowings.
It is usually found in meadows or near fences. Clover spreads by seeds, rootstocks, and/or rhizomes, which means it can grow just about anywhere! The seeds are dispersed not only by the wind, but also by sticking to the clothes and shoes of passerby and by being carried by animals.
It’s hardy, fast-growing, and thrives in moist soil conditions. However, it is also able to survive drought conditions through hibernation, and can grow in dry soil as well. This ability to grow in many conditions including dry soil or wet soil makes it hard to control because there isn’t one specific way that works best for killing it off. It is most typically found during the spring season, but can grow all the year round.
How Can You Identify Clover?
If you spot the first signs of this pesky plant on your property, do not delay in getting rid of it immediately. Here are some specifics traits to look out for.
Clover leaves are typically three-lobed (leaflets) instead of five like most other plants. These leaves look like little hearts. Each plant has three stems.
Clover has many small flowers that grow at the top of their stems. White Clover has white flowers that make it easy to spot. Red Clover, on the other hand, has red or pink flowers. These flowers, besides their colors, are very similar in terms of the amount and size of the petals.
If you are specifically looking for tips on how to get rid of White Clover from your lawn, we have a separate post about that.
How Can You Get Rid of Clover From Your Yard?
Now that you can identify clover by its growing habits and physical traits, you know whether or not it is growing in your lawn. If it is, and if you want to get rid of it, there are many ways to do so.
You may use chemical methods or organic methods; both have their pros and cons. Ultimately it’s up to you which method works best for your needs and lifestyle.
You can use a chemical herbicide such as Roundup®, which comes in different forms such as sprayer bottle, granules for places where the weed cannot be reached by spraying (under trees), and ready-to-use liquids for spot treatments or broad applications. A great RoundUp to use is the RoundUp Poison Ivy Plus Weed Killer.
Other herbicides that use glyphosate as a primary ingredient are effective at eliminating clover from your backyard. One great weed killer with glyphosate is the Compare-N-Save Concentrate.
Chemicals can be used if the infestation is large enough, but they will kill other plants in your lawn as well so watch out for this. Additionally, whenever you use chemical-based herbicides, be sure to wear safety clothing and gloves, and to use proper equipment. It is also a very good idea to read the label thoroughly before each use.
If you have small patches or spots of weeds growing on your property, try first pulling them up by hand before spraying it all with herbicide. Pulling out weeds by hand before they go too deep into your lawn is a very effective solution, but you have to do it before the clover grows multiple leaves and flowers.
At this point, their root system will be too weak to hold them down against any significant amount of force. You can use a small hand shovel, hoe, or your hands.
There are some other natural methods, like using boiling water mixed with salt to kill the plants. Boiling water kills the plants because it penetrates deep into their roots; simply add a few tablespoons of salt to a pot of boiling water and then pour it directly on the clover as a spot treatment.
You can also use vinegar or ammonia, but these substances may kill other plants as well.
Using corn gluten meal is another possible solution. The catch, though, is that it must be applied before the clover flowers and sets seeds for two years in a row to work properly.
How Can You Prevent Clover From Growing?
To prevent the spread of this invasive weed in future years, you will need to take certain precautions. By following our tips on how to identify clover as well as prevent its growth in your yard, you should have no problem keeping it out of any areas of your property!
One good preventative measure is to reduce or eliminate your mowing. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the best way to prevent clover from growing is not to cut the grass often. This will keep the light out of the grass, which will make it harder for clover seeds to take root and sprout. If and when you do mow, raise your cutting deck to its highest setting.
Make sure you fertilize your lawn during any dormant periods, as this can help give your grass a boost and make it stronger against invasive weeds. Be sure to only fertilize after the first frost of the season and any time during winter before significant growth occurs.
You can also keep mulch around trees or shrubs; it will prevent seeds from sprouting near these plants.
Clover is a hardy plant that can grow anywhere, and it can invade your lawn and garden as an unwanted weed. It is a weed that can be difficult to get rid of, but there are many ways you can try.
In this article we have described how clover weeds grow and how to identify them, as well as how to remove them using a variety of different options.
We hope these helpful hints will help keep your backyard looking beautiful all season long!