White clover is an invasive weed found across North America in lawns, gardens, fields, roadsides, and other areas where turfgrass does not dominate the landscape year round. It can spread rapidly, particularly if watered frequently either by rainfall or an over-zealous gardener, which makes it difficult to eradicate once it becomes established.
However, you find this weed taking over your lawn, there are a few different steps you can take to get rid of it. Read on to learn about identifying and getting rid of this annoying lawn weed!
What Is White Clover Exactly?
White Clover, Trifolium repens, is a subspecies of Clover, and one of the most common types of the weed you will find. It is sometimes also called Dutch Clover or Ladino Clover. It is found natively in Europe and central Asia, and is widespread throughout the British Isles, and it has been introduced into all of the other continents and now grows all over the world.
It was largely introduced into non-native lands as a forage crop for grazing livestock to feed on. It has been called the most important forage legume plant of temperate climates and countries. It is also valuable for companion planting and green manure.
Additionally, bees frequently visit these plants as a welcome and helpful source for nectar.
In these ways, White Clover is a positive weed in many cases, but for those who want a weed-free lawn, it can still be a pest!
How Does White Clover Grow and Where?
White Clover is a type of perennial plant that favors cool climates and often grows close to the ground as a weed or even invasive species in some parts of the world. It’s most commonly found during the spring months but can grow year-round if conditions are right.
Individual plants are small, but they quickly spread out to cover large parts of turf-grass lawns. White Clover grows best in moist soils; however it can survive drought conditions by going dormant during dry times.
White clover will reproduce by seed, creeping rootstocks, or division in spring or fall. It primarily spreads via rootstocks as well as seeds dispersed by wind and water erosion from nearby infested areas. Seeds spread not only through wind dispersal but also by sticking to shoes or clothing while walking across infested areas. The plant spreads quickly because each little seed has four embryos inside making germination very easy.
What Does White Clover Look Like?
You may be wondering what exactly White Clover is and why it looks like little patches of snow in your lawn. After all, identification is the first step to eliminating it from your garden.
White clover, also known as Dutch clover, is most commonly identified by its white flower heads. This is why it can look like snow or like little tufts of cotton have taken over your yard. These flowers are generally less than an inch wide and are usually found 8 inches or less off the ground. The white heads can be tinged with pink or cream. These flowers bloom from May until October.
White Clover has leaves growing along its stem consisting of three leaflets like other plants in the legume family (beans, peas), meaning it is a trifoliate (it has three leaflets per leaf). These leaves resemble clover but they only have one stem per plant rather than the three stems of true clover (white or otherwise) found in your lawn.
How To Eliminate White Clover From Your Garden
Once you identify that what is growing in your garden is indeed White Clover you can begin to determine what steps you need to take to eradicate it. There are a few different ways that White Clover can be eliminated, both organic methods and chemical-based methods.
We recommend using an organic approach first before resorting to more harsh measures if necessary. Organic options include pulling up plants by hand or spraying them with vinegar which will kill off any new growths within 48 hours without harming beneficial insects or pollinators who also call your yard home!
One way to stop white clover from growing is by pulling them up while they’re still small plants with just one leaf each – their root systems will have not yet developed enough power to fight against being pulled out without any trouble. You can use your hand or a small hand shovel. If left alone longer than two weeks, however, then these weeds may become too large and start developing deep roots which makes it much more difficult to pull up the entire plant at once.
Vinegar is also a helpful organic pesticide that can be used to kill off white clover as well as other weeds. White vinegar is best as it doesn’t have a strong smell and will not damage lawns or soil, rather it is an organic weed killer. Spraying the vinegar directly on the leaves of white clover will kill them within 48 hours.
This method should be used to target new weeds as it will not have the same effect on already established plants, which are more difficult to eliminate.
If you cannot use organic ways to kill off the white clover in your garden, or if it is too mature and well-established, then a weed killer or herbicide would be the best course of action.
The best way to control white clover is to prevent its spread into your yard or garden through the use of pre-emergent herbicides. A non-selective herbicide with glyphosate as an active ingredient will work very well for killing the white clover. For example, this Compare-N-Save Concentrate is a great option.
After applying this herbicide, it is important to wait about 2 weeks before planting edible plants like vegetables or flowers to make sure all of the chemicals have evaporated and will not be carried over to your garden. Try to apply the weed killer on a calm, still day with no rain forecasted over the next few days.
There are dangers associated with herbicides and glyphosate , so be sure to use caution and always carefully read the full set of directions when using this type of weed killer.
How Does One Stop White Clover Before It Grows?
Both getting rid of White Clover and preventing it from reoccurring starts with a healthy, full lawn. The best protection you can give your lawn from this weed is by first making it thick, lush, and actively growing. This means you need to mow your lawn consistently and fertilize it on a regular basis.
In addition to mowing and fertilizing, aerating or de-thatching provides open space for grass roots to go down and grow strong. This not only allows for healthy root growth but also gives the lawn room to out-compete weeds like White Clover for nutrients in your soil beneath it.
White clover is a weed that has the potential to be quite problematic in your garden. It has been shown to grow well on lawns, pastures, meadows, forest edges, roadsides and other disturbed ground where grasses would not thrive. It can grow and spread quickly, so it’s important you take care of this pesky plant before it becomes an issue.
Luckily there are several ways to get rid of white clover for good! You can use organic methods or chemical methods depending on what works best for you and your property. Good luck and happy gardening!