Fool-Proof Ways to Get Rid of Clover: Weed-Free Lawn

Kenneth Wilson

If you’re currently dealing with a pesky clover infestation on your lawn, this can be frustrating if you strive for a beautiful, grassy yard. There's no easy way around it – clover weed can be a headache to eliminate. However, this doesn't mean you must destroy your turf to win the war.

We've rounded up some expert-backed ways to control your clover infestation problem without risking your green turfgrass's health.

9 Fool-Proof Ways to Get Rid of Clover


The secret behind how to get rid of clovers on your lawn doesn’t have to remain a mystery. Feel free to give any of these methods a try!

1. Rip it Out: The Manual Way


If your lawn only has several patches of clover, you may opt to pull it out of the ground. Just remove all of the roots so the weed won't come back. This is considered the most straightforward, natural method you can follow to eliminate clovers on the lawn without harming the rest of your grass.

2. Use a Vinegar Mixture


Homeowners looking for a natural remedy (instead of commercial chemicals) may create a vinegar-based mixture to spray on the lawn and kill off pesky clovers. Note that this way may take you a couple of weeks of routine spraying.

Combine one cup of vinegar, water, and dish soap drop in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture, so it blends properly. Then, spray it on the clover-infested patches of your lawn and avoid splashing the surrounding healthy grass. You will need to regularly spray your lawn for the next few weeks before reseeding with a superior grass seed variety.

3. Nitrogen Boost


Simply put, clover loves soils with low nitrogen levels. So if you apply a fertilizer jam-packed with nitrogen content, this may efficiently eliminate the clover patches. Doing so will also stop the spread of existing clover on your lawn. If you do not want to use a commercial fast-release fertilizer, you may use the following organic fertilizers as a substitute:

  • Blood meal
  • Bone meal
  • Cow manure
  • Earthworm castings
  • Guano
  • Liquid kelp

While organic fertilizer is friendlier to the environment, its downside is the lengthy waiting process. You will need to wait for a while before it can kill off the clover on your lawn. Applying organic fertilizers may get the job done if you're dealing with small clover patches. But if the problem is rather severe, you may need to consider using standard fertilizer.

Meanwhile, fast-release fertilizer provides ease of application as you can easily apply it to the problem areas– but it may affect the soil quality over time. It would be best to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine the best course of action when removing four-leaf clovers on your lawn.

4. Use a Herbicide


One fool-proof way to get rid of clovers on your lawn is to use broadleaf herbicides. These are formulated with strong chemicals such as Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, Mecoprop, and Dicamba, which hinder the growth patterns of clovers and other weeds.

Though these herbicides are safe for the surrounding grass, they may affect specific garden plants and beneficial insects. Experts recommend spotting treat the clover-infested areas to ensure the best results.

Pro tip: When purchasing a store-bought solution, prioritize herbicides with ingredients like dicamba and glyphosate. These pre-emergent herbicides can help you stop your lawn clover problem before it even starts.

5. Use Corn Gluten Meal


Corn gluten meal contains dipeptides, organic compounds that kill off unwanted clover as it grows on your lawn. Apply 20 lbs. of corn gluten meal per 1,000 sq. ft. of your yard before watering the soil adequately. It is crucial to enable the moisture to seep into the ground to get the desired effects.

6. Smother the Clover (Covering)


Smothering the weed by depriving it of the necessary sunlight and air it needs will kill it over the next several weeks. You can cover the patches with a plastic sheet or a garbage bag. Anchor down the sides of the sheet so it won't get blown away by strong winds.

7. Mow the Lawn Higher


Another simple yet effective method of eliminating clovers on the lawn is to set your regular mowing height to three or more inches. Leaving your grass a bit taller will keep clover from sprouting and taking over your yard, as it ideally needs short grass to thrive.

8. Water Properly


Another way to discourage clover from taking over a lawn is to maintain ideal moisture levels. A turf that is too wet is suitable for weed seed germination, and stressed-out, thirsty grass will also invite the growth of unwanted weeds. You will need to strike a balance AKA determine the right amount of water for your particular soil and grass species. Experts suggest watering your lawn thoroughly at least once or twice a week.

9. Reseed the Lawn after Clover Removal


To prevent the pesky clover from reappearing on your lawn, opt to reseed your property immediately. Additionally, introduce a healthy layer of mulch and high-quality fertilizer to encourage healthy new grass growth. Clover (and other common lawn weeds) will have fewer opportunities to sprout and thrive if you have a healthy lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Should I always get rid of clover?

Clover is not a problem all the time. Keeping or planting some clover in your yard can have some advantages. It is low-maintenance, beneficial to the environment, attracts pollinators, fixes nitrogen levels in the soil, and more. You may enjoy a lush lawn all year long with clover. It would be worth preserving and adding the clover to your usual grass seed if you don't mind other bees buzzing around.

How long does it take for clover to establish in the lawn?

Clover will germinate and start actively growing in 7 to 15 days if the weather is warm.

What will kill clover but not grass?

A selective herbicide can eliminate clover and other weeds while grass remains unharmed. Apply non-selective herbicides cautiously since they can harm any plants they come into contact with. Spot treating weeds rather than broadly applying chemical weed killers is a good option, even when using a selective herbicide.

How do I identify clover?

White clover, red clover, and strawberry clover are the three varieties of clover you are most likely to see in your yard. (Related: 15 Different Types of Weeds That Grows In Florida Lawns)

  • White clover (Trifolium Repens): The most common clover seen on lawns is white clover, a hardy, low-growing species. White clover spreads and develops swiftly. White to pink are the shades of its florets.
  • Red clover (Trifolium Pratense): Red clover is taller and bushier than white clover. Its floret colors range from magenta to rose.
  • Strawberry clover (Trifolium Fragiferum): White and strawberry clover are similar. However, strawberry clover has smaller white or pink flowers than the florets on white clover.

Why is clover taking over my backyard?

Increasing clover might indicate that your grass needs more care. Make sure you're adequately watering your lawn. Broadleaf weeds are attracted to thirsty grass, which stresses out your turfgrass. With this, you must check to see if your lawn has any of the following issues if you suddenly notice clover plants growing in your yard:

  • Low nitrogen levels: While grass need soil rich in nitrogen to thrive, clover does well on the nitrogen-deficient ground. To increase nitrogen levels without lowering soil quality, use organic fertilizer or cornmeal.
  • Compacted soil: Similarly, compacted soil may not provide the best conditions for grass growth, but clover can sustain it. If you believe your soil to be compacted, aerating will help to loosen it.
  • Unbalanced soil pH: Most lawns prefer a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Strawberry clover can grow in soil with a pH range of 5.3 to 8.2 and red clover in soil with a pH higher than 7. Test your soil and make the required adjustments to give your grass a chance.
Kenneth Wilson
July 25, 2022
Contractor Tips, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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