Clover is a legume that is grown and used as hay for wildlife. Clover can also be grown on the lawn because it is a perennial plant and requires little maintenance and can therefore be a good alternative to grass.
However, most lawn owners consider it a weed and prefer to get rid of it. You can permanently remove clover from the lawn by pulling it manually, adding nitrogen-rich fertilizers, or spraying organic herbicides such as corn gluten, and vinegar.
How to get rid of clover in your lawn safely
For homeowners who prefer a grassy lawn, clover can be a nuisance. Clover is deep-rooted and thrives under harsh conditions, and getting rid of it permanently is hard. Below are ways to remove clover from your lawn without harming the grass.
1. Remove it manually
Clover is a perennial, deep-rooted plant, and pulling it out can be quite challenging. If you do not remove all the roots, the clover will grow back. You can use a spade to loosen the soil or water the area, and then pull out the clover.
2. Using vinegar
Vinegar is a natural weed killer. It is environmentally friendly, meaning it is not a danger if you have kids or pets playing outside.
Mix vinegar, dishwashing soap, and water in a spraying bottle. Spray the mixture on the clover, and if it does not die within a week, you should repeat the process. Be careful not to spray the mixture on the lawn grass because it will kill it too.
3. Corn gluten
Corn gluten kills clover without harming the lawn grass. It works by releasing organic dipeptides into the soil, preventing clover seeds from sprouting.
Sprinkle 20 pounds of corn gluten per 1000 square feet of the lawn. Water the lawn afterward and allow the lawn to dry for 2-3 days for the corn gluten to work. You can repeat the process if the clover does not die with the first application after a month.
4. Cover the clover with a plastic bag
This method is effective only if you have large clover patches and no lawn grass in the middle. The idea is to deprive the clover of oxygen and sunlight.
Cover the clover with a plastic bag and secure the ends so the plastic bag is not blown away by the wind. Cover until the clover dies. Do not cover lawn grass.
5. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer
Clover thrives in nitrogen-poor soil, and adding nitrogen-rich fertilizer will hinder its growth. The fastest way to kill them is to add a fast-release fertilizer. You can also add organic fertilizer, but it will take some time before killing the clover.
Herbicides are the most effective way to kill clover. There are many herbicides on the market, but A.D.I.O.S herbicide works better because it is non-toxic and can be used on a lawn that is frequented by kids and pets.
A.D.I.O.S will also kill other weeds such as ragweed, buckthorn, and poison ivy. Other broadleaf herbicides will also kill clover.
7. Mow grass higher than 3 inches
Cutting grass low is appealing and reduces labor as it gives you more time before the next mow. But mowing higher will prevent weeds from growing.
Taller grass will block sunlight from reaching clover, hindering it from growing and spreading. Mowing higher encourages the growth of a thick turf that chokes weeds.
8. Water properly
Watering too little or too much will also encourage the growth of clover. The right amount of water a lawn needs will depend on the type of grass, the type of soil, and the time of the year.
Clay soil takes longer to drain as compared to sandy soil and therefore should be watered less. Also, during the dry season, the grass requires more water than during the cool or rainy season. Also, adhere to the amount of water recommended for each grass type.
Watering the right way will ensure the grass grows healthy to form a dense turf that will choke clover.
Why do I have so much Clover on my Lawn?
Clover growing on your lawn is not a problem unless you want a grass-only lawn. Clover is a legume and will help to add nitrogen to the soil. It also shuns other weeds and reduces soil erosion. You can also plant clover in your existing lawn to enjoy the same benefits.
However, not everyone is thrilled by clover, and you may wonder why they are growing. Here is why;
1. Low nitrogen levels in the soil
Grass thrives in high-nitrogen soil, and when the levels deplete, the grass will thin and then dry, leaving bare patches on your lawn. Clover, on the other hand, thrives in nitrogen-poor soil and will take advantage of the struggling grass and establish itself quickly in empty spaces.
2. Compacted soil
Compacted soil prevents air, water, and nutrients from reaching the grass roots, causing the grass to thin. Clover thrives in compacted soil and will outgrow the struggling grass. To correct compacted soil, you must do core aeration.
3. Unbalance soil PH
Most grass will do well on a soil PH of 6-7, but clover can still grow even when the PH is between 5 and 8. When the PH rises or drops below what the grass can tolerate, clover takes over and thrives.
4. Mowing too low
Cutting the grass too low may give you more time before the next mow, but it stresses your grass. When you mow higher, the grass is able to recover quickly. To deter weeds such as clover from taking over your lawn, avoid mowing too low. Also, never cut more than ⅓ at one time.
5. Underwatering or overwatering
Similar to the above factors, underwatering will stress the grass, causing it to be thin or dry. Overwatering causes diseases such as root rot, and as the grass suffers, the drought and disease-tolerant clover will thrive.
Clover thrives in nutrient-poor soil. Their growth can also indicate that your soil is compacted, the pH is unbalanced, or you are mowing too low. To kill them without killing grass, you can add nitrogen-rich fertilizers, and herbicides such as A.D.I.O.S, and corn gluten, or pluck them with your hand.