Conquering Clover on Your Lawn: 5 Strategies to Regain Control

Dealing with the persistent challenger, white clover, in your lawn? Fear not! Uncover five fundamental techniques to eliminate its spread and ensure a lush, weed-free turf.

1. Start with a Healthy Lawn

Here's a secret clover doesn't want you to know: it can't compete with robust, healthy grass. A thriving lawn will outpace all types of weeds, including white clover. When growing in well-nourished soil with ample water, grass will spread vigorously. Maintaining your lawn at the right height, around 3 inches, helps it grow into clover patches, overshadowing and eventually eliminating them.

2. Boost Your Turf with Nitrogen

Fertilizing your lawn is a potent way to limit clover growth, often eliminating it entirely. Lawns invaded by white clover typically grow in nitrogen-deficient soil. While clover can collect nitrogen from the atmosphere, grass can't match this feat. Give your grass the upper hand by providing nitrogen fertilizer.

For a quick impact, opt for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers designed for lawns. Synthetic fertilizers are fast-acting and easy to apply, but be cautious not to overuse them, as improper application can harm the environment. Alternatively, a natural approach involves spreading a thin layer of well-decomposed compost on your lawn in early spring and fall.

3. Consider Herbicides in the Fall

Broadleaf herbicides can effectively eradicate white clover, but timing matters. While you might be tempted to apply herbicides when clover is lush in spring or summer, research indicates that fall is the most effective time. Treat your lawn when there's no rain expected for at least 24 hours and avoid immediate mowing before or after application.

4. Weigh the Costs

Controlling clover comes with financial and environmental considerations. Evaluate both factors when deciding on an action plan. Costs can vary significantly based on whether you apply fertilizers or herbicides yourself or hire a professional lawn care service. Obtain quotes from reputable providers to make an informed decision.

5. Rethink Your Landscape

Is a dense, uniform grass carpet a non-negotiable for your landscape? If not, consider alternative approaches. Bee-friendly lawns, combining grass varieties (such as fine fescue and Kentucky bluegrass) with flowering plants like white clover, offer an eco-friendly, visually appealing alternative. While not as pristine as traditional lawns, mixed-species lawns bring numerous environmental benefits and create an inviting, lush gathering space.