Some homeowners like clover in their lawn, but many don’t. If white clover is springing up and creeping out in patches in your yard, there are several ways you can get rid of it. If you’re interested in going green, there’s good news—you don’t have to use harsh chemicals. There are a number of simple ways to get rid of clover in your lawn naturally.
This Old House has rounded up the best methods for getting rid of clover in your lawn naturally, some of which won’t even harm your grass. Once you’ve eradicated your clover problem, The This Old House Reviews Team recommends hiring a professional lawn care company to keep your lawn healthy, hardy, and robust—much less likely to attract clover. We recommend TruGreen, an industry leader that offers five annual programs and a la carte services.
How to Get Rid of Clover Naturally
Here are the top ways to eliminate clover in your lawn the natural way:
1. Pull It Out By Hand
For small patches, you can remove the clover manually. Gently loosen the soil with a spade and tug the clover out, roots and all. If you leave any roots behind, the clover will grow back.
2. Deprive It of Oxygen and Sunlight
You can kill clover by blocking it from all oxygen and sunlight. Take plastic sheeting or a garbage bag and place it over the patch, securing the corners with rocks to make sure it doesn’t fly up. This should get rid of the clover in a few weeks. Be mindful that this approach will also kill any grass that gets under the plastic.
3. Spray a Vinegar Solution
Create your own non-toxic weed killer with this natural home remedy.
- Mix one cup of vinegar with a cup of water and one drop of dish soap.
- Shake it up and spray it onto any patches of clover. The vinegar will dry out the clover’s leaves, and the dish soap will make sure it sticks.
- You may need to spray over a series of weeks to kill off the clover completely. Unfortunately, the vinegar can damage grass, so spray the solution carefully.
4. Apply an Organic Herbicide
You can apply A.D.I.O.S. which is a selective, organic herbicide that will kill clover but not harm surrounding grass. Simply spray it on clover, and the weed will weaken and die.
How to Prevent Clover in Your Lawn
There are a number of ways you can prevent clover from growing in your lawn in the first place.
Spread Organic Fertilizer
Using organic, slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer will make your lawn less hospitable to clover. Some homeowners prefer traditional, fast-release fertilizer because it grows grass quickly and costs less. However, using organic fertilizer will lead to healthier growth in the long run. Common organic fertilizers include cow manure, guano, blood meal, bone meal, earthworm castings, and liquid kelp.
Use Corn Meal Gluten
Corn meal gluten releases organic peptides into your soil, preventing the clover’s growth. This won’t work on existing clover, but will prevent new seeds from sprouting—indiscriminately, so be careful not to use this method if you’ve recently reseeded your lawn.
Luckily, this measure won’t harm existing nearby grass. You can purchase corn gluten meal at your local garden store or online.
Mow Grass High
Clover grows best in grass less than 3 inches tall. This height stresses your grass, making it easier for clover to spread. Mowing your grass high gives it an advantage, making it easier for it to outcompete the clover.
What’s Causing Clover in My Lawn?
There are multiple reasons you could have clover sprouting up in your lawn, most of which have to do with your soil.
- Wrong Soil pH: The ideal soil pH—how alkaline or acidic the soil is—for most lawns is between 6.0 and 7.0. If your lawn’s soil is too acidic, it will be harder for grass to grow, and much easier for clover. Luckily, you can use soil amendments like lime to balance out the pH.
- Poor Nitrogen Levels: Clover thrives in soil with poor nitrogen levels. Grass needs nitrogen in the soil to grow well, while clover can obtain the nitrogen it needs from the air, effectively making its own fertilizer. Your soil may be low in nitrogen because you’ve used too much fast-acting fertilizer. While they promote rapid grass growth, they can ultimately lower your soil quality. Switching to organic fertilizer like manure or corn meal can help you avoid this.
- Compacted soil: Compacted soil prevents your grass from getting the nutrients—including nitrogen—air, and water it needs. Luckily, you can break up compaction with a core or spike aerator.
Why You May Want to Keep Clover in Your Lawn
You may not like the look of clover, but it can actually benefit your lawn.
- Natural Fertilizer: Clover’s symbiotic relationship with beneficial bacteria allows it to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere. Ultimately, it can make your lawn greener and more lush. However, this will keep it growing and outcompeting your grass.
- Weed Prevention: Mowing your lawn high will prevent weeds from growing, including clover. But if you like short, neat grass that’s under 3 inches, letting clover flourish is a solid option. Clover’s leaves cast shade over the soil, making it hard for other weeds to take root and grow and compete with your grass.
Professional Lawn Care
TruGreen does not offer natural weed control, but with its TruNatural Lawn Care Plan, it offers natural fertilization, which can keep clover from growing in the first place. The lawn care company also offers five different annual programs and a variety of a la carte services so that you can customize your lawn care for your lawn’s unique needs. To get a free quote, call (866) 817-2287 or fill out this easy form.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will kill clover but not grass?
A.D.I.O.S. selective organic weed control kills weeds but does not harm lawn grasses, as does corn gluten meal.
Should I get rid of clover in my lawn?
There are several reasons you may want to keep clover in your lawn. Due to its symbiotic relationship with bacteria, clover acts as a natural fertilizer. Clover gets its nitrogen from the air and releases it into the soil. Another benefit? Clover outcompetes other weeds. So instead of something unwanted and unsightly, you could have clover.
How do you control clover?
You can control fertilizer with proper fertilization, mowing high, applying corn gluten meal or a vinegar solution, hand-pulling it, depriving it of oxygen and sunlight, hitting it with an organic pre-emergent herbicide, or using a traditional herbicide.
Why is clover taking over my lawn?
Clover can take over your lawn in the right conditions—low grass, the wrong soil pH, compacted soil, and poor nitrogen levels are excellent growing conditions for clover.
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