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How to Kill Red Clover

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Remove red clover plants from your garden and flowerbeds.
lovely flower of hop-clover image by alri from Fotolia.com

Red clover, like other varieties of clover, enriches existing soil with nutrients. This cover crop protects the soil from erosion, while providing forage for wildlife and livestock. Farmers often grow red clover to increase the amount of nitrogen and to reduce the need for other types of expensive fertilizers. Because red clover readily reproduces and spreads by means of seed distribution, these blossoming plants may invade your lawn, vegetable garden and flower bed.

Pull small areas of red clover out of flowerbeds and vegetable gardens. Remove these weeds when young to avoid reseeding and the likelihood of invasive growth. Lightly water your garden soil the evening before weeding to loosen the soil. Pull out the entire plant, including the root system, by grasping the stems near the surface of the soil and pulling upwards. Regular weeding removes small sections of red clover, as well as other types of invasive weeds in garden areas.

Apply an herbicide to large areas of stubborn red clover. Select an herbicide that contains dicamba. This chemical effectively kills red clover stands and reduces the reappearance of these plants. This chemical kills more red clover than the herbicides containing glyphosate. Use dicamba herbicides early in the year for the best results. Mix and apply the herbicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not allow the herbicide to contact other types of desirable plants or groundcovers.

Till under your stand of red clover after the herbicide kills the plants. Wait about a week for the plants to turn brown and shrivel. Integrate the treated and destroyed plants into your existing soil to increase the level of nitrogen in your soil. Use a garden tiller on large areas or turn small sections of soil with a sturdy garden shovel. Mix the soil with the dead vegetation. Pull out any remaining weeds or living clover as you till the soil. Remove these plants from your garden area to prevent new growth. Rake the surface area clean to remove any remaining traces of the red clover plants from your site.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Herbicide
  • Garden tiller
  • Shovel
  • Rake

Tip

  • Always apply herbicides on calm, dry days.

Warning

  • Avoid planting soybeans in soil recently treated with herbicides containing dicamba. This chemical may reduce the growth and yield of soybean plants.

About the Author

 

Laura Wallace Henderson, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She has served as the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." She continues to empower and encourage women everywhere by promoting health, career growth and business management skills.