Although clover can be part of a healthy lawn, the gardening community has been advocating clover removal for about 50 years, according to "Anchorage Daily News." In the past, lawn mixes used to consist of up to 20 percent clover. Whether you want to keep or kill clover, therefore, is a matter of personal preference. To kill clover effectively, you can choose from several methods.
For small patches of clover, remove by pulling by hand. For larger groups of clover, use a thatch rake to remove it. A thatch rake has semi-circular blades and removes the parts of the clover that grow above the ground. Then pull out the roots by hand or with a tool such as a hand cultivator or a dandelion fork. A weed eater is another useful mechanical method to remove ground clover.
Chemical Clover Killers
Ground clover is not easily removed without chemicals, especially stubborn clover that reappears each year. Weed killers specifically designed for clover may be found at your local garden center. For persistent clover, "The Roanoke Times" recommends using a weed killer with Dicamba as the active ingredient. Other chemicals that will kill ground clover include glyphosate and 2, 4-D ester. These various active ingredients may work best on specific clover types, so check the product label instructions.
Killing Clover in the Fall
Kill ground clover in the fall because the seeds from the previous blooming season begin to germinate during this season. These new seeds are more vulnerable to various clover-killing methods. If your clover reappears every year, continue your clover removal methods every fall for six to eight years. If you allow ground clover to remain in the fall, the winter frost may kill it, depending on your climate.
Killing Clover in the Spring
If you have crimson clover and intend to use the area where it currently grows for planting crops, you may benefit from killing clover in the spring. Crimson clover produces nitrogen, which may help crops thrive. If there is little rainfall during the spring, kill the clover in early spring to maximize the amount of water the next crop gets. If there is normal or high levels of rainfall, kill crimson clover about one week before planting new crops.
- "Anchorage Daily News"; If Clover Bugs You, Kill It Without Chemicals; Jeff Lowenfels; July 2008
- "The Roanoke Times"; White Clover Can Take Years to Eliminate; John Arbogast; November 2005
- Michigan State University; Controlling Cover Crops; Dale R. Mutch, et al.
- Michigan State University; Crimson Clover; Michel A. Cavigelli, et al.