Weeds are a common occurrence in most delaware lawns and gardens. While many of them are quite familiar, there may be some that are not. Learning about some of the most common types of weeds can make it easier to eliminate them from the landscape.
Common Delaware Weed: White Clover
White clover is a plant that is either loved or hated by the homeowner. For many gardeners who did not intentionally plant white clover, knowing how to control white clover in lawns and garden beds is helpful. Getting rid of white clover once it is established can be challenging, but it can be done if you have the right tools and patience.
Let’s take a look at how to identify and how to get rid of white clover.
Identifying White Clover
White clover is a perennial weed that grows low to the ground. While it can grow in many different places, it is typically found in lawns, especially sparse lawns where the competition from grass is weak. This perennial lawn weed will gain strength each repeated year and eventually can choke out lawn areas that were intended for grass
The leaves on white clover grow in sets of 3 leaflets. Each leaflet is tear shaped and many have a reddish stripe across it. The flowers on white clover are spiky and white with a brownish green center. White clover grows in a creeping manner and will develop roots where ever a stem node touches the ground.
Keeping a Healthy Lawn is Key
Eliminating white clover starts with a healthy lawn. Clover will grow in areas of low nitrogen and where competition from other plants is small, so making sure that your lawn (and flower beds) are well fertilized will not only help desirable grass and plants to grow and keep out white clover, but will also make the soil less friendly to white clover.
In flower beds, clover can be kept at bay by using a thick layer of mulch. This will keep the seeds from germinating. If white clover is already established in your yard, controlling white clover can either be done through hand pulling or by using an herbicide. In either case, while killing the white clover already in your lawn is easy, you need to understand that killing white clover seeds is not. The seeds can survive high heat, low temperatures and can stay dormant for years before germinating. Whichever method you choose for getting rid of white clover, you can expect to be doing it once a year to control the white clover plants that emerge from the seeds.
Provide Adequate Fertility: Depending what type of turfgrass you have growing in your lawn, you’ll need anywhere from 2-4 lbs. of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet, delivered throughout the year. Clover will thrive in low-fertility soil and your lawn will suffer, so be sure that you are giving your lawn a fighting chance. Fertilizer won’t kill clover, but it will help your lawn to grow more aggressively.
Address Soil Compaction: Clover plants can grow very well in compacted soil, but grass plants will start to thin out and perform poorly there. Core aerating your lawn annually and topdressing at times will help to improve soil structure, making it more suited to turfgrasses and less desirable to clover.
Correct Soil pH: When we find a lawn loaded with clover, we find low soil pH the majority of times. Clover can adapt to all sorts of soil pH, but lawns prefer a soil pH that is fairly neutral, around 6.5-7.0. Taking a soil test for your lawnand adding limestone to address this deficiency will help your lawn to grow thicker, creating more competition for the clover.
Spray Clover with Herbicide: Liquid selective broadleaf weed control will work very well to address clover. Weed controls for clover that are available to the average consumer aren’t always effective, particularly in the instance of granular weed control products. Since the leaves of clover plants are very small it is difficult to get an adequate amount of material on them. Using a professional lawn care service to treat clover throughout the year, and each subsequent year, will be very effective in managing this perennial weed. Just be sure to also address the issues listed above or you may see clover re-growing in your lawn.
These herbicides will kill the white clover, but will also kill any other plants it comes in contact with. Herbicides also may not kill the root system of mature clover, which means that they can grow back. If you decide to use herbicides for getting rid of white clover, the best time to do this is on a warm, cloudless and windless day. Knowing how to get rid of white clover from lawns and flower beds can be a bit tricky, but it can be done. Patience and persistence while getting rid of white clover will pay off.