WSU Extension

Hortsense

Weeds : Clover : Trifolium spp.
(revision date: 10/14/2016)

Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Cycle: Various
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Biology
Clovers, depending on species, may be annuals or perennials. Typically, clovers are fairly low-growing, herbaceous plants. The leaves are divided into three leaflets which are attached to the petiole at or near the same point. Blossoms usually occur in ball-like clusters (sometimes in clusters of just a few flowers) and may be pink, red, white, or yellow, depending on the clover species. In lawns, clovers can form dense patches, crowding out turfgrasses. They do not withstand traffic well. Clovers can also be desirable plants in lawns due to their nitrogen-fixing ability. Increases in clover may indicate soils are low in nitrogen. Bees are attracted to the blossom.
Habitat
Clovers commonly grow in fields, meadows, and other sites on well-drained soils. They may be included in seed mixes for lawns, but are sometimes considered to be lawn weeds.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Fertilizing the grass will help it outcompete clover, which produces its own nitrogen.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label directions. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! Control of perennial clover species is more difficult than annual species. It may take several applications of some products to control clover. NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • glufosinate
Turf areas
  • products containing MCPP
  • triclopyr
  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • triclopyr
Images
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Caption: Clover flowers
Photo by: R. Parker
Caption: White clover
Photo by: R. Parker
Caption: White clover leaves and flowers
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Red clover
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Red clover flowerhead
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Rabbitfoot clover seedhead
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Rabbitfoot clover flowers
Photo by: R. Parker