Why Is There A Lot Of Clover In Your Lawn
Clover tends to proliferate most on lawns with depleted or otherwise inappropriately maintained soil.
This is because clover is able to create its own fertilizer, something Ill get into later in this article.
Other things that can cause your soil to be over-stressed and therefore more likely to grow clover include over-fertilization and excessive irrigation .
Water is great for lawns, but too much of a good thing can wash away the nutrients your lawn depends on.
Homeowners who decide that they want to have more clover in their lawn are able to plant it.
Examples of people who might do this are those who want to attract more bees onto their property, or those who want to naturally feed and support the soil so they dont have to fertilize their lawn as often.
The Soil Is Deficient In Important Nutrients Especially Nitrogen
Clover thrives in nitrogen-deficient soil. In fact, white Dutch clover is an indicator plant for low nitrogen meaning that if you see it growing in your lawn, it probably means the soil is low in nitrogen.
A well-timed application of organic spring lawn fertilizer can help bump up nitrogen levels .
Other Reasons To Make Peace With Clover
You may not have noticed if you only have a small patch in your lawn, but clover is a wonderfully smelling plant. Theres a reason pollinators always seem to find it the little blossoms have an incredible aroma.
Many people think clover looks rather pretty.
It can also be good to have clover in your lawn if you prefer to keep your lawn short. Thats because clover tends to prevent other types of weeds from taking hold in your lawn.
When you see lawns with a lot of clover, you will probably notice there werent many dandelions.
Clover also works symbiotically with beneficial bacteria.
These good bacteria attach to clover roots. This helps your lawn absorb nitrogen found in the environment, and of course if youve read any of my articles about lawn fertilizer then you know that nitrogen is what helps with green growth in lawns .
Why Is Moss Taking Over My Lawn
If moss is taking over your lawn it suggests to me that your lawn is not in the best condition for growing vibrant lush green grass. Moss will thrive in completely conditions to those that make grass thrive so if moss is taking over your lawn you may have to take action to alter, maybe severely alter, the condition of your lawn.
Some of the conditions that may be the cause of moss taking over your lawn could be that:
- The pH of your soil is not ideal for grass
- Your soil may not be draining properly and moss likes the damp
- The soil may be compacted which leads to poor air circulation and drainage
- Your lawn may be getting too much shade
You will be glad to know that you will be able to take action and sort most of these issues however if you think its just a case of applying herbicide and your moss problem will be solved you are mistaken.
If you want to permanently stop moss growing on your lawn you have to change the condition of your soil under the grass otherwise when you use herbicide to remove moss it will simply grow back over time.
Why Clover Is Taking Over Your Lawn
There are probably several reasons for this, including the following:
The soil pH is too low or too high for lawn grass Clover grows well in just about any pH!
The soil is deficient in important nutrients, especially nitrogen Clover thrives in nitrogen-deficient soil. White Dutch clover is an indicator plant for low nitrogen. If you see it growing in your lawn, it probably means the soil is low in nitrogen. A well-timed application of spring lawn fertilizer can help!
The grass has been cut too short Longer grass often shades and crowds out other plants, such as clover. Keeping your mower blade at 3-½ inches or higher to encourage taller grass and deeper roots.
The grass doesnt get enough water Stressed grass is usually less dense, leaving room for clover and other weeds to flourish. Try watering slowly and deeply once or twice a week during dry periods. Watering in the morning also helps to prevent disease.
The soil is compacted Clover tolerates compacted soil better than lawn grass and has longer roots, enabling it to access water at deeper levels than your grass can.
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Why Does My Lawn Have So Much Clover
Despite having so many benefits of clovers, you may not want them to be on your lawn. Thats what keeps you asking this question, right?
Well, there are clovers on the lawn because of the following reasons:
- Lack of Nitrogen in Soil
When the last time you tested your soil? This is important to know the nitrogen level in the soil.
If the soil of your lawn is deprived of sufficient nitrogen, the soil will invite the clovers to grow there. As you may know, clovers are a natural nitrogen fixture!
So, clovers will take root in the nitrogen-deficient soil eventually. You need better aeration and seeding to restore the nitrogen balance in the soil.
- Overwatering Attracts Clover
In my experience, overwatering is a very common scenario in lawns owned by experienced homeowners. But they dont know that overwatering can deprive their lawn soil of nitrogen.
Inadvertently this happens too due to heavy rainfall. If you have an overlapping sprinkler system installed, that will also cause overwatering.
Such excess water will draw the nitrogen away from the soil. Nitrogen-deprived soil becomes very attractive to the clovers. You need to adjust the watering schedule to avoid overwatering!
Just like overwatering, underwatering is another reason why there are clovers in your lawn. In order to survive, your lawn grass needs a decent amount of water.
You cant overwater it, but you must regularly water your lawn to avoid such a situation.
- Imbalanced Soil pH Level
- Mowing Too Low
What Is The Best Killer For Clover
The best two chemicals to kill clover are MCCP and Dicamba. Between the two, Dicamba can be harsh on the environment, so MCCP is preferred for lawn care. Most lawn weed control products or weed and feed products contain MCCP and a combination of various other chemical herbicides to target other weed pests.
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Do You Have To Get Rid Of Clover
Some people hate the look of clover and want to remove it from their lawns, but you dont really have to eliminate it. In fact, clover has a few benefits, like:
It can correct nitrogen imbalances naturally. Clover often grows in areas where the soil is low in nitrogen. It then pulls nitrogen in from the air and releases it into the soil, naturally correcting any nitrogen deficiencies.
Clover attracts bees and other insects. Not only does this encourage pollination of nearby plants, but it also attracts predator insects to your lawn that can kill off any pests.
Some people think its pretty. Clover stays green, and some people like the look of its small white flowers. Plus, it smells good!
It can eliminate other weeds. Clover essentially smothers other weeds that are trying to take over your lawn. Because it grows so aggressively, clover often prevents other weeds from growing.
Water The Lawn Once Or Twice Weekly
Overwatering waterlogs the soil and encourages clover to grow on the lawn.
To ensure your grass gets only enough moisture, water the lawn once or twice per week, depending on the type of soil and grass in your yard. Check if the grass blades leave dry footmarks when walking to know when to water your lawn.
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Use A Natural Weed Killer
You can mix your own natural weed killer and apply it to the patch of lawn where you have clover.
The best type to use is the vinegar mixture. For you to get it right, mix 1 drop of dish soap and 1 cup of vinegar. Next, add 1 cup of water to it.
Shake the mixture thoroughly and pour it into a spray bottle. Now, you take it to the part of the lawn where the clover is growing. Spray it and make sure it gets all the clover.
The vinegar in the mixture will cause the leaves of the clover to dry out. And the soap will cause the vinegar stick to the leaves. The water is just to mix the other ingredients properly.
You may have to repeat the spraying process for several weeks before all the clover dries out. And there is also the chance the mixture will get to other grass.
But the good news is that you can control how it spreads. Simply target the clover and spray it directly. Ensure there is splashing on the other grass if you are particular about keeping it.
However, if you are going to go for commercial weed killers, try those which contain mecoprop-P and dicamba. If the specie of clover is particularly resistant to these ingredients, try a weed killer that contains fluroxypyr.
When to Apply Weed Killers
You should use these weed killers between April and August. If you use them after August, they wonât be as effective. This is probably because the clover and other weed have grown stronger.
Most importantly, ensure you learn how to safely and properly apply these weed killers.
Away From The Herbicides
It may seem contrary to what youd think, but in fact, one of the most effective steps you can take towards making clover less likely to proliferate in your lawn is to fertilize your lawn properly.
Clover tends to grow especially well in yards that arent adequately fertilized.
I use Milorganite 4 times annually on my lawn with great results.
If you dont want to spend that much on fertilizer, at the very least you should fertilize your lawn properly in the fall and spring each and every year.
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Dandelion As A Hated Lawn Weed
The number one most hated weed in America is the lowly dandelion. Where previous generations would make salads and wine with the dandelion, we now try our very best to eradicate it by all means necessary. The dandelion is hated by homeowners and gardeners precisely because of its genetic superiority: it is a prolific reproducer that can infest a lawn in very little time.
Years ago, lawns were usually a blend of grass species, clover, dandelion, and other plants but such practices are now long out of style, and a lawn with such diversity is usually frowned upon or even outlawed by local ordinances or homeowner association regulations. The chemical industry has also played a large part in promoting the idea that the only good lawn is one that consists of 100 percent turf grass. The dandelion is a casualty of that mentality. Yet who doesn’t smile in the spring when seeing a wild meadow brightened by the “wildflower” known as the dandelion?
Forcing A Clover Takeover Of My Lawn
I have weeds in my grass lawn. Not an uncommon situation, I understand.
I have a few types of weeds. One type grows like well, like weeds: quickly and tall. And unsightly. Then there’s clover, which is neither tall nor, to my mind, unsightly.
I’m thinking of spreading the clover throughout my lawn in order to crowd out the other weeds. It will, I know, also crowd out my grass.
The clover is spreading on its own because, most likely, the soil is low on nitrogen, which favors the clover instead of the grass. Clover can fix nitrogen from the air, so it thrives in the low-N soil where other things have a hard time competing with it.
According to this: Do legumes provide nitrogen to their companions? Clover will provide N to other plants as it spreads, so you will probably never have a monostand of clover unless you kill everything and sow only clover. Also, the clover will never get tall enough to shade-out other established weeds. It competes by growing in places other plants won’t. If other plants are absolutely thriving, its hard to see clover out-competing them.
That site says “beneficial insect attraction”, but I can’t say to what degree from experience.
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Why I Go Organic
I feel that its best to use an organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, and I prefer organic products for a couple of reasons.
The primary difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers is that man-made fertilizers feed the grass, and organic fertilizers feed the soil.
If you have clover, you have a soil problem so feed the soil with a good organic fertilizer.
People who rely on synthetic fertilizers create lawns that depend upon those man-made products to thrive. When their grasses dont get enough of what they need clover is ready to pick up the slack.
Its not a philosophical issue for me, its a practical one. Supporting soil health creates a more resilient lawn over the long term.
A Yard Full Of Clover
Theres a patch of clover in my parents yard that has been there as long as I can remember. Its proved impossible to kill, although I dont think any of us have tried too hard. You see, this special clover patch is legendary for its production of four-leaf clovers, and we all think its more fun to find them than it is to have a perfect lawn.
While visiting this past Mothers Day, my mom quickly spotted these with her eagle eyes the same eyes that always caught me thinking about misbehaving and always spotted my lost hair barrettes when I was late for school. Shes always been the best at finding them!
Even in my own yard, its really hard not to like clover. It doesnt need much mowing and makes a great low-maintenance ground cover. Its soft as velvet, attracts bees , has pretty white flowers, and is responsible for yummy clover honey.
Up until the 1950s, clover seed was a standard addition to lawn grass seed. Its only recently that we started viewing it as a problem in the yard, although its enjoying a growing popularity as an organic lawn alternative.
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The Botany Of The Dandelion
Easily recognizable by its yellow flower, white puffy seed head and distinct, jagged leaves, dandelion is a typical broadleaf weed emerging in the early spring with continuous flowering beginning several weeks later.
Dandelions can reproduce both from their taproot and by seed. This perennial weed will germinate from seed all season long and can be very persistent and competitive in a lawn. Dandelions can grow in most conditions and soil types.
Benefits Of Growing Clover In Lawns
As you have probably heard, scientists are worried about how bee populations are faring around the world. And without enough bees, the worlds food supply would be in great peril.
Clover helps the bee population, as its a wonderful nectar source.
Just a few examples of vegetables that are pollinated by bees, butterflies, and other insects include beets, broccoli, asparagus, green peppers, tomatoes, squash, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, and celery.
A selection of the vast array of fruits that bees pollinate include apricots, cherries, figs, most citrus, kiwi, mango, papayas, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, avocado, and of course apples.
Look, we all want to have perfect lawns but its important to look out for the little guys that keep us fed, right?
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How To Kill Clover
1. Post-emergent, lawn safe herbicides are the most effective way to kill clover. Using a liquid post emergent herbicide will kill the clover without killing your grass. Post emergent herbicides are also useful in killing other lawn weeds.
2. Pre-emergent herbicides are effective in controlling the spread of clover but it is important to realize it will not kill existing clover.
Pre-emergents prevent new clover seeds from germinating. If you already have clover in your lawn you will need to use a post-emergent herbicide in addition to a pre-emergent.
3. Maintaining a healthy lawn is the best defense against clover, or any lawn weeds. When you have bare spots in your lawn, it is the weeds that will claim the real estate. Stick to a simple lawn care program to keep your existing turf lush.
Reason : Clover Prevents Weeds
We talk about mowing your lawn high to help prevent weeds. Mowing high helps prevent weeds because the taller the grass, the more it shades the surface of the soil and makes it difficult for weeds to establish. Clover, with its umbrella-like leaves, shades the soil better than blades of grass do, so it, creating a less optimal environment for weeds. If you have Clover in your lawn, you can even mow at a more normal mowing height . So, if you like mowing your lawn short, Clover can help you avoid having a million other weeds. See how the grass in the playing field of Microclover below has far fewer dandelions than the perimeter grass without Clover?
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