White Clover in Lawns

A prominent plant in many Iowa lawns in early summer is white clover. White clover (Trifolium repens) is a creeping perennial. Plant stems root at the nodes where they touch the soil. The leaves are composed of 3 leaflets. Plants bloom profusely in early summer. Flower heads consist of 20 to 40 individual white to pinkish-white, fragrant flowers. White clover is common in many lawns because it is a prolific seed producer and adapts well to mowing and other lawn care practices.

Gardeners who would like to control white clover in their lawns can use a postemergence broadleaf herbicide product in the fall. Combination products that contain 2 or more of the following herbicides: 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, and triclopyr are most effective. (2,4-D alone will not effectively control white clover.) One application in the fall (mid-September through October) should be sufficient to kill existing plants. Since white clover does produce large quantities of seeds, additional control measures may be necessary next year.

This article originally appeared in the July 1, 1994 issue, p. 106.

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