A prominent plant in many Iowa lawns in late spring/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 late spring/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. Its presence often is a sign of low nitrogen fertility.
White clover in lawns can be controlled through proper fertilization and the application of broadleaf herbicides. Late April/early May, September, and late October/early November are excellent times to fertilize Kentucky bluegrass lawns in Iowa. Products that contain 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba provide good control of white clover. White clover also can be controlled with herbicides containing triclopyr. Products that contain 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba include Dragon Lawn Weed Killer, Ortho Weed-B-Gon Weed Killer for Lawns, Trimec and others. Triclopyr can be found in Ortho Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Killer for Lawns and Turflon. Applications of the aforementioned herbicides in late spring/early summer provide some control of white clover. However, fall applications (late September to early November) are most effective.
This article originally appeared in the 6/18/2004 issue.