White Clover in Lawns

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 is often a sign of low nitrogen fertility. 

 

White clover in lawns can be controlled through proper fertilization and the application of broadleaf herbicides.  Spring (mid-April to early May), mid-September, and late October/early November are excellent times to fertilize Kentucky bluegrass lawns in Iowa.  Products that contain MCPP, dicamba, or triclopyr provide excellent control of white clover.  An application of 2,4-D (alone) is not effective in controlling white clover.  Applications of broadleaf herbicides in late spring/early summer provide some control of white clover.  However, fall applications (late September to early November) are most effective.

Category: 

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on June 26, 2015. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.