To some, the presence of white clover in a lawn is desirable because of the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of this plant and its attractiveness to pollinators. Others view it as a weed that they want to eradicate from their lawns (sometimes because family members are allergic to bee stings). As a nitrogen-producing legume, clover is often found in lawns that have not been adequately fertilized with nitrogen. Regular fertilization, especially fall nitrogen applications, can help reduce this weed in lawns. Complete eradication can be achieved relatively easily by using broadleaf weed herbicides sold in nurseries and garden centers, described below.
When using herbicides to control clover, ensure that the clover and grass are well-watered and not drought-stressed. Avoid making herbicide applications when temperatures are above 85 degrees F, as control may be reduced and the herbicide is more likely to volatilize and harm landscape plants and vegetables. Note that preemergent herbicides (aka “crabgrass preventers”) will NOT control white clover. Postemergent herbicides containing dicamba, triclopyr, and MCPP/MCPA provide good control.
Spot treatment is preferable to broadcast applications with any postemergent herbicide because of the decreased potential for harming non-target plants in the landscape. As always, a healthy lawn is the best prevention against weeds like clover.
For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).