While some gardeners and homeowners are charmed by the natural look and lushness of clover on their lawns and outdoor areas, others are not so happy.
Luckily, there are several easy and completely organic ways to get rid of the clover without the use of harmful and harsh chemicals.
Here are the best ways to remove the patches of clover springing out in your outdoor space without using chemicals and with the professional services of landscaping and lawn care companies.
How to get rid of clover naturally
1. Remove the clover manually
This clover removal method requires some physical effort and time and is suitable if you are faced with small patches of clover which need to be removed.
All you need to do is use a spade to loosen up the soil around the clover and then use your hands to tug it out.
Make sure that you remove the roots because if left inside the soil, the clover will soon grow back.
2. Limit the airflow and the sunlight in the area
Clover, like all plants, needs air and sunlight to grow, so if you deprive it of these two essential elements, the plant will soon die off on its own.
This can be achieved by covering the patch of clover with a garbage bag or other plastic sheeting and use some weights like stones on the edges to keep it in place.
This should eliminate the clover in a matter of weeks. But keep in mind that any other plants such as grass under the plastic will be killed as well.
3. Use a vinegar and water mixture
Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and add a drop of dishwashing soap. Shake the bottle well, and then spray the entire patch of clover with it. The vinegar will naturally make the leaves dry out, while the added soap will ensure that the vinegar is not washed off.
This all-natural clover removal method may require more time than others, and you may need to re-apply the vinegar solution every week until the clover is destroyed. Please note that the vinegar solution will kill any grass or other plants which are treated, so spray the mixture carefully.
4. Use an organic herbicide
There are some herbicides that do not contain harsh synthetic chemicals and are capable of killing weeds like clover selectively without affecting the grass or other plants.
Organic herbicides such as A.D.I.O.S. Natural Weed Killer is safe for the edible plants, you, your children, and your pets and will ensure that the clover is dead and gone pretty soon after the treatment.
Preventing clover from growing in your lawn
In order to prevent the clover from appearing in your lawn or garden, you can use or more of the following preventive methods:
Use organic fertilizer
Organic fertilizers like guano, cow manure, bone meal, blood meal, liquid kelp, and earthworm castings will help prevent the growth of clover and other unwanted weeds. Organic fertilizer is rich in nitrogen and has a slow-release, and will help your grass and garden plants grow healthy and well while preventing the growth of clover.
Even though non-organic fast-release fertilizer is cheaper and works faster, organic fertilizer is the healthier option to use.
Spread some corn gluten meal
Cornmeal gluten which is available in most garden stores and online, will release natural peptides in the soil and thus prevent the growth of clover in the future.
It though will affect any new seeds from growing, so do not use it if you have recently reseeded your outdoor space.
It doesn’t work for the removal of existing clover, but it will not affect the growth of grass which has already grown either.
Mow the grass higher
Since clover thrives best on lawns where the grass is up to 3 inches in height, you can mow your grass higher than 3 inches in order to prevent the growth of clover.
What causes the growth of clover in lawns?
There are multiple possible reasons for the unwanted sprouting and growth of clover in lawns and other outdoor areas. The most common ones include problems with the soil, such as:
- An unsuitable pH level of the soil. The best pH for soil is 6.0 to 7.0. If your soil is too acidic, this can promote the growth of clover and weeds and can slow down the growth of the grass. You can test the pH levels of the soil, and if needed, correct it to the right levels with the use of lime or other soil amendments.
- Low nitrogen levels. Clover will thrive better in soil that has a low nitrogen level because it can obtain the required nitrogen from the air. At the same time, the grass will grow slower in nitrogen-poor soil as well. Low nitrogen levels of the soil often occur after the use of fast-acting fertilizers, which lower the quality of the soil while promoting faster growth of the grass. By using organic fertilizer such as cow manure, guano, cornmeal gluten, or others, you can help improve the quality of the soil and increase its nitrogen levels.
- Soil is compacted. Compacted soil deprives the grass of getting the essential nutrients from the air and water and, at the same time, can help promote the growth of clover and weeds. You can easily correct this problem by breaking the soil up with a spike aerator.
The potential benefits of having clover in your lawn
While clover may not be as aesthetically pleasing to some homeowners, there are some actual benefits of leaving it in your lawn, including:
It can create and act as a natural fertilizer because clover absorbs the nitrogen directly from the air thanks to the beneficial bacteria. This can help make your outdoor area lusher and greener, as long as the clover doesn’t overtake the entire lawn.
It can help prevent weeds. Clover grows well in the grass, which is up to 3 inches high. If you like to mow your grass lower than that, the leaves of the clover will help make shade and thus prevent the sprouting of other weeds.
Professional gardening and lawn care
If you prefer to let the experts deal with the clover in your lawn, then you can hire a professional lawn care service in your area.
The different companies offer various services, including one-off lawn care or subscription lawn care.
FAQs about clover removal
Is there a product that can kill just the clover and not the grass?
As mentioned previously, some organic herbicides such as A.D.I.O.S. will selectively kill the clover without affecting the grass. Another suitable product is corn gluten meal.
Do I need to remove the clover growing on my lawn?
If you don’t mind having an imperfect lawn, there are some benefits of letting the clover grown in your lawn. The plant has a symbiotic relationship with some beneficial bacteria and can produce its own nitrogen from the air. This makes it an excellent natural fertilizer for your lawn. Clover can also help prevent the growth of other weeds.
In other words, if you like the more natural look of a lawn with clover, then there is no need to remove it.
I there a way to control the growth of clover?
Yes, as described earlier on, there are ways to remove clover which has grown in your garden, including pulling it out, depriving it of sun and air, using vinegar or organic herbicides.
There are also preventive measures that you can take, including mowing the grass to a height of over 3 inches and using organic fertilizer or corn meal gluten.
What is the reason for the clover overtaking the outdoor space?
If your lawn or garden has been overtaken by clover, the chances are that the soil has an acidic pH level or is compacted and has low nitrogen levels.
Related: Will Bleach Kill Weeds and Grass? Here’s How to Use it
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