Clovers – some people love and keep them in their gardens, sometimes purposely planting them, while others prefer a more uniform looking lawn. If you happen to be a part of the second group and you are looking for a way to get rid of plants for good, look no further.
Why does clover happen in the first place?
Clovers don’t just grow on your lawn for no reason. Many factors are responsible for the plant’s growth and here are 5 of the most common:
- Too high or too low soil pH – If the pH of your soil is too high or too low, the chances of clovers showing up on your lawn are bigger. Overall, this sort of plant isn’t very picky and can grow in almost any type of environment.
- Your soil lacks nitrogen – If you spot clovers in your lawn, that means the soil lacks important nutrients and especially nitrogen. That’s what clover does, it traps nitrogen from the atmosphere in its own roots. That nitrogen is later used by the soil to grow grass plants. The whole process is called nitrogen fixation.
- You’ve cut the grass way too short – If you want to get rid of weed plants like clovers, make sure to keep the grass in your garden a bit higher than you would normally do. Longer grass can shade and crowd out other sorts of plants, thus killing them. Remember to place your mower blade at a minimum of 3 ½ inches so the grass can grow taller and stronger.
- The grass doesn’t receive enough moisture – Dry and crunchy grass is less dense and is open for a weed attack. You need to keep the soil moist at all times. Water your garden in a slow manner so the moisture has a chance to reach deep into the soil – around 4-6″ below the surface. Do this once or twice a week in drier periods and in the morning so the plants don’t get sick.
- The soil in your garden is compacted (due to not enough organic matter) – This sort of plant favours more compacted types of soil. Clovers have longer roots than grass and can reach water at deeper levels. So, if the earth in your garden lacks in the organic matter department, you have a bigger chance of getting clovers growing there.
Are clovers bad for my garden?
Not really, having clovers benefits your garden. They help your lawn by adding nitrogen to the soil, which gives the surrounding flora a good boost. Also, the plant needs little to no maintenance – it requires minimum fertiliser, compost, or weeding and is drought tolerant. Clovers can save your garden from other weeds by out-competing them and do well in more shady spots.
On the other hand, clovers give birth to small blossoms which can attract bees. Bees are extremely important for the environment and you should never harm them but try having a lawn covered by the insect. So, for those that are allergic to the striped bug, having a lawn covered in hundreds of tiny flowers isn’t the best garden solution out there.
Also, if you are looking for a clean and uniformed green space, clovers won’t do you much good in terms of aesthetics. This sort of plant can easily out crowd turf and ornamental grass, giving your lawn a weedy and unmaintained look.
The types of clovers you can see growing in your garden
White or Dutch clover
This type of clover is the most popular and can grow in almost any type of soil. The tiny plant can be found most commonly growing in medium to heavy alkaline soils. The dutch clover has longer stems and forms little white flowers that shape a ball.
Lesser yellow trefoil
You can spot yellow trefoil on lawns that have weaker looking grass. This clover spreads extremely fast if not monitored and can survive close mowing. We advise you to restrain yourself from cutting the grass in your garden lower in order to remove the yellow trefoil. The method can do more harm than good because it can weaken the tuft, even more, especially on poor soils.
How to remove clover from your lawn the natural way
Many people frown upon the idea of adding chemicals to their green spaces and they are right to do so. A lot of the times, the products that are made to kill weeds in your garden also can inflict damage to your other plants and soil. Here are a few methods to remove clovers from your lawn in a safe and natural way:
- Add nitrogen to the soil in the form of fertiliser, corn gluten, or top dressing. Make sure to check the soils’ pH before adding the fertiliser because it can block out some the other needed nutrients. Also, avoid purchasing a product that has a higher concentration of nitrogen. This clover removing technique is slow but very effective.
- Remove the plants manually. Don’t just go pulling on the clovers, there is a certain approach to removing them. As soon as you see the tiny plants growing, loosen the soil around the base with your fingers and carefully pluck the clover. Remember to pull from the base of the stem so you can extract the whole root. If you pluck only the top part of the clover, it will just regrow. This method is quite effective in getting rid of the tiny weeds but overall is a lot more time-consuming.
- Suffocate the clovers. Just cover the parts of your garden in which the weed grows with some sort of plastic sheeting like a black garbage bag and wait. The clovers will die in a few weeks, due to the lack of sunlight and oxygen. Keep in mind that there is a big chance for the surrounding grass to get destroyed, along with the clover.
- Spray them with a mixture of dish soap and vinegar. This weed removing remedy is good for spot treating your garden, due to the fact that you have more control. Just make sure to avoid spraying plants located near the clover patches.
- Stop the clovers seeds from sprouting by applying corn gluten. The product won’t affect the surrounding plants and is easily accessible. To kill the plants, spread around 20 pounds of corn gluten meal per 1,000 square feet of lawn and water thoroughly. Over time there won’t be anything left from the pesky clovers.
- Кeep your grass taller so it can stay healthier. Mowing your grass low won’t cause the clovers any trouble but will affect the state of your lawn. Plus, a taller lawn can take advantage over the small plants.
How to remove clover from your lawn using chemical-based solutions
Natural weed removing remedies can take a lot of time to show results. If you are looking for a faster way to get rid of the weed, opt for a chemical-based solution. Here is what you can try:
- Ammonia – Burn the clovers with ammonia. The chemical has the ability to scorch and kill the clover plant for good. Make sure to buy sulphate of ammonia made especially for lawns and apply it right after rain. If you don’t favour waiting for a cloudy day, water your garden before the application with the help of a hose. Spread the chemical directly on the clover covered areas of your garden and only there. Perform the treatment once a month for best results. You can find this sort of ammonia in your local hardware store.
- Herbicides – You can kill existing clovers and stop others from growing by applying herbicides. Remember to buy a herbicide that contains 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and Dicamba. Spread the product directly on top of the plants and keep it away from other plants. Do this once a month for maximum results
See? Removing clovers isn’t as hard as you probably thought. However, before undertaking the task of getting rid of the weed for good, make sure to do it in a cautious manner. Most of the methods described here can and will kill other plants surrounding the clovers if you are not careful while performing them.
Image Source: DepositPhotos, User: strelok
If you happen to have experience with removing clovers from your garden or other helpful tips, feel free to share the useful information in the comment section below this article. Happy gardening!
Posted in Garden Advice
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