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Killing off Clover

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

weed, weed control

As a kid you probably combed through clover searching for that one magical four-leaf charm. Seeing clover's shamrocks and little white or pink flowers in your lawn nowadays probably doesn't make you feel lucky anymore. Like many a perennial weed, clover can be hard to evict from your lawn. Here are some weed control tips to help you oust the stuff once and for all.
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In the 40s and 50s clover was a common component of lawn mixes. As a result, it's one of the most common weeds around. Even though it's green and its flowers are, admit it, sort of cute, it attracts bees, which can be an underfoot danger, and is also quite slippery when wet, another danger. Plus, it's just out of place texture-wise. To keep it from being a common sight in your lawn, give the following weed control techniques a try:
  1. Environmental Weed Control
    Clover does especially well in moist conditions and in less than optimally fertile soil. The one nutrient it really goes for is phosphorous. So if you cut back on the water and up the level of the nutrients, other than phosphorous, that your lawn needs to thrive, your lawn will do better and weeds like clover will do worse. The best defense against any weed, clover included, is a healthy lawn. To know just what kinds of nutrients to add to your lawn, get your soil tested.
  2. Chemical Weed Control
    Post-emergent herbicides do a great job on clover. A weed-and-feed that lists clover as among its targets will help tackle any serious clover encroachments.
  3. Man-Powered Weed Control
    Clover has a taproot you can easily dig out by hand. For spot control a little spade action is hard to beat.

If you're trying to beat clover, approaching the weed with a variety of attacks will help ensure that you win the battle.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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