Herbicide recommendations for controlling clover

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

It sure seems like there has been a lot of clover this year. It may be that there is more clover, or it could be that it is flowering more profusely than other years. In most cases the clover is going to be an indication of nutrient depleted soils. This can be seen in lawns where the homeowners recently installed an irrigation system and use it too much. The most common occurrences are in lawns that have not been fertilized since seeding or sodding.

The new fast acting herbicide compounds like carefentrazone and sulfentrazone are very effective on clover in the summer time. These products work really fast but often don’t move into the roots. You may have to re-treat this fall to control the root system. You can find sulfentrazone in the Spectracide Weed Stop 2X products at the big box stores. Another option for clover would be Drive (a.i. quinclorac), which is probably harder to find but is carried by some of the smaller garden centers. Drive offers excellent control of crabgrass, dandelion and clover. The garden centers can order Drive in 1oz bottles that retail for $17 to $20. Obviously, increased nitrogen fertilization is the key to reducing the competitive vigor of clover from year-to-year. MSU research trials have shown that clover was reduced by 75% over six years by increasing nitrogen fertilization to 3 lb. N/1000 ft. 2/year.

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