Clover is far from the worst weed to run into, as it’s relatively easy to kill using chemical herbicides. But what if you have children and pets who frequently play in your yard? The last thing you want to do is risk harming them by applying chemicals in their play area.
This is where natural clover herbicides can step in and handle weed control, sans chemicals. Below are four tips to kill clover in your lawn naturally without resorting to strong chemicals. Plus, you may already have some of these items sitting around the house.
Proper Lawn Care
The first step in getting rid of clover is proper lawn care. Clover thrives in areas where the grass struggles to grow, as it can create its own fertilizer. If you create an environment where your grass thrives, it can choke out the clover plants.
Start with mowing your lawn no lower than 3 inches tall. If you can bear it, we recommend going even higher. Also, never cut more than a third of the grass blade at any time. For example, if your grass is 6 inches tall, cut no more than 2 inches off it.
With your grass the correct height to maximize blade health and root strength, you’ve got to make sure it has the right amount of food. Test your soil to see if it’s deficient in any nutrients. If so, fertilize your lawn using an organic fertilizer with the nutrient balance your soil needs to support maximum growth.
As your lawn thickens, the clover will die off naturally.
Pluck it Early
Once a clover plant emerges in your yard, it can quickly spread and overtake large areas. Once you identify clover in your yard, pull it as soon as possible.
Keep in mind, though, you can’t just grab the clover and rip it out, as you risk leaving behind roots and creating new growth. Instead, use a small spade or your fingers to loosen the soil around the clover plant, grip the plant by the base of its stem and pull upward sharply to remove it and its roots.
If the plant breaks off above the root, dig down a few inches to uncover the root and pull it out.
Dish Soap and Vinegar Trick
Vinegar has dozens of uses around the house. If you mix it with dish soap, it becomes an effective herbicide. The acetic acid in the vinegar draws moisture from the clover, killing it while the soap acts as a bonding agent to prevent the vinegar from running off.
Simply add 1 tablespoon of dish soap to a gallon of white vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. If you want to increase its effectiveness, you can also add a cup of salt to the mix.
A few words of caution, though. First, household vinegar is only about 5% acetic acid, which means it may take a few applications to kill the clover. Second, this is a nonselective natural herbicide, so avoid getting too much on your grass, or you may end up killing your turf too.
Corn Meal Gluten
Corn meal gluten is a great, safe way to slowly prevent clover in your lawn. You can pick up this natural herbicide at any lawn and garden center.
Simply spread about 20 pounds of corn meal gluten per 1,000 square feet of lawn, water it in, and let it dry. The corn meal gluten will enrich your soil with dipeptides, which dry out the clover seeds and prevent them from sprouting without impacting your grass.
Because this works more as a pre-emergent herbicide, you’ll still need to take care of the existing clover with one or a combination of the above methods.
No Chemicals, No Clover
With the above tips, you can rid your lawn of unsightly clover without resorting to potentially dangerous chemicals. Sure, these natural weed killing methods may take more time and effort than a chemical-filled herbicide, but they also pose little to no danger to animals and children playing in your yard.