Hardly any other weed is found as frequently on lawns as white clover. It is not without reason that the plant is also called creeping clover, as it spreads over a large area over the ground via its runners – and in doing so deprives grasses in particular of the air (or, more precisely, the light) to breathe. Once it begins to bloom, the clover spreads even further via its seeds. The perfidious thing about the rampant weed is that it can produce its own fertilizer through symbiosis with bacteria. In other words, if the lawn is sufficiently fertilized, it will lose the battle against white clover and have to clear the field. But should it be removed entirely at the risk of depriving bees and bumblebees of an important food source? The best solution is a compromise: you just reduce the nests from the lawn. And prevent new wild growth.

As mentioned at the beginning, it is important to regularly supply the lawn with nutrients, as white clover thrives particularly well on nitrogen-poor soils – and can compensate for the deficit with its own fertilizer, something that grasses are unable to do. To compensate for the deficiency, you should use horn meal, as it does not contain any phosphate and therefore does not stimulate the clover to grow. In the autumn months, however, you can use fertilizer containing potassium.

Longer dry periods and heat do not affect white clover (and unfortunately many other weeds) as much as grasses. This makes it all the more important to water the lawn well and regularly, especially in the warm summer months when it doesn’t rain for days or weeks.

White clover has a short growth height, which means that only moderate damage can be done to the plant when mowing the lawn as it continues to spread. To combat weeds, there is only one thing that helps in spring: you have to scarify the nests in lengthways and crossways. Breaking up and aerating the soil strengthens the grasses but weakens the clover.

Another way to remove white clover from the lawn is to dig out the nests. To do this, take a spade (or weed cutter) and use it to poke the soil around the clover. Lift out the clover nests including the roots and dispose of them – for example in the compost. Then fill the bare spot and compact it with topsoil.

If you have cleared out smaller areas that were overgrown with white clover, you should reseed the bare areas with new lawn seeds. So that the fresh grass can grow back evenly and strongly, it is important to keep the affected lawn areas moist until the first grasses sprout, then the soil must be well fertilized again.

White clover – like any other plant – needs light to live. An effective method for removing weeds from the lawn is to cover the affected areas with an opaque film (e.g. garden fleece). For example, weigh it down with stones and wait a maximum of three months, as the lawn also suffers from the lack of light.

Herbicides are chemical weed killers that control uncontrolled growth. What many people don’t know, however, is that the ingredients are bad for the environment – and they don’t have a sufficient effect on species like white clover. There are special weed killers that only attack the weeds, but not the grasses themselves. However, using them does not combat the cause, but rather only inhibits the growth of the clover. If you still want to try and use chemical pesticides (that are not harmful to bees), you should water the lawn well during a dry period before using the weed killer.

To prevent white clover from spreading, extensive lawn care is essential. This not only includes regular fertilization and irrigation as well as scarifying the areas, as already described above. When sowing, make sure not to use inferior lawn seeds. High-quality seeds form a dense turf and thereby reduce the risk of weeds spreading quickly. And the soil also plays an important role: If it is clayey and compressed, grasses usually have no chance against wild growth such as clover, which can grow better in compacted areas. Here it is advisable to loosen the soil with a garden claw and mix in sand and humus.

Source: My Beautiful Garden

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