Most of us put lots of time, effort, and money into making our lawns look rich and beautiful, so there are few things more upsetting than finding weeds growing on your property. Clover is one of the more common weeds that pop up, and while some homeowners don’t mind how it looks, others think it detracts from their lawns’ beauty.

If you know how to get rid of clover in your lawn naturally, it’s a relatively straightforward and quick process. Once it’s gone, you can use a professional lawn care company — we recommend TruGreen — to keep your clover problem at bay. Below, you’ll find the most straightforward methods for removing clover from your lawn and how to prevent it from coming back.

    4 Ways To Get Rid of Clover Naturally

    Most homeowners look for natural remedies to remove clover, as doing so ensures your lawn doesn’t become unsafe for children and pets. Additionally, natural solutions won’t kill the surrounding grass, and they aren’t bad for the environment. Below are four simple, natural methods for dealing with clover on your lawn.

    Block Oxygen & Sunlight

    All plants, including clover, need oxygen and sunlight to survive and thrive. Depriving the clover of these resources by covering the patches with a garbage bag, plastic sheet, or small tarp will slowly kill the clover. Prolonged deprivation of these resources will also destroy most lawn grasses, so make sure to remove the cover after the clover has withered.

    Pull it Out by Hand

    If you have small patches of clover, one of the easiest and least expensive solutions is to remove them by hand. You can use a small garden shovel or another gardening tool to gently loosen up the soil and pull up the root system to prevent clover growth going forward. If using this method, be sure to get all of the clover roots otherwise they may grow back in the future.

    Spray a Vinegar-based Solution on It

    Vinegar is another easy household solution for killing clover. When plants are exposed to the acidity of the vinegar, the cell membranes break down, resulting in plant death. You can mix water and white vinegar in a one-to-one ratio with a drop of dish soap and use a spray bottle to apply it to the affected areas on your lawn. Unfortunately, vinegar will kill any surrounding plants — including grass — so use this solution with care and apply only to clover patches.

    Use an Organic Weed Killer/Herbicide

    Finally, you can use an organic herbicide, like A.D.I.O.S, to get rid of clover. These solutions are safe for human contact, and they’re non-toxic, so they’re great if you have children or pets. You’ll need to mix most natural weed killers with water and then apply with a spray bottle to the clover. Options like A.D.I.O.S. — available on Amazon or at your local garden center — won’t kill your grass but will work wonders for clover and other weeds, like dandelions.

    How to Prevent Clover in Your Lawn

    Whether you’ve managed to remove the existing clover on your lawn and want to stop it from coming back, or you just want to prevent it from appearing altogether, there are several things you can do. Below are the safest and most effective methods for avoiding clover and keeping it from returning to your lawn.

    Use Corn Gluten Meal

    Corn gluten meal is considered a “pre-emergent” herbicide, which prevents weeds from becoming established. Specifically, it stops clover from getting rooted in your lawn, so it won’t be able to uptake nutrients and thrive. You can simply use a seed spreader to apply corn gluten meal to your yard. Keep in mind that, as a pre-emergent herbicide, this won’t kill existing grass or existing clover, so it’s only effective for keeping clover from appearing on your lawn. It will, however, prevent new grass from rooting, so don’t use this method if you recently put down grass seed or have sprouting grass.

    Spray Slow-Release Organic Fertilizer

    As mentioned above, clover thrives in soil with low nitrogen levels, so fertilizing your lawn and bringing up the nitrogen concentration will help prevent clover from setting in. Nitrogen is also a significant nutrient for your grass, so using a weed and feed will improve your lawn’s aesthetic in multiple ways. Opting for a slow-release organic fertilizer will offer long-term protection and won’t be dangerous for kids or pets to come in contact with.

    Mow Grass Higher than 3 Inches

    Finally, you can opt to raise the mowing height on your mower and leave your grass a bit higher than normal. Clover needs abundant sunlight to thrive, so leaving your grass three or more inches tall at all times will help prevent clover from taking root and spreading.

    Keeping Clover vs. Getting Rid of Clover

    Some homeowners don’t mind clover in their lawns, so removing it is a matter of personal preference. There are some benefits to keeping it around, and you’ll have to weigh them with the potential downsides to decide the best course of action for your property.

    Benefits of Keeping Clover

    • Natural Fertilizer: Clover acts as a natural fertilizer for your lawn, as it extracts nitrogen from the air and ultimately deposits it in the soil. Since grass thrives in nitrogen-rich soil, leaving clover on your property is a natural way to keep your lawn looking beautiful and rich without having to add fertilizer yourself.
    • Weed Prevention: Just as clover quickly overtakes your grass, it’s a fierce competitor for other weeds as well. It creates a canopy that casts shade over the soil, depriving all other plants — including other weeds — of sunlight. Many homeowners find clover is more appealing than crabgrass and other common weeds, so leaving clover might limit weed growth and help you maintain a decent-looking lawn.
    • Drought tolerant: Clover is a hearty weed that is quite drought tolerant. While grass can die off after a prolonged lack of precipitation, clover can help maintain a green lawn even in moderately dry conditions.

    Cons of Keeping Clover

    • Bee Attraction: Clover is a flowering lawn weed, so you’ll see white flowers pop up throughout your lawn if you have a clover infestation. These flowers attract bees, so if you have kids or pets that frequently play on the lawn, you might want to get rid of the clover to reduce the risk of stings.
    • Invasive Grower: White clover is considered an invasive species. It can negatively affect the ecosystem of your lawn, and it can rapidly overtake even healthy grass and other plants, quickly getting out of control.
    • Patchy-looking lawn: Clover is shorter than most homeowners cut their grass, so it can cause the yard to look patchy. Some people don’t mind the appearance, while others looking for a more uniform property will want to get rid of it quickly.

    What’s Causing Clover in Your Lawn

    Clover is hearty and quickly spreads, but it needs the right conditions. Understanding why clover is growing in your lawn can help you eliminate it or prevent it entirely.

    • Poor nitrogen levels in soil: Clover thrives in soil with low nitrogen levels. Most unfertilized soil with grass or other plants growing in it will eventually become nitrogen-deprived. Once your nitrogen concentration dips, clover will readily set down roots and begin to spread, so fertilization is a good solution.
    • Soil pH is off: In addition to low nitrogen levels, clover needs the proper pH to uptake nutrients from the soil. Most healthy lawns have a neutral to slightly acidic pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The more acidic your soil gets, the harder it will be for grass to grow, leaving less competition for clover that thrives in acidic soil.
    • Compacted soil: Over time, your soil will naturally get compacted as you and your family walk over your grass. Compacted soil limits the root growth potential for grass, once again reducing the competition for clover. Aerating the soil is an excellent way to mitigate soil compaction.

    Read also: Guide to Hydroseeding Your Lawn and Approaches to Hasten Grass Growth

    Best Professional Lawn Care: TruGreen

    If you’re looking for a professional lawn care company to help remove or prevent clover and other weeds, TruGreen is one of the best options. This company offers comprehensive lawn, plant, and tree care. It uses natural fertilizers that can kill off and prevent clover from taking over your property, and its other products and services will further beautify your grass even beyond weed removal.

    TruGreen is a massive national lawn care company that services 48 states and Washington, D.C. Homeowners in just about every corner of the country will have access to the services, except for Hawaii and Alaska. The plans are plentiful and varied, with affordable options for maximizing lawn health, garden appearance, pest prevention, and more. Browse TruGreen’s customizable plans to learn more about the company and how it can serve you.

    Final Thoughts

    Clover is an invasive and rapidly growing weed common throughout the United States. While some homeowners choose to leave clover on their properties for the benefits — like natural fertilization — many want to get rid of it or prevent it all together to improve their lawn’s appearance. Natural solutions for removing clover include depriving it of sunlight and oxygen, removing it manually, or spraying it with a vinegar solution or natural herbicide.

    You can employ some DIY solutions to prevent clover from overtaking your lawn, including putting down corn gluten meal, keeping your grass tall, and adding nitrogen via natural fertilizers. Suppose you’re looking to avoid the hassle of DIY weed control and want professional help. In that case, TruGreen offers a variety of service plans to eradicate clover and other weeds and add natural beauty to your lawn and property as a whole. They also offer one of the best lawn fertilizer services.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What kills clover but not grass?

    Natural fertilizers that nitrogenate your lawn will make your soil inhospitable for clover but will help your grass thrive. Organic weed killers like A.D.I.O.S. will kill clover but not your grass, and pre-emergent herbicides can prevent clover from setting in but won’t damage your existing lawn.

    Should I get rid of clover on my lawn?

    Leaving clover on your lawn or killing/preventing it is a personal preference. There are some benefits to leaving it, including natural fertilization for your soil and drought resistance for your lawn. You’ll have to weigh these against the downsides — like increased bee activity and patchy appearance — to decide what is best for you.

    Why is clover growing on my lawn?

    Clover thrives in nitrogen-depleted soil and in areas where it has minimal competition. Clover could be growing because your soil hasn’t been fertilized appropriately, and it could be thriving if your grass growth is limited by soil compaction or acidic soil pH.

    If I pull out clover, will it grow back?

    Manually removing small patches of clover is a good option and, provided you get the roots, will likely prevent it from growing back. However, failing to utilize prevention methods after the clover removal will likely result in the clover growing back.

    Today's Homeowner Rating & Methodology

    At Today's Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.

    Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of the services, costs, and products of each lawn care service. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

    We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies  and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

    • Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
    • Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
    • Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We took into account how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
    • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
    • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks offered by each company that sets them apart from the competition.
    • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We took into consideration speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
    • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability. 
    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Senior Staff Writer

    Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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    photo of Lora Novak

    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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