White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is a perennial broadleaf weed common throughout Louisiana. It spreads through seed but can also root at the node, allowing it to spread rapidly. White clover grows in a wide range of soil types but is typically an indicator of low nitrogen fertility. It can tolerate dry, compacted soils. White clover typically forms low, dense patches in turfgrass, making it difficult to control through low mowing practices.
White clover can be distinguished by its leaves, which have three oval-shaped leaflets jointly attached at the end of a long stem. Each leaflet has a white-colored marking at the base, creating a circular band across the leaf. Leaflets typically have small toothed edges. White clover produces small, round, white flowers with a pink tinge. Flowers are attached to long stalks, which usually extend above the leaves. White clover has a dense, prostrate growth habit. For more information on white clover identification and characterization, visit the USDA Plants Database at plants.usda.gov.
The best way to prevent or reduce weed encroachment is to maintain a healthy lawn through proper fertilization and soil pH and regular mowing. Properly maintaining a lawn through these cultural practices promotes dense and vigorous turfgrass, allowing it to better compete with weeds. Below are the recommended mowing heights and nitrogen fertility rates recommended per turfgrass species. In addition to these lawn care practices, manual removal of weeds may also be necessary.
In addition to cultural practices, herbicide applications may be required to achieve effective weed control. Herbicides that contain atrazine, simazine, metsulfuron, trifloxysulfuron, dicamba and quinclorac are most effective on white clover. Often multiple applications are necessary to provide satisfactory control.
When applying any type of herbicide, you must follow the manufacturer's labeled directions. For more information regarding pesticides for turfgrass, please reference the Louisiana Suggested Chemical Weed Control Guide at the LSU AgCenter website www.lsuagcenter.com.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture