Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Turf - White Clover Year

It has been a good year for white clover in turf. It is in bloom across the state. The following is more information on white clover an its control.

White clover is in bloom across the state at this time. White clover produces significant amounts of hard seed that remains in the soil for a long time. Years with cool moist springs and mild summers favor white clover germination and proliferation of existing plants. White Clover is a low growing stoloniferous perennial legume. It can be beneficial in low maintenance turf because it fixes N and compliments the grass. However, in high maintenance turf and residential lawns it is viewed a weed because it is often short lived and seed heads attract bees. Identify by the compound leaves composed of 3 unstalked leaflets less than 1 inch long with white crescent shaped marks. Blooms will be 1 inch diameter white balls starting to appear in May. White clover is most prevalent in turf receiving limited nitrogen fertilization and tolerates low mowing. Control white clover in turf by increasing nitrogen fertilization, cutting higher, and managing for a dense grass stand. Postemergence broadleaf herbicides effective on white clover including triclopyr, clopyralid (clopyralid is not for use in residential turf), quinclorac, and fluroxypyr. Broadleaf herbicide mixtures that include 2,4-D, dicamba, MCPP, or MCPA in combination or with one or more of the materials previously listed are also effective.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticultural Agent, UD, Kent County

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