What kills clover but not plants is a worry that gardeners would have as they start to see these weeds growing and developing. They will get nutrients and sunlight and start growing as well; as a result, you would have to boost up the ways to get rid of them, in different ways to kill clover, either chemically or organically.Killing Clover without Plants There are so many ways to do this, so let’s discover what each method has to offer, so read on as our team of gardeners has focused on the different ways.

What Kills Clover But Not Plants in Effective Ways?

The subjects that kill clover but not plants in effective ways are herbicides with 2,4-D, or herbicides that contain dicamba, metsulfuron-methyl, or triclopyr. You can try to mow the lawn regularly, increase the grass height, water properly, increase nitrogen content, reduce the oxygen or sunlight, and mulch the soil.

– Use Herbicides with 2,4-D

You must start with the chemical lawn care options first to understand their benefits and risks, then proceed to the safer organic methods. 2,4-D is a commonly used herbicide to remove clover while sparing grasses.

It is quite frustrating to have them grow as the rest of your garden thrives; but it would also be depending on your needs and how you plan to apply them, you can find 2,4-D in different forms, such as liquid concentrates, ready-to-use sprays, or granules.

However, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using 2,4-D. Typically, you will have to spray it directly onto the leaves of the targeted weeds, such as white clover, and not on desirable plants or when it’s windy to avoid drift. Be very detailed because you must aim to kill the clover, and keep the plants they are growing from in a healthy way.

Always take precautions when handling and applying any weed killer with 2,4-D. When you are using it, you must wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles, and follow the safety recommendations on the product label. Also, keep children and pets away from treated areas until the herbicide has dried, because it is aiming to kill these weeds, and it is a chemical based herbicide.

– Apply Herbicides Containing Dicamba or Metsulfuron-methyl

Dicamba is a widely used clover killer in different settings, including other broadleaf weeds. Dicamba comes in liquid and granular forms and can be placed as a foliar spray or soil treatment. Dicamba targets active weed growth stages before they mature. This maximizes effectiveness while minimizing harm to desirable plants.

Dicamba is subject to government regulations and restrictions. Concerns about off-target movement and potential damage to sensitive crops have led to rules, including buffer zones, restricted application periods, and specific nozzle requirements in some regions.

On the other hand, you can also use herbicides that have Metsulfuron-methyl, as this is a systemic broadleaf herbicide widely used to control weeds, including clover, in various settings like pastures and certain crops. While it primarily targets broadleaf weeds like clover, caution is needed as it can harm certain other broadleaf plants.

Application rates, timing, and product formulations vary, so reading and adhering to the label instructions is vital. Metsulfuron-methyl has moderate persistence in the soil, remaining active after application.

To use Metsulfuron-methyl responsibly, comply with local regulations and minimize harm to non-target organisms and water sources. Avoid applying it near water bodies and take precautions against drift or runoff.

– Apply Herbicides with Triclopyr

Triclopyr is a widely-used herbicide for tackling broadleaf lawn weeds, including clover. It comes in various forms like liquids, sprays, and granules. It disrupts the plant’s growth hormones, causing abnormal growth, wilting, and eventual demise.

Triclopyr is selective, primarily targeting broadleaf weeds like white clover while being safe for grasses when used correctly. Triclopyr can persist in the soil for some time, depending on factors like soil type, weather, and application rate, and this herbicide is one that will be effectively removing unnecessary herbs.Applying Herbicides with Triclopyr

Different triclopyr formulations are available, and knowing this, note that some are designed for large-scale agriculture or forestry, while others are suitable for residential use in lawns, flower beds, and gardens. When using any herbicide, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to safety and taking precautionary measures.

In short, you must also consider how pre-emergent herbicides are typically not effective for controlling established clover because they primarily target germinating weed seeds. Selective post-emergent herbicides are generally more effective for targeting existing clover while sparing desirable plants.

– Mow Lawn Regularly

Regularly mowing your lawn or garden is an effective strategy to control clover. Keeping the grass trimmed prevents the clover from flowering and producing seeds, ultimately reducing its spread. This lawn care method is most successful when the clover infestation is manageable.

For smaller patches or individual clover plants, hand-pulling can do the trick. You can simply pluck them out by hand, ensuring you extract the whole root system to avoid any regrowth, yet if you have a small plant that has tiny cloves, this method may be the least time-consuming.

– Increase Grass Height

Maintaining a slightly longer lawn can be an effective way to manage clover without compromising the aesthetic appeal. Clover tends to grow close to the ground and has shallow roots.

By adjusting your mower deck to keep the grass at a height of almost three inches or more, the taller grass acts as a natural barrier, obstructing sunlight from reaching the clover. This simple measure helps inhibit the growth and spread of clover within your plant, keeping it in check while maintaining a lush and healthy appearance.

– Water Properly

Maintaining the optimal moisture level is key to discouraging clover growth. When the turf is excessively wet, it creates a perfect environment for weed seeds to germinate. On the other hand, dry and stressed grass is also susceptible to weed invasion; if they are growing from plants, the solution to water them properly is the same.Watering Garden Plants

Finding the right watering balance is crucial, considering your specific soil type and grass species. It is best that you aim to adopt a proactive approach by regularly monitoring your lawn instead of relying solely on automated irrigation systems.

A general guideline is to water deeply once or twice a week, but it’s essential to adjust this based on the visual cues of your lawn. Water when the grass starts to appear dry, or growth seems stunted. By paying attention to the moisture levels, you can deter clover while promoting healthy grass plants.

– Increase Nitrogen Content

Maintaining a well-fertilized lawn is a key defense against weeds, including clover. Specifically, adequate nitrogen levels play a crucial role in inhibiting clover growth. When nitrogen is lacking, clover has an advantage as it can generate its own nitrogen, giving it an upper hand over nitrogen-deficient lawns.

To tackle clover, consider using a weed-and-feed formula that is rich in nitrogen. While organic fertilizers may suffice for minor clover infestations, if your lawn is heavily overrun, opt for a standard fertilizer that is not slow-release. This approach will help address the issue efficiently, and the plant will grow in a better feature.

– Reduce Oxygen and Sunlight Exposure

To naturally get rid or free from clover in your lawn, you can effectively hinder its growth by blocking sunlight and oxygen. An easy method is to cover the clover with plastic sheeting, such as a regular garbage bag, ensuring it is secured at the corners to prevent it from blowing away.

This lawn care technique can cause the clover to wither and die within a few weeks. However, it’s crucial to reserve this approach for larger patches of clover, as using it on smaller areas may unintentionally harm the surrounding grass.

– Mulch the Soil

Using organic mulch around plants or in garden beds is an effective way for clover weed control. The application of a layer of mulch creates a barrier that restricts sunlight from reaching the clover and prevents its establishment.Mulching Soil around Plants

This natural method provides a reliable means of suppressing clover while promoting the health and development of desired plants. It would also trap the proper amount of moisture around your plant, which is necessary for the establishment of the roots.

– Adjust Soil Acidity

Clover generally thrives in soil with a slightly acidic pH. However, if you want to create an environment that discourages clover growth, you can adjust the soil pH to a more alkaline range.

Adding lime to your soil can help raise the pH level, making it less favorable for clover. By making this simple adjustment, you can make it harder for these weeds to establish and grow.

– Overseed Lawn

One effective strategy to prevent clover in bare areas is by overseeding with fresh grass seed. This approach helps fill in the bare spots and creates competition for the clover, resulting in reduced growth. Introducing new grass seeds allows you to establish a denser lawn that outcompetes the clover, leading to a more desirable and clover-free landscape.

– Use Biological Controls

There are some insects and nematodes that feed on clover, and introducing these natural predators into your garden or lawn can be an effective way to control clover populations.

On the other hand, you must also remember how it’s important to note that this method is best suited for larger-scale agricultural or pasture settings as well as for plants if the growth of clover is excessive around the pot or in the garden plants.

– Apply Vinegar and Soap Solutions

An excellent natural remedy for controlling clover is to create a simple mixture using vinegar and a small amount of dish soap. This concoction can be prepared by mixing the two ingredients together and transferring the solution into a spray bottle.

When applying it to your garden, make sure to target the clover clumps directly while being cautious not to spray onto nearby plants. Gardeners commonly use this method and has shown promising results in effectively combating clover infestations.

– Spread Corn Gluten Meal

You can easily find corn gluten meals from any gardening center. This natural product is great for controlling clover without causing harm to nearby plants. When placing it on the soil, corn gluten meal releases organic dipeptides that effectively inhibit the growth of clover seeds, making it harder for them to sprout.

– Use Organic Weed Killers

If you prefer to steer clear of chemical herbicides, you might want to consider using an organic form of weed killer. Not only do they effectively weaken and eliminate clover, but they also won’t cause harm to healthy grass.

You can simply spray your organic weed killer of choice directly on clover, as well as other unwanted weeds like dandelion, ground ivy, and yellow mustard.Organic Weed Killers


We bet you didn’t expect the list to be so complete, so let’s take a quick run-through of everything we’ve covered so far:

  • When using chemical means to get rid of clover, make sure to follow manufacturer instructions for safety measures.
  • Organic methods usually take more time for results to show, but they are less harmful to you, your family, your pets, and your environment.
  • Whichever option you select, make sure always to wear protective clothing and gear.

Now that you know how to kill clovers in multiple ways, you won’t have any issues anymore if you see them pop up in your garden!

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