[Trifolium repens L.]
White clover is a perennial with creeping stems rooting at some nodes. Leaves have three leaflets with a long erect petiole that is surrounded at the base by a membranous sheath. The flowering heads are borne on long stalks arising from the stems and usually rise above the leaves. The flower cluster may be ½ to 1½ inches in diameter. The petals are white or occasionally tinged with pink.
three; usually a white crescent-shaped mark near the base of the upper surface of each leaflet
slight toothing on leaflet edges
1/2 - 2 inches
fibrous; can usually find round nodules on the roots which fix atmospheric nitrogen for use by plants
white clover, trifoliate leaf
Note: Still not sure this is the right weed? The Turf & Weed Identification Decision Aid may help. Check the TurfFiles glossary for definitions of unfamiliar terms.
White clover may be found under close mowing conditions. Maintaining soil phosphorus at medium levels and nitrogen at the proper level for the desired turfgrass reduces the competitive ability of white clover in turf.
White clover can be controlled with products containing two, three, and four way broadleaf herbicides. Clover species are especially susceptible to clopyralid-containing products (e.g., Lontrel, Confront) as well as fluroxypyr-containing products (Spotlight, Escalade 2, etc.). Apply in fall or spring.
Tolerant Turfs (1)
Average Efficacy Rating(2)
Range of Trial Efficacy Values, %
Number of Trials
ba, bc, be, bk, c, f, r, sa, z
clopyralid & triclopyr**
be, bk, c, f, r, z
95 - 100
2,4-D & dicamba & mecoprop
bk, f, r, z
93 - 100
MEC Amine-D*, Trimec Bentgrass, Trimec Classic, Trimec Southern, Triplet
dicamba & MCPA & triclopyr
ba, bc, be, bk, f, r, z
99 - 100
Cool Power, Horsepower
2,4-D & carfentrazone & dicamba & mecoprop
Speed Zone, Speed Zone Southern
2,4-D & clopyralid & dicamba**
Millenium Ultra 2
be, sa, z
ba, be, bk, f, r, z
81 - 100
Banvel, Clarity, Vanquish
93 - 98
2,4-D & triclopyr*
bk, f, r
be, c, sa, z
ba, bk, c, f, r, sa, z
54 - 96
be, bk, f, r, z
2,4-D amine, Solution Water Soluble
Sencor 75 Turf
For use only by or under the supervision of a certified applicator, or by commercial nursery, turf, and landscape personnel.
Not for application to residential lawns.
No turfgrass in the database is completely tolerant. Check label to see if chemical can be used at a reduced rate or during the dormant season on your turfgrass.
excellent control (90 to 100%)
good control (80 to 90%)
fair control (70 to 80%)
Efficacy ratings are based on herbicide trials performed by weed scientists at North Carolina State University between 1997 and 2007. The number of trials included in the efficacy ratings is displayed in the next-to-last column. The higher this number, the more confidence can be placed in the efficacy values. Trials may have involved sequential applications of one or more chemical. Details of individual trials (herbicide rates, dates of application, environmental conditions at time of application, etc) can be viewed on the TurfFiles web site, through the Turf Weed Management Decision Aid.
Efficacy ratings for chemicals lacking trial data are from “Pest Management Strategic Plan for Turfgrass in the Southern United States,” summary of a workshop for turf experts from multiple universities held in Griffin, GA in October, 2004 and sponsored by the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center.
Recommendations of specific chemicals are based upon information on the manufacturer's label and performance in a limited number of trials. Because environmental conditions and methods of application may vary widely, performance of the chemical will not always conform to the safety and pest control standards indicated by experimental data. The order in which brand names are given is not an indication of a recommendation or criticism.
Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University or discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Other brand names may be labeled for use on turfgrasses. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your county's Cooperative Extension agent.
© North Carolina State University. This information sheet was prepared by Fred Yelverton, Bridget R. Lassiter, Gail G. Wilkerson, Leon Warren, Travis Gannon, Jenifer J. Reynolds, and Gregory S. Buol. Department of Crop Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, North Carolina State University. Prepared July 15, 2008. Available on-line at www.turffiles.ncsu.edu. This publication was made possible through a grant provided by the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research & Education (CENTERE) whose purpose is to support worthwhile projects that will benefit both the private sector and the public, and protect the environment.