White Clover

Description

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 12 to 112 inches in diameter. The petals are white or occasionally tinged with pink.

Cultural Control

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.

Chemical Control

Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
Preemergence and Postemergence Control
mesotrione, MOA 27 (4 SC) (Tenacity) 0.092 to 0.183 fl oz 4 to 8 fl oz 0.125 to 0.25
Precaution and Remarks: Use on residential turf, golf courses (not greens) and sod farms for pre- and postemergence weed control. Tolerant turfgrasses include St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Add a nonionic surfactant and repeat application after 2 to 3 weeks for improved postemergence control. Tank mix with prodiamine 65 WG for extended preemergence grassy weed control. Can be applied at seeding to all tolerant grasses except fine fescue. After turf germination, wait 4 weeks or until turf has been mowed twice before making a postemergence application. Also controls henbit, chickweed, dandelion, white clover, Florida betony, Florida pusley, ground ivy, oxalis, wild violet, creeping bentgrass, and yellow nutsedge.​
[sulfentrazone + prodiamine], MOA 14 + 3 (4 SC) (Echelon) 0.184 to 0.826 fl oz 0.5 to 2.25 pt 0.25 to 1.125
Precaution and Remarks: For use in residential and institutional lawns, athletic fields, sod farms, golf course fairways and roughs, roadsides, utility right-of-ways, railways, and industrial areas. Apply to turf following a second mowing if a good root system has been established. Apply up to 12 fluid ounces per acre to bentgrass at 0.5 inch or higher, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Apply 18 to 24 fluid ounces per acre to perennial bluegrass, tall fescue, and all warm season grasses except St. Augustinegrass (do not apply) and bermudagrass (apply 18 to 36 fluid ounces per acre). For sod production, apply 6 months after establishment, and do not harvest within 3 months. Do not apply with adjuvants or surfactants. [Sulfentrazone + prodiamine should not be applied to cool-season turf with N-containing fertilizers unless some short-term discoloration is tolerable.​
Postemergence Control
quinclorac, MOA (27 + 4) (various brands) 75 DF 0.367 oz 1 lb 0.75
1.5 SL 1.45 fl oz 2 qt 0.75
Precaution and Remarks: For use in residential and nonresidential turf that is established or newly seeded, overseeded, or sprigged. Refer to label for specific varieties. Apply to common and hybrid bermudagrass, Kentucky bluegrass, annual bluegrass, buffalograss, tall fescue, annual and perennial ryegrass, creeping bentgrass, and zoysiagrass. Can also be applied to fine fescue but must be in a blend. Some discoloration of hybrid bermudagrass, creeping bentgrass or fine fescue may occur. Do not apply to bahiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, or dichondra. Do not use on golf course greens or collars. The addition of methylated seed oil (1.5 pints per acre or 0.55 ounces per 1,000 square feet) or a crop oil concentrate (2 pint per acre or 0.73 ounces per 1,000 square feet) is required for control. Application to weeds under stress will result in poor control. Irrigation 24 hours prior to application is recommended if drought conditions exist. Some ornamental plants are sensitive to quinclorac. See label for further precautions.​
mecoprop, MOA 4 (various brands) 1.9 L 1 to 1.5 fl oz 2.7 to 4 pt 0.64 to 0.95
1.16 L 1.5 to 2.25 fl oz 4 to 6 pt 0.58 to 0.87
1.74 L 0.75 to 1.5 fl oz 2 to 4 pt 0.43 to 0.87
Precaution and Remarks: Observe same precaution as for 2,4-D. May be used on bentgrass, carpetgrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and other turfgrasses.
dicamba, MOA 4 (4 SL) (various brands) 1 to 2 tsp 0.5 to 1 pt 0.25 to 0.5
Precaution and Remarks: Apply as foliar spray to growing weeds. Prevent injury to ornamentals. Avoid rooting zone of shallow-rooted trees and shrubs.​
diglycolamine, MOA 4 (4 SL) (various brands) 1 to 4.5 tsp 0.5 to 2 pt 0.25 to 1
Precaution and Remarks: Do not exceed 1 pint per acre on bentgrass, carpetgrass, buffalograss, and St. Augustinegrass. Apply to newly seeded grasses after the second mowing. Do not exceed 0.25 pint per acre on extended sensitve plant roots on sandy soils and 0.5 pint per acre on clay soils.​
clopyralid, MOA 4 (3 EC) (Lontrel T&O) 0.1 to 0.5 fl oz 0.25 to 1.33 pt 0.09 to 0.5
Precaution and Remarks: Do not apply to home lawns. May be used on bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, creeping, red, chewings, sheep and tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, bermudagrass, bahiagrass, buffalograss, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass, and St. Augustinegrass. Do not apply to putting greens and tees. Should be applied in a minimum of 20 gallons of water per acre. Surfactants are not necessary. Do not apply to exposed roots of certain trees and shrubs (legumes such as acacia, locust, mimosa, redbud, or mesquite) or Tilia spp. Do not use treated clippings for mulching and compost during the growing season of application.​
[2,4-D amine + fluroxypyr + dicamba], MOA 4 + 4 + 4 (4 SL) (various brands) 0.36 to 1.1 fl oz 1 to 3 pt 0.5 to 1.5
Precaution and Remarks: Use on perennial bluegrass and ryegrass, tall fescue, creeping bentgrass (excluding greens and tees), bermudagrass species, bahiagrass, zoysiagrass, and St. Augustinegrass in residential, industrial, and institutional lawns, parks, cemeteries, athletic fields, golf courses, and sod farms. Use on St. Augustinegrass sod farms only. Apply 1 to 2 pints per acre on creeping bentgrass and 1.5 to 1.8 pints per acre on warm season turf grown for sod. Apply 2 to 3 pints per acre to all other turf areas. For non-turf areas, rate can be increased to 2 to 5 pinst per acre. Application can be made to grass seedlings after second mowing and to newly sodded, sprigged, or plugged grasses 3 to 4 weeks after operations.​
[MCPA amine + fluroxypyr ester + dicamba], MOA 4 + 4 + 4 (4.8 SL) (Change Up) 0.73 to 1.1 fl oz 2 to 3 pt 1.2 to 1.8
Precaution and Remarks: Same turf tolerances and uses as [2,4-D amine + fluroxypyr + dicamba] in addition to centipedegrass. Only spot treat St. Augustinegrass when temperature exceeds 80 degrees F. Do not apply more than two applications per year totaling 3 pints per acre. For non-turf areas, rate can be increased to 2 to 5 pints per acre. Application can be made to grass seedlings after second mowing and to newly sodded, sprigged, or plugged grasses 3 to 4 weeks after operations. Sod farm rates include 1.25 pints per acre for creeping bentgrass, 2 to 3 pints per acre for all other cool season grasses listed on label and 1.5 to 1.8 pints per acre for all warm season grasses listed on label.​
[carfentrazone + 2,4-D ester + MCPP + dicamba], MOA 14 + 4 + 4 + 4 (2.2 EC) (Speed Zone) 0.75 to 1.8 fl oz 2 to 5 pt 0.55 to 1.375
Precaution and Remarks: May be used on annual and perennial bluegrass, annual and perennial ryegrass, tall and fine fescue, creeping and colonial bentgrass, common and hybrid bermudagrass, and zoysiagrass. For use in ornamental turf, golf courses, lawns, sod farms, cemeteries, and parks. Optimum results when applied when temperatures are between 45 and 75 degrees F but may be applied up to 90 degrees F. Lower rates may be used in cooler weather. Rainfast within 3 hr and may reseed after 2 week. May apply 3 to 4 wk after sodding, sprigging, or plugging. Also may be used on bahiagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, seashore paspalum, and kikuyugrass. May reseed after 1 week.​
[carfentrazone + 2,4-D ester + MCPP + dicamba], MOA 14 + 4 + 4 + 4 (0.81 EC) (Speed Zone Southern) 0.55 to 2.2 fl oz 1.5 to 6 pt 0.1519 to 0.6075
Precaution and Remarks: May be used on annual and perennial bluegrass, annual and perennial ryegrass, tall and fine fescue, creeping and colonial bentgrass, common and hybrid bermudagrass, and zoysiagrass. For use in ornamental turf, golf courses, lawns, sod farms, cemeteries, and parks. Optimum results when applied when temperatures are between 45 and 75 degrees F but may be applied up to 90 degrees F. Lower rates may be used in cooler weather. Rainfast within 3 hr and may reseed after 2 week. May apply 3 to 4 wk after sodding, sprigging, or plugging. Also may be used on bahiagrass, buffalograss, St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, seashore paspalum, and kikuyugrass. May reseed after 1 week.​
[carfentrazone + MCPA ester + MCPP + dicamba], MOA 14 + 4 + 4 + 4 (2.91 EC) (Power Zone) 0.75 to 2.2 fl oz 2 to 6 pt 0.7275 to 2.1825
Precaution and Remarks: Same precautions and turf uses as [carfentrazone + 2,4-D ester + MCPP + dicamba] 2.2 EC except cannot be applied to creeping and colonial bentgrass.
penoxsulam + sulfentrazone + 2,4-D + dicamba (Avenue South) 1.0 to 2.2 fl oz 2.7 to 6 pt 0.271 to 0.602
Precaution and Remarks: May be used on established Kentucky bluegrass, annual bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, annual ryegrass, tall fescue, common and hybrid bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, and seashore paspalum. Do not apply more than 2.7 pints per acre on fescue or perennial ryegrass unless turf injury can be tolerated. Do not apply more than 3.5 pints per acre on St. Augustinegrass unless injury, discoloration, stunting, and thinning can be tolerated.
[sulfentrazone + 2,4-D amine + MCPP + dicamba], MOA 14 + 4 + 4 + 4 (2.18 SL) (Surge) 0.92 to 1.84 fl oz 2.5 to 5 pt 0.68 to 1.36
Precaution and Remarks: Apply 2.5 to 3.25 pints per acre on warm season turf including bermudagrass species, zoysiagrass, bahiagrass, and buffalograss. Apply 3.25 to 4 pints per acre on cool season turf including species of bluegrass, ryegrass, fescue, and bentgrass (excluding greens and tees). 4 to 5 pints per acre needed to control corn speedwell and wild violet. Turf areas include residential, ornamental, institutional, and sod farms. Apply to grass seedlings after second mowing. Apply to sodded, sprigged, or plugged areas 3 to 4 weeks after operations. Treated areas may be reseeded 3 weeks after application.​
[triclopyr ester + sulfentrazone + 2,4-D ester + dicamba], MOA 4 + 14 + 4 + 4 (2.51 EC) (Tzone SE) 0.75 to 1.5 fl oz 2 to 4 pt 0.628 to 1.26
Precaution and Remarks: Apply 2 to 2.25 pints per acre on fully dormant bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and bahiagrass. Apply 3.25 to 4 pints per acre on annual and perennial bluegrass and ryegrass, and tall, red, and fine fescue. Rainfast within 3 hours. Approved turf areas include residential, ornamental, institutional, noncropland, and sod farms. Apply to grass seedlings after the second or third mowing. Apply to sodded, sprigged, or plugged areas 3 to 4 weeks after operations. Treated areas may be reseeded 3 weeks after application.​
florasulam, MOA 2 (0.42 SC) (Defendor) 0.09 fl oz 4 fl oz 0.013125
Precaution and Remarks: Can be used on all established major warm and cool season turfgrass species in residential lawns, golf courses (excluding putting greens), sports fields, sod farms and commercial turf areas. Controls Carolina geranium, species of chickweed, clover and dandelion, vetch, dollarweed and common groundsel. Do not exceed 3 applications or 12 fluid ounces per acre per year. Apply to newly seeded or sprigged turf after third mowing or when tillering and secondary root development has occurred. Wait 4 weeks to reseed. When used alone, add a nonionic surfactant at 0.2% by volume. ​
penoxsulam, MOA 2 (various brands) 014 G 3.4 o 10.3 lb 150 to 450 lb 0.02 to 0.06
0.03 G 1.7 to 4.6 lb 75 to 200 lb 0.02 to 0.06
0.31 L 0.092 to 0.55 fl oz 0.25 to 1.5 pt 0.01 to 0.058
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to residential and commercial lawns, golf courses (excluding greens and tees), parks, athletic fields, and sod farms. Use on turf that has been mowed at least 3 times or sprigs that have developed secondary root systems. Apply up to 75 pounds per acre of 0.03 G or 150 pounds per acre of 0.014 G to perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. Apply up to 150 pounds per acre of 0.03 G or 300 pounds per acre of 0.014 G to bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fine fescue. Apply up to 200 pounds per acre of 0.03 G or 450 pounds per acre of 0.014 G to bermudagrass, centipedegreass, zoysiagrass, and St. Augustinegrass. Do not apply to dormant centipedegrass. Reapply at 4 weeks if needed but do not exceed 300 pounds per acre of 0.03 G or 650 pounds per acre of 0.014 G per season. After treatment, wait 3 to 4 weeks to reseed. Same statement as above concerning turf uses and reseeding intervals. Bermudagrass and kikuyugrass are the only warm season grasses labeled for use. Apply up to 1 pint per acre on bentgrass, 1.5 pint per acre on bermudagrass and kikuyugrass and 2 pints per acre on tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. Do not apply greater than 2.3 pints per acre per year. Surfactant not required.
[triclopyr + clopyralid], MOA 4 + 4 (3 SL) (various brands) 0.37 to 0.74 fl oz 1 to 2 pt 0.28 to 0.56
+
0.09 to 0.19
Precaution and Remarks: Do not apply to home lawns. May be used on centipedegrass, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, tall fescue, creeping red fescue, chewing fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass. Repeat treatment may be necessary for prostrate spurge and wild violet. Quali-Pro formulation: maintain 0.5 inch height for warm season turf. Do not apply to bermudagrass sod farms. Wait 3 weeks to reseed. Do not use grass clippings for compost or mulch.
[MCPA ester + triclopyr ester + dicamba], MOA 4 + 4 + 4 (3.6 EC) (various brands) 0.91 to 1.29 fl oz 2.5 to 3.5 pt 1.125 to 1.575
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to home lawns by a commercial applicator. Not for use on turf grown for resale or other commercial use as sod or seed production. Use on perennial bluegrass, ryegrass, fescue species, bentgrass (excluding greens and tees), bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and bahiagrass. Do not apply to seedling grasses until well established. Wait 3 to 4 weeks after application to seed.​
[MCPA amine + triclopyr amine + dicamba], MOA 4 + 4 + 4 (4.56 L) (various brands) 0.73 to 1.1 fl oz 2 to 3 pt 1.14 to 1.71
Precaution and Remarks:
[MCPA amine + fluroxypyr ester + triclopyr amine, MOA 4 + 4 + 4 (3.41 L) (Battleship III) 0.37 to 1.47 fl oz 1 to 4 pt 0.42625 to 1.705
Precaution and Remarks: Apply by a commercial applicator to residential, industrial, and institutional lawns, sod farms, parks, cemeteries, athletic fields, roadsides, and golf courses excluding greens and tees. May apply to bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fescue species, bahiagrass, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, and zoysiagrass. Do not spray on warm season turf less than 0.5 inch and do not exceed 3 pints per acre. Generally apply 3 to 4 pints per acre except on fairway bentgrass, which can only tolerate 2 pints per acre. Wait 3 to 4 weeks after application to reseed. Check label for spray adjuvant recommendation.​

Species Data

  • GROWTH SEASON / LIFE CYCLE
    • perennial weed
  • GROWTH HABIT
  • LEAFLET NUMBER
    • three; usually a white crescent-shaped mark near the base of the upper surface of each leaflet
      Figure 5
  • LEAF MARGIN
    • slight toothing on leaflet edges
  • LEAF HAIRS
    • none
  • LEAF / LEAFLET SHAPE
    • oval/egg-shaped/elliptical
  • LEAF WIDTH
    • 12 - 2 inches
  • LEAF VENATION
    • pinnate
  • LEAF ARRANGEMENT
    • alternate
  • ROOT TYPE
    • fibrous; can usually find round nodules on the roots which fix atmospheric nitrogen for use by plants
      Figure 6
  • FLOWER COLOR
White clover growth habit.Figure 1. White clover growth habit.White clover growth habit.Figure 2. White clover growth habit.White clover growth habit.Figure 3. White clover growth habit.White clover growth habit.Figure 4. White clover growth habit.White clover leaflet number.Figure 5. White clover leaflet number.White clover root type.Figure 6. White clover root type.White clover flower color.Figure 7. White clover flower color.White clover flower color.Figure 8. White clover flower color.White clover flower color.Figure 9. White clover flower color.White clover flower color.Figure 10. White clover flower color.White clover flower color.Figure 11. White clover flower color.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Charles PeacockDr. Charles PeacockProfessor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist (919) 515-7615 charles_peacock@ncsu.eduCrop and Soil Sciences - NC State University
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This Extension factsheet can also be viewed at:
https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/white-clover