Black Medic [Medicago lupulina]

Black Medic, scientifically termed as Medicago lupulina, is a weed that can often be a bane for gardeners and lawn enthusiasts. Its resemblance to other weeds like lesser trefoil or yellow suckling clover can sometimes lead to confusion in identification. However, with a keen eye and the right knowledge, one can effectively manage and control the spread of Black Medic. This article provides an in-depth understanding of Black Medic and suggests three prime ways to combat its growth.

Unraveling the Black Medic

Appearance and Growth: Black Medic can manifest as both an annual and perennial weed. Its growth pattern is prostate within turf, making it a sprawling presence in lawns. Its leaves, akin to clover, consist of three leaflets that are oval in shape.

Distinguishing Feature: One of the defining characteristics of Black Medic is its seed pods. Unlike lesser trefoil, the seed pods of Black Medic turn a distinct black as they mature.

Flowering: This weed showcases its vibrant yellow flowers between April and September. As time progresses, these yellow blooms transform, taking on a brownish hue.

Preferred Habitat: Black Medic is adaptable and can thrive in various conditions. However, its preference leans towards dry soils that are notably deficient in nutrients.

Effective Control Measures

Combatting the spread of Black Medic requires a blend of mechanical and chemical strategies. Here are the top three methods to manage this weed:

  1. Hand Weeding: Given its shallow root system, hand weeding proves to be an efficient method for dealing with Black Medic. By ensuring the complete removal of its roots, one can effectively curb its regrowth.
  2. Chemical Treatment: In cases where Black Medic has extensively colonized a lawn or garden, chemical treatments might be the most viable solution. However, it’s worth noting that Black Medic can be somewhat resistant, often necessitating multiple herbicide applications for optimal control.
  3. Safety and Lawn Rehabilitation: As with any chemical treatment, safety is paramount. Ensure that you wear the necessary protective gear and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding application and health precautions. Once Black Medic has been dealt with, the resultant bare patches should be tended to. A mix of appropriate soil and grass seed can be applied to these areas, promoting lawn recovery and preventing future weed infestations.


Black Medic, while a common sight in many lawns, need not be a permanent fixture. With timely identification, consistent management practices, and the right control measures, it’s entirely possible to maintain a lush, green, and Black Medic-free lawn. Whether you opt for manual removal or chemical treatments, the key lies in early intervention and persistence.

John Storm

Oliver Thompson
Lawn Care Expert

About Oliver: Oliver Thompson, a seasoned lawn care expert from the Cotswolds with over two decades of experience, invites all enthusiasts to join him in exploring the world of lawns, sharing knowledge, and fostering a vibrant community of lawn enthusiasts. More info

Leave a Comment

Some posts may contain affiliate links. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.