Red Clover [Trifolium pratense]

Introduction: Red Clover, scientifically known as Trifolium pratense, is a perennial weed that stands out from its counterpart, white clover, in several distinct ways. Its tufted growth, coupled with its strong tap root, makes it a notable presence in many lawns. This weed’s pinkish flowers and the characteristic “V” marking on its leaves make it relatively easy to identify.

Description: The Red Clover is characterized by its three-leaflet division, with each leaflet sporting a light “V” marking. This distinct marking can be a helpful identifier when differentiating it from other similar weeds. Its flowers, which bloom between May and October, are pinkish in hue and range between 13 – 25mm across. While there’s a resemblance to white clover, Red Clover’s leaves and flowers are notably larger, and its overall growth is more upright.

Control Measures:

  1. Hand Weeding:
    • For gardens with a minimal Red Clover presence, hand weeding can be a practical solution. Its strong tap root makes it essential to ensure that the entire plant, including the root, is removed to prevent regrowth.
  2. Chemical Control:
    • In situations where Red Clover has proliferated extensively, chemical intervention may be required. Opt for a selective weed killer that lists mecoprop as an active ingredient. Another effective option is a combination of fluroxypyr & clopyralid, commonly found in products like ‘Verdone Extra’. Given Red Clover’s resilient nature, a subsequent application might be necessary to ensure comprehensive removal.

After addressing the Red Clover infestation, any resultant bare patches on the lawn should be taken care of promptly. A mix of appropriate soil with grass seeds can facilitate rapid recovery, restoring the lawn’s lush appearance.

Conclusion: Red Clover, with its distinctive appearance and resilient growth, can challenge even the most seasoned gardeners. However, with timely and appropriate interventions, maintaining a Red Clover-free lawn is entirely achievable. For a comprehensive guide on using selective herbicides and other essential lawn care tips, our Lawn Weeds page is a valuable resource.

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

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