Skip to Content

What Kills Clover But Not Grass?

Sharing is caring!

Clover is one of the worst perennial weeds that homeowners live to fight as it quickly mars the lawn. The clover is a slow-growing, fast-spreading plant with around three to four leaves and pink or white flowers.

Its aggressive mode of propagation allows the small plant to multiply, making it difficult to control. Every homeowner has a challenge knowing what kills clover but not grass when trying to eliminate it from the yard.

Fortunately, the guide below will help you kill clover without damaging your lawn if clover is growing and crawling in your garden.

What Kills Clover But Not Grass?

Remove It Manually

The most natural way to kill a clover is to remove it manually. After spotting it on your lawn, please remove it. You can do this by loosening the bottom soil and gently lifting the clump from the earth. Repeat this process until you successfully remove all clover plants from the lawn.

What Kills Clover But Not Grass Remove It Manually 1

Use this method to get rid of crabgrass and other herbs or weeds growing where they should not. It will take a while, but the reward is that the plant will never come back.

It is essential to wear protective gear to prevent urushiol on the skin. Long sleeves, thick gloves, and long pants are vital.

Use Plastic Covering

The surest way to kill a clover is to deprive it of what it requires to succeed: sunlight and oxygen. Use a garbage bag or some other type of plastic material to cover the clover. Protect the covering with heavy objects or stakes to ensure it does not blow away.

Use this method only on larger clover areas for the best outcome and increase your chances of killing clover without killing the surrounding grass. In a few weeks, a plastic covering will kill the clover and the oncoming seeds.

It is also a great way to remove crabgrass patches on the grass or other weeds in a given area. It also requires minimal effort. If you have time, smothering is the ideal solution for such weeds.

Fertilize The Lawn

The more you fertilize your garden, the fewer issues you will have with clover. To control the clover, check the lawn’s nitrogen levels, as the correct levels will give you an advantage over these weeds.

House Garden HGNIB01L Nitrogen Boost Fertilizer - What Kills Clover But Not Grass
House Garden HGNIB01L Nitrogen Boost Fertilizer via

The clover needs a little nitrogen, so look for weed products with more nitrogen than other fertilizers. Treat lawns grown in clover with a slow-release formula, as they only work on small patches.

Apply Broadleaf Herbicide

Broadleaf herbicides contain chemicals like mecoprop, dicamba, and the associated acid and effectively control deciduous weeds. These chemicals disrupt the growth patterns of weeds, break the stems, cut the leaves, and twist.

They do not harm the lawn but are harmful to some insects and individual garden plants, and you need to use them with care. Using a foliage herbicide, use it as local treatment and not apply it generously in the garden.

Proper watering is essential when using a leaf herbicide. Water the lawn well the day before using the herbicide to reduce clover killing on grounds.

Use Corn Gluten Meals

You can buy cornmeal gluten online or at local garden centers. This method’s advantage is that it does not affect plants’ growth other than clover and weeds that you need to remove.

Corn Gluten Meals - What Kills Clover But Not Grass
Corn Gluten Meals via Feedipedia

The gluten from corn flour inhibits clover utilizing dipeptides it releases in the soil, riding other unnecessary seeds. Use approximately 20 pounds of product per 1,000 square feet of grass. After the application of corn gluten, water sufficiently and allow it to dry.

Adjust The Mowing Height

Cutting over a clover with a mower is a quick way to control the growth of the clover. Most people believe that lowering the mower’s height close to the ground is the most efficient way to control the clover.

The clover is an easy-growing herb and has a low root system. If you let the lawn grow taller, the clover cannot access the sunlight.

Use An Organic Weed Killer

An organic weed killer may seem too good to be true for weed control, but a new clover herbicide is lately in use. Unbelievably, organic weed control weakens and kills the clover on your lawn without harming your grass.

Bonide BND7465 Burnout Concentrate - What Kills Clover But Not Grass
Bonide BND7465 Burnout Concentrate via

Spray Adios directly onto the clover for use, and after the clover dies, the grass takes over where the clover was. Make sure you are watering your lawn correctly.

If you use Adios on a yard that has water shortage or excessive heat, there is a risk that the weed killer will kill both the lawn and the clover.

It is advisable to water your lawn twice a week. We recommend deep watering for the grass to receive an inch of water and then use Adios the day after wetting.

Burn Clover With Ammonia

Despite clover’s positive uses as food for pollinators and wild animals, it is a harmful herb with specific chemicals for eliminating it from your lawn. Ammonia is one of those chemicals, and if you are using ammonia to burn the clover, you need to get it right to make sure it is functional.

The best period to apply ammonia to the clover is the day after the rain. If there is no rain, you can water the lawn and use ammonia the next day.

Do not use domestic ammonia. Instead, buy ammonium sulfate, as it is specific to lawns. Follow the instructions and spray the clover once a month. Combine ammonia treatments with a suitable conditioner to obtain the best results.

Use Dish Soap

If you want a natural control to end the clover problem, you can make a homemade weed killer. Many gardeners report good results when they use it as a topical treatment.

To make this herbicide simple, fill the spray bottle almost entirely with vinegar and add a few detergent drops. Shake the container to mix the ingredients.

Spray copiously over the clover as a seed spot treatment, or use as spray-on dandelions or other weeds that grow where you don’t want them to grow. Be careful when spraying, as this herbicide can kill neighboring plants.

Rip Everything Up

If all of the above methods fail to work and you are still having weed control problems, the final option is to rip everything up. When you uproot them, the clover, the crab, the dandelion, and all other weeds disappear forever.

After ripping them up, apply a herbicide of foliage all over the place, use a rotary cultivator and mix the soil. Then add some mulch and fertilizer.

This strategy is the most extended and most laborious method, but it works. Using this method will help you better control future weeds with the correct lawn care techniques.


In conclusion, most clover types are perennial, so you can count on them to return if you don’t control them. Its seeds can also appear in parts of a lawn that previously had no clover.

When you see fluffy flowers on your grass and a swarm of bees nearby, you can be sure there is clover around you.

Manual removal of the lawn’s clover can be challenging since the roots have spread and the plant mixes with large grass patches. Hopefully, the above guide will help you eliminate clover without killing your lawn.