The Q&A Archives: purple clover

Question: We have a purple type clover with yellow flowers that is taking over our lawn. I have used Weed B Gone on it four times this summer and it continues to grow. It seems as though the leaves of the clover repel the week killer as the liquid rolls off the leaf instead of lying on it. I even added liquid dish detergent to the spray I mix up so it would adhere to the leaves. Suggestions please!

Answer: Sounds like oxalis to me. Oxalis leaves are composed of 3 heart-shaped leaflets. A clover leaf is composed of 3 oval-shaped leaflets whose margins are finely toothed and veins are prominent. Hand dig the weeds or use herbicides as a the last resort: In cool-season lawns, Turflon is very effective on existing oxalis and clovers. Be aware that it damages warm season lawns, like bermuda and St. Augustinegrass. For these lawns use the three and four way broadleaf weed killers, containing 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, and 2,4-DP or MSMA or carfentrazone. All the major companies market some kind of product for oxalis control like Gordon?s SpeedZone or Trimec Plus, Cooke?s Spurge, Oxalis & Dandelion Killer, or Bayer?s All in One Weed Killer for Lawns. Just make sure that it can be used in your kind of lawn and that oxalis is listed on the label or you are wasting your money, your time, and our environment.

To keep oxalis seeds from germinating use a preemergent herbicide. Barricade (prodiamine), Dimension (dithiopyr), and Pendulum or Scott?s Halts (pendimethalin) are effective. The key to a more permanent control of oxalis is to apply preemergent herbicide in spring and fall and spot spray with postemergent herbicides as needed. Then it is up to you to maintain a vigorous and healthy lawn without overdoing the water and fertilizer.

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