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We have clover infesting our grass. Each clover plant has these pod-like objects, that when picked or brushed up against causes white larva-like and red seeds to hop or pop off. The red seeds stick to skin and clothing and is irritating to the skin. The clovers also have little yellow flowers that sprout. How do we get rid of these clovers so we might play and use our lawn again. How do you keep them from coming back?

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A

Not quite sure if the plant you are describing is white clover.  Clover is in the legume family, and the fruits and seeds develop in pods.  If you would like help in identifying this weed, you can bring samples to our office.  It is always best for proper identification in order to recommend an effective control.   I'm sending you a link to Clovers from University of California Integrated Pest Management. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7490.html

From this fact sheet there is a paragraph on clover in turf: Yellow turf and green clover is a good indication of low nitrogen fertility. The invasion of clover into turfgrass can be reduced by using levels of nitrogen fertilizer that will promote grass growth but not the growth of clover; this can be achieved by applying 1 pound of active nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of turfgrass during each month of active turfgrass growth (not to exceed 6 lb active nitrogen/1,000 sq ft/year). Also, high phosphorus in the soil promotes the invasion of clovers. Clover in established turfgrass can not be controlled by fertilization or mowing of the grass. Once clover is established, the annual clovers can be controlled by hand-pulling before seeds are formed. Hand-pulling will need to be repeated as new germination
occurs and desirable turfgrass planted in weeded areas.

Both established annual and perennial clovers can be controlled with postemergent herbicides. The best herbicide to use depends upon the species of turfgrass. Cool-season turfgrasses will tolerate all of the herbicides
that control clover. The herbicide 2,4-D is not effective for clover control; it will injure the plant but does control it.

You did not specify if you were looking for a non-chemical management for clover. I am sending you a link to USU Landscape and Garden Weed Control fact sheet which details management for weeds.
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/HG508.pdf.  Lawn herbicides that can help are included in the fact sheet.  It is always recommended to properly identify the weed you are trying to control, and you are legally responsible to read and follow the label directions.

White clover (Trifolium repens) is a common plant here in Utah that is often used in pasture establishment and grazing of livestock.  If you live in the south part of the county, there are many homes that have horses that may
have a little pasture where the white clover is growing. White clover is a perennial legume that originated in Europe and has become one of the most widely distributed legumes in the world. Because this is so widespread, and
produces a lot of seed, it will be a question of managing and keeping it in check.

Posted on 11 Sep 2007

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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