Clover

Clover is a weed that can be found in most gardens. It’s a perennial weed, meaning it will come back year after year if not removed.

Clover identification is important because there are many different types of clovers and they all have their own set of characteristics and needs for removal. In this guide, we will discuss how to identify clover, the seasonal changes it goes through and how to get rid of it.

This flower is what gives clover its name – “clover” comes from an old English word meaning “four-leaved.” A good way to remember this weed’s identification feature is that if you find one leaf, it may or may not be clover; but if you see four leaves together then there’s probably some around!

This blog post will provide an in-depth guide on what Clover are, how they grow, and how to eradicate them from your garden.

Quick Facts

Common names: Red clover, white clover, four-leaf clover, trefoil, medick
Scientific name: Trifolium spp.
Family: Fabaceae
Origin: native
Flowering season: June to September
Habitat: hilly terrain, lawns, gardens, pastures, orchards, meadows.

Clover Identification

Clover is an annual plant that can grow up to four feet tall and one foot wide in a single season with higher concentrations of clover during the summer months, but this weed isn’t just limited to lawns!

It will often invade gardens too because it’s very common for seeds from your sidewalk or steps to blow into them.

This plant thrives when there is ample sunlight, moisture and nitrogen present; however, excessive amounts of any of these elements will stunt its growth if not completely kill it off.

Clover also needs good soil drainage so heavy clay soils are some of its worst enemies while sandy loams provide some level of equability to all aspects like light penetration and water retention; as such, you’ll find that clover is often found in areas that are somewhat hilly where the terrain changes and drainage becomes more difficult.

Clover identification relies heavily on the appearance of their stem and leaves. The Cloverleaf is usually heart-shaped in that it has a pointed base with three to five lobes, which looks like an arrowhead pointing up from the base.

Clover identification is important to weed out because it can be toxic and even fatal if eaten, as well as reducing the quality of grass and ruining lawns!

What do Clover look like?

Characteristics that make up the Cloverleaf, stem, root and flower are detailed below.

Clover can be identified by its leaves and flowers. Common types of clovers are purple, white or yellow (mostly found in lawns) but there are other colours as well.

The colour ranges between green (usually early spring) and red or purple at other times of the year as they grow taller; this weed can be recognized by its square stems below ground level which are called “woody stolons”.

These clovers have flowers all over and cluster together in groups with long stems thus giving them their name- Clove comes from the Latin word meaning “small nail”.

The leaves of a four-leaf clover
The leaves of a four-leaf clover

Leaves: Clover will have three leaves with rounded edges. The lobes on the leaf have a jagged edge and it has either two rounded or three-pointed tips coming from the centre. These lobes will grow to form a heart shape if left alone for long periods of time

Stem of the clover plant with its flowering head
The stem of the clover plant with its flowering head

Stem: its stem will branch at least twice from the ground upwards before going straight up again (as opposed to branching off into other plants); each set of branches form what looks like small ‘Y’ shapes coming off one another.

Clover will also have big yellowish bumps on their stems (also called rhizomes). These bumpy parts break off easily so they’re easy to spot for removal purposes as well.

Roots: White sweet clover rapidly develops a deep fleshy taproot. This was found to reach a depth of 2.5 feet at the end of 7 weeks and about 6 feet after 4 months of growth.

Mature plants have roots 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter and 5 to 8 feet deep.

Close-up of a white clover flower
Close-up of a white clover flower

Flowers: The flower is made up of five petals that almost look like they’re fused with their spokes pointing outwards at 90 degrees; this is different from most flowering plants where the petals point upwards towards one another forming an umbrella shape.

These are made up of many small florets and have a dark purple colour that grows in clusters on the stem with green leaves below them.

Clover flowers are very small and white, with a yellow centre. They come out in the middle of summer to early fall and grow alongside clovers’ green leaves which can be found at any time of year!

Seeds: This weed’s seeds come in pods and each pod contains four to eight seeds. The seeds become viable in as little as 12 days.

The Problem

Clover is not always a problem, in fact, most farmers encourage clover and use weed killers that are ‘Clover Safe’ to ensure only the grass and clover is encouraged to grow. However, in Lawns it can look untidy & swarm out grass; and in pasture land, it can cause issues of laminitis with horses due to the high amount of nitrogen it can produce.

Clover Seasonal Changes

Clover has a life cycle, that is divided into two parts: the vegetation and reproductive stages. The vegetative stage is about three weeks long, while the reproductive stage lasts around six weeks.

This weed may be hard at first glance and has many different variations including Purple Clover, Red Clover and White Clover all found in most temperate climates.

Close-up of a red clover - Triflorium pratense
Close-up of red clover – Trifolium pratense

Clover in Spring

In early spring season is when Clover’s leaves start to develop- this time of year also shows their first signs of growth from swelling little bulbs at the base of each leaf stem.

This can make it easier for you to identify clover because they’re much shorter now- typically between ¼ inch tall or less. It’s important during this period of development because if left alone, these plants could become infested with other weeds and grasses around them!

In early spring, clover starts to grow with leaves appearing at its top called cotyledons which are small in size and heart-shaped in appearance.

These will start shrinking as soon as they provide enough energy for the growth of larger green leaves below them; this process continues until midsummer when these old plants die off or are eaten by grazing animals such as deer who may also trample new seedlings so it’s important not to let them get established.

It blooms from early spring until late summer with white being the most common variety. Red clovers have similar traits but bloom later into the summer.

Red clover flowering in summer
Red clover flowering in summer

Clover in Summer

Clover flowers appear on stems from mid-summer onwards.

Red clovers have similar traits: one main stem with three oval-shaped leaves that are often slightly rougher than their white counterpart due to more coarse hair along their edges. They bloom later into the summer.

As Clover blooms in the late summer months, they have now reached heights of up to a foot tall. The flowers that bloom in this time frame create seeds that will grow into more clovers next year!

Clover in autumn flowering with its long stem
Clover in autumn-flowering with its long stem

Clover in Autumn

In the autumn season, Clover looks more like a bush than a ground cover due to their long stems covered in flowers (which only last at most one day) that cluster together around each other. These clusters are made up to be as tall and thick as possible but are not usually taller than a foot.

The flowers that bloom in the fall create seeds that will grow into more clovers next year!

Clover is now at its tallest size- typically between 12 inches and 18 inches tall.

In late autumn, red clovers turn brown due to a chemical reaction that occurs within their cells. The plant loses a lot of moisture and its leaves start to dry up.

Most clovers are dark green but will eventually turn yellow as time goes on in the autumn.

Young clover in winter covered with frost
Young clover in winter covered with frost

Clover in Winter

In winter, there is no need for weed killer as clovers are not growing during this time so any remaining will simply be flattened out until they re-emerge in spring.

Clover field with flowers in the summer time
Clover field with flowers in the summertime

How to get rid of Clover

There are many ways to kill weeds with chemicals and other methods during this period including spraying weed killer on foliage or digging up roots before they produce seeds!

Clovers spread very quickly and can take over a lawn within days–this means the best time to remove them is when they are still small enough to pull up with your hands instead of using chemicals

Method One – Herbicide Treatment

Weed and grass killers like Roundup will kill clover as well.

These weed killers are also helpful if you’re trying to get rid of the yellowish bumps on a clover stem – just make sure you apply it from top to bottom!

If your lawn is looking less green than usual, then using a product that contains nitrogen may help with healthy growth again.

Repeat throughout summer where necessary. Apply in cool, moist, calm conditions when there’s the least risk of accidentally damaging nearby garden plants.

Method Two – Digging it out

To remove Clovers, simply pull them out by their roots with your fingers or use a spade shovel if they’re too deep-rooted for you to get them without it.

Make sure to dig around all sides so the entire root system gets loosened from the ground before pulling it away as best you can (and try not to harm any surrounding plants!)

A field full of red clover wildly growing
A field full of red clover wildly growing

Management of Clover

It’s important to remember that while clover can be a tough customer – it does require some upkeep on your part as well. If you’re not an experienced gardener or landscaper.

If you find small patches of four-leaf clovers in your garden, take advantage of this opportunity for free fertilizer by placing them into mulch or compost piles!

Though it is time-consuming, hand weeding or hoeing beds and borders can be the best way to control this weed. However, there are a number of herbicides available that will effectively control Clover. 

In Conclusion

Clover is a tough plant but with this guide outlining all areas for attack, we hope you’re ready to fight back against this enemy before they get too far into your garden again!

Clover is a very adaptable weed that grows in our gardens today and is one of the most resistant. However, using one of the products mentioned below will eliminate it.


How does Clover spread?

The weed spread via its creeping stems or seeds.