Lawn Repair - Help With Removing Clover and Lawn Renovation

Red Clover

Your Question:

I just moved into a new home, and they seeded with very cheap seed. My yard is now COVERED in what I believe is red clover. It is tall and has purplish/pinkish flowers. It is everywhere. From what I have read, my yard lacks nitrogen. So it needs fertilizer. I wonder if you can help me to remove it. It is now the end of July. Should I spray a weed killer on the clover to kill it all, then begin fertilizing when it is all dead? I want to clean it out before the winter and hope to fix the yard in the fall when it is a good time to seed. What would the process be to turn my yard into a nice grass-filled lawn?


Note: I’m assuming you are growing a Kentucky bluegrass lawn.

You are correct – lawns with a pale-green to yellow color and green clover patches indicate low nitrogen fertility. Clover can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and thrive in lacking lawns.

Apply a slow-release fertilizer now at a rate of 1/2 lb nitrogen per 1000 ft2 to green up your lawn and help it compete with the clover. Normally, I do not recommend fertilizing cool-season grasses in the middle of the summer. After fertilizing, ensure it gets 1″ of water per week.

To eliminate the clover, use a weed killer that contains 2,4-D and triclopyr or 2,4-D with mecoprop and dicamba. I recommend using Gordon’s Speedzone. The clover can be sprayed now. However, you will get a better kill in early fall – hot and dry weather will reduce the effectiveness of herbicides. If you spray now, choose a day with low temperatures. Speedzone is safe to spray in temps below 90 ° F – spraying in higher temps will damage your grass.

If your lawn is large – over 10,000 sq. ft. – consider hiring a lawn treatment service to do the spraying. They will have the equipment to get good coverage…and a better kill.

Fall Lawn Repair:

  1. Beginning late summer/early fall – spray clover and wait a couple of weeks
  2. Aerate and overseed – run a core aerator over your lawn in at least three directions. Then overseed with a quality seed blend at a rate of 5 lb per 1000 ft2. Apply a starter fertilizer (1/2 lb per 1000 ft2) and water, water, water – keeping the seed moist until it germinates and then make sure it gets up to 1″ of water/rain per week.
  3. Fall fertilizer is the most important for cool-season lawns. Fertilize again in early October and early November with a slow-release or organic-based fertilizer at a rate of 1 lb Nitrogen per 1000 ft2.
  4. How’s the soil? If the builder didn’t bring in good topsoil – at least 2 inches – I would topdress with compost after the seed has sprouted and mowed a couple of times (early October). It’s really easy to do; dump wheelbarrows around your yard and rake in with a leaf rake. Spread 3/4 cubic yards per 1000 ft2.

Get your Smart Lawn Plan and take the guesswork out of fertilizer applications. Easy applications with professional results.

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