Clovers (White Clover, Burclover)
Texas Cooperative Extension
Text and images copyright © Richard Duble.
Several species of clover are troublesome in turfgrass since they develop
dense patches of lush vegetation that compete with grasses in the early
spring. White clover is a desirable species in pastures and rangelands as
it provides nutritious forage and adds nitrogen to the soil. White clover
is a perennial plant in areas where summer rainfall is adequate. In other
areas it reestablishes each fall from seed. Burclover is an annual plant
with little forage value.
Description. White clover (Trifolium repens), also called "Dutch clover", is a perennial, mat-forming herbaceous plant with a creeping stem that roots at the nodes. Leaves are trifoliate with long, erect petioles; leaflets are widely elliptic with toothed margins and usually with a white splotch near the base of the upper surface. Blooms are a spherical cluster of white or pinkish flowers that develop on long stalks. Flower clusters are about 1 inch wide and appear slightly above the leaves. Plants bloom from March to October. Seeds are kidney-shaped or circular in outline and reddish brown in color with a smooth surface.
Burclover (Medicago spp.) is an annual species whose vegetative characteristics are similar to white clover. In place of the whitish splotches on the upper leaf surfaces characteristic of white clover, burclover has purplish markings (spotted burclover) or no distinct markings. Flowers develop in small clusters and the yellow petals fall soon after blooming. Seed develop in pods, usually in clusters, with a double row of soft spines forming the bur. Burclover blooms from March through May.
Control. Clover can be controlled preemerge in warm season turfgrasses with simazine (Princep) or isoxaben (Gallery). Postemerge, both white clover and burclover can be controlled with hormone products such as Confront (triclopyr and clopyralid), MCPP (Chipco Turf Herbicide MCPP), dicamba (Banvel), 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba (Trimec), 2,4-D and dichlorprop (Weedone DPC) and 2,4-D and triclopyr (Turflon II Amine).