Clovers in Colorado #141649

Asked July 18, 2013, 7:57 PM EDT

I was wondering if you could help me out.  I have a question about clover in lawns.  I live in Boulder, CO.  We have a fairly small lawn and I have been careful for the 25 plus years that we have been here to pull up any clover.  (We laid the sod ourselves.)  Now I'm learning that clover can be a valuable asset to lawns.

However, I seem to be getting two types of clover.  The one that I am used to is the white clover.  One next-door neighbor, however, planted something that looks like clover, but it has small yellow flowers.  He planted it as an accent plant in amongst stones.  It of course has since then propagated to our yard.  I'm going to attach a picture of both clovers.  I'm mostly interested to know if the yellow clover is beneficial to the lawn or should I be pulling it up?

Thank you.


Boulder County Colorado

Expert Response

your white clover is OK in the lawn.  Some people like having clover in their lawn and others feel that it disrupts the uniformity of a grass lawn.
When white clover thrives in a lawn it suggests that the grass is not getting enough nitrogen fertilizer (clovers as legumes are able to use atmospheric nitrogen).

The other photo shows a weed that is not a clover.  It is a weed that grows in lawns and in bare soils that stay moist, called Oxalis or Creeping Woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata).  It "creeps" in the lawn, rooting where stems touch moist soil. Seedpods "explode" to disseminate seed several feet from the plant.  Leaves often turn purplish with the arrival of cooler weather. Oxalis is more common in thin, less vigorous turf that is mowed too low or given frequent, light irrigation.
Pull Oxalis carefully asap and bag to discard - seedpods (at 1-and 7-o'clock in photo) are near maturity, ready to expel seeds.
If you have lots of Oxalis now, it may be easier to spray it with an appropriate herbicide;  note that Weed-B-Gone herbicide doesn't control it well.  There are a few "oxalis and spurge killer" herbicides available at garden centers.    Read and follow label directions of any herbicide. 

Mow high, water less frequently but more heavily and maintain a dense, well-fertilized lawn to minimize oxalis. 
Robert Cox Replied July 19, 2013, 12:51 PM EDT
Thank you so much for the information.  At this point there is relatively little of the Oxalis in our yard and I will certainly pull it up carefully ASAP.  I will also talk to our neighbor about it growing in his rocks.  When he originally put in the rocks, I thought he had planted it there on purpose, but maybe I am mistaken and it spread there from some place else.

The Question Asker Replied July 20, 2013, 4:45 PM EDT

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