Getting rid of clover WITHOUT chemicals?????

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by MowingMowingMowing, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. MowingMowingMowing

    MowingMowingMowing LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 526

    A new client of mine has a bunch of clover they would like to get rid of. They DO NOT WANT ANY CHEMICALS though. Any ideas?

    Thanks.
     
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Vinegar the lawn every 4 weeks for at least 3 months. then replant. Repeat twice a year for the rest of the time you have that "new client"
     
  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834


    How deep are their pockets?
     
  4. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834


    How deep are their pockets?
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Clover, depending on the type, is very difficult to pull. However, everything pulls well after a good soaking, and the right tools. Could it be done in a couple of hours? Not that much money involved.
     
  6. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    I have pulled some clover before. If its all over the yard and there are large patches, that may not be practical. If there are just a few small patches, give it a try - a foot-wide patch might mainly be rooted right in the center - it creeps out in all directions.

    I have often heard that clover indicates low nitrogen, and that adding nitrogen to the soil will prevent and/or get rid of it, but can't say I've seen any dramatic results there.

    I think Tukey also recommends calcium for clover.

    These days, I lean more toward an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach, rather than strictly organic no chemicals ever. Which means that we analyze the problem and choose the best or most appropriate or least toxic solution. Last time I had to get rid of some clover patches in a fescue lawn (for an organically-oriented customer), I waited until the end of the summer, sprayed it once with Trimec (broadleaf post-emergent), and then reseeded. A little bit has come back, but the customer is not that picky. We just didn't want it to keep spreading and taking over the lawn. And we know that we can easily take it out anytime.

    There is a HUGE difference between carefully using the right amount of the right chemical on a small area one time and having the whole lawn sprayed with all kinds of chemicals 6 times a year.

    As to the (half-serious) vinegar suggestion above, just so you know, vinegar is non-selective - like Roundup, it kills everything. So you could do that, but then you have to replace the grass. You could also dig up an area (remove an inch) and resod it. (Vinegar is also a "chemical", and can hurt your eyes).

    Possibly, theoretically, just taking really good care of the lawn, and giving it lots of good organic fert might help with the clover - over time. Some people are patient.

    I used to point out to people that 20 years ago, they put clover seed in with grass seed. It is odd that people who want to be so strictly organic are sometimes also wanting the "perfect" mono-culture lawn. And they want it now.

    And of course clover is helping to put nitrogen into the soil. But I do think that it indicates that nitrogen-cycling is not occurring - there is not enough organic matter and life in the soil.

    I have to admit, clover can spread and outcompete turfgrass. So it sometimes needs to be dealt with.
     
  7. MowingMowingMowing

    MowingMowingMowing LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 526

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the replies, sorry I haven't been on I had a little trip to a buddy's farm for the past couple days.

    Keep the replies coming. I see the vinegar idea was kind of shot down from the last post... I can't use any chemicals b/c the owner's child has autism which they said is linked to chemicals, so any type of chemical is not an option.

    Hmmm... any other ideas besides pulling, as this doesn't seem like it would work for this yard
     
  8. MowingMowingMowing

    MowingMowingMowing LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 526

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the replies, sorry I haven't been on I had a little trip to a buddy's farm for the past couple days.

    Keep the replies coming. I see the vinegar idea was kind of shot down from the last post... I can't use any chemicals b/c the owner's child has autism which they said is linked to chemicals, so any type of chemical is not an option.

    Hmmm... any other ideas besides pulling, as this doesn't seem like it would work for this yard
     
  9. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Look into the Green Guardian, a sponsor on this site. It's not labeled as organic, but edible, as all ingredients are used in the food or makeup industries. It's also not cheap, but if you're customer wants a pesticide free option,this is it. If you follow their directions you should get good results on clover. It usually takes 2 treatments to get rid of it.

    If the patches are large enough, you will probably need to over seed anyway.
     
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Lol, gotta love ignorance. Everything you eat is and contains chemicals. Food is full of enzymes and assembled molecules (chemicals). Some pesticides are just enzymes as well. Heck, I guess you could say the autism is caused by chemicals. The chemicals that make up the child (and his/her brain) are not working like they should. Lol, poor kid. If "chemicals" are the problem you need to ship him/her to the only place that chemicals don't exist. The abys called outer space.

    Lol but more seriously... Like Yardmonkey hinted I was joking about the vinegar. The lawn would be dead half the year. And even more seriously... if you are dealing with a potential customer that is that ignorant... RUN! If you don't you will wish you did. This sounds like one of those, "I will look it up on the internet and trust the first thing I read" customers. They are not good customers!

    Just my .02

    There is also a fungi that apparently attacks various weeds coming out of Canada... but I wouldn't use it yet. It has not had NEAR enough testing. You might be avoiding man made chemicals only to expose the autistic child to more serious chemicals, spores, and enzymes that come form the fungi. Again, I would walk away.
     

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