Last week we highlighted some common weeds found in the spring and how best to manage those weeds. With many lawn weeds you either like them or loathe them and violets and clover certainly fall into this category. Preventing violet and clover invasions are best managed by improving your soil, maintaining a 3-4 inch grass hight when mowing, and hand pulling when you see clumps growing in your yard. Read on for more information about each plant.
Wild Violets: The plants grow in a rosette with heart-shaped leaves. The flower has 5 petals, with 2 petals displaying hairs at the base and can range in color from purple, blue, white, or yellow. Wild violets are tough to eradicate due to the underground rhizomes that help them spread, and they can persist in a wide variety of soil conditions in both sun and shade. It is easiest to weed them when the soil is moist. Gather the whole plant in your hand and pull up from the base. If you have a larger patch, it might be helpful to dig up around each plant to get as much of the root structure as possible. Photo from: https://extension.psu.edu/lawn-and-turfgrass-weeds-wild-violet
White Clover: Prior to World War II, white clover was included in the grass seed mixes for its ability to fix nitrogen, enrich the soil, and improve turfgrass growth. (Why? Read more here.) Clover is valued for adding plant diversity to a lawn and provides nectar for pollinators. Clover can provide nearly ¼ of your nitrogen fertilizing needs but if you have large clumps, it can go dormant in the winter and leave bare patches. These days, microclover seeds (Trifolium repens var. ‘pipolina’ or ‘pirouette’) are a sought-after component to add to your turf seed mix. Microclover seeds can be expensive and are sold either coated or uncoated; the coated variety containing limestone and a bacteria to aid germination. If you are considering buying microclover seeds or want to learn more about it, please read this PSU article: https://plantscience.psu.edu/reduce-runoff/questions-about-microclover
Red Clover: Red clover is white clover’s big sister and another great plant for the pollinators. The plant grows larger than white clover and usually grows above and crowds out turfgrasses. It is often used in agriculture as a cover crop to improve soil conditions. Photo from: http://turfweeds.cals.cornell.edu/plant/identify/209