What Will Kill Clover But Not Grass?

If you’ve ever tried to maintain a lawn, you know that clovers can be pesky little things to get rid of. You don’t want to accidentally kill your grass or other (wanted) plants, but the clovers need to go. So what will kill clovers but not grass? 

Keep reading to find the best products to kill just clovers, without hurting your beautiful lawn.

Easy Solutions First

If you don’t want to buy a product and would rather try your luck at home, there are a few things you can do. To find out what will kill clovers, but not grass, try these home remedies. Keep in mind, however, that products designed specifically for this will work better than anything you can cook up at home.

Use Your Hands!

Yes, the time-honored tradition of weeding by hand is still effective. Granted, it’s a bit of a pain on the back and knees, but you can certainly pull clovers manually. 

You’ll just need a trowel or gardening knife and some gloves (though those are optional for the dirt lovers out there). Simply dig up the roots and then pull!

Deprive Clovers of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Sunlight

Clovers thrive when given ample access to light, oxygen, and low-nitrogen soil. This is because they can produce their own nitrogen. To take this advantage from them, use nitrogen-rich soil when planting your lawn. 

Additionally, you can use a plastic sheet or bag to prevent sunlight and oxygen from reaching the clovers. Keep in mind, however, that this may harm grass that’s nearby – so only do this with large patches of clovers.

Homemade Weed Killer

A mixture of white vinegar with a few drops of Dawn (or another dish soap) can be sprayed onto problem areas to kill clovers. Again, only do this on large clumps, and only spray it on the clovers.

Corn gluten can also inhibit growth without damaging other plants. It’ll dry out clover seeds to prevent them from being able to grow. Generally, 20 pounds of gluten is needed for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. Just water it as you would normally and allow it to dry after a few days. 

Mow Your Lawn!

This goes in tandem with the method of removing sunlight. While not everyone is a fan of the long grass look, it can help kill unwanted wees. Simply mow your lawn at ~3-4 inches minimum height and the grass itself can help kill clovers.

This is because clovers are small and have a shallow root system. Allowing grass to literally dwarf it can allow your lawn to take nutrients from the clovers. This will actively make your lawn healthier, and clovers will die off.

Don’t Overwater

This is a simple idea – clovers thrive in overly wet soil. So simply don’t overwater. Not only will this save you and be environmentally friendlier, but it will kill off unwanted weeds. 

If, however, you’re in a naturally wet environment, this simply won’t work for you. If it rains commonly, move down the list. If not, try to water only once or twice a week, rather than every other day.

The Big Guns

Okay, you’re tired of these clovers and need to kill them now. “What will kill clover but not grass?” you may be asking. These two products are the best ways to spot treat various weeds without harming your lawn. 


This brand is rather well known as a great source of weed killer that won’t harm lawns. And the best thing about it is that it kills over 250 types of weeds, such as crabgrass, clovers, and dandelions. In addition, it’ll save your back – guaranteed. 

This is because it has a spray nozzle and hose that are designed to let you accurately spot-treat your lawn without having to bend down to do so. It’ll also start working immediately and be rain-proof in as little as three hours.


This is a less well-known, but equally effective (to Roundup) solution. It doesn’t target quite as many types of weeds and doesn’t have the spray hose/nozzle combination, but it works on clover very well

It will, however, harm certain types of shrubbery or exotic grasses, so be sure to check what it’s designed for before using it. Nobody wants to accidentally kill their favorite bush.

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of clovers in your lawn there are several fixes you can try before switching to products designed explicitly for that purpose. As for what will kill clovers but not grass, you can try a few things such as corn gluten, deprivation of resources, and watering a bit less. 

If, however, you need these pesky buggers gone right now, Roundup and Bonide both offer great solutions that do exactly that, and quickly. 

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