One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting in an open field, with a circle of friends. With the warm sun shining down through scattered clouds, we picked tiny, fragrant blossoms from the grass, making lovely, flower-chain necklaces with them.
It would be many years before I learned the name of that grass from which our “jewels” grew, clover. This particular type was white dutch clover. Yet, strawberry and red clover varieties make for an equally sturdy lawn.
Native to subtropical regions, there are many benefits to choosing clover over more conventional lawn types. Even in colder climates, clover is affordably easy to grow. It doesn’t require a ton of extra nitrogen, it is quite drought-tolerant, and isn’t picky about how much sun it gets. Not to mention, it holds up really well against foot traffic and pets doing their business on it. No burn marks!
But, clover does require a little help to maintain all these benefits. Which is where the best fertilizer for clover comes in. Clover has the ability to fix its own nitrogen but still needs adequate amounts of phosphorus and potassium for health and vitality.
- Best Clover Fertilizers
- Choosing The Best Clover Feed
- 3 Best Clover Fertilizer Reviews
- How To Encourage Clover to Grow
- How To Fertilize Clover
- When To Apply
- Verdict: Best Fertilizer For Clover
- FAQ’s Clover Fertilizer
Best Clover Fertilizers
If you’re in a rush to find the best fertilizer for clover, then here is my top pick based on quality, value, ease of use, and performance.
Best Fertilizer For Clover
Extra phosphorus and potassium mean that clover will grow vigorously with a lush, vibrant green color even with just one dose. NPK 3-18-18. Easy to apply thanks to the ready-to-use formula and built-in attachment.
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Choosing The Best Clover Feed
Clover, along with other members of the legume family, has evolved to have an advantageous relationship with soil microbes. These tiny bacteria draw nitrogen straight out of the air and convert it into a form that clover lawns can then absorb as a beneficial nutrient. This unique process is called nitrogen fixation.
Such a symbiotic relationship eliminates the need to fertilize with heavy (and often expensive) amounts of nitrogen just to keep it green. Fertilizers light in nitrogen and heavier in phosphorus and potassium will encourage healthy photosynthesis. Thereby maintaining color, and helping each clover plant benefit from the food made through that process.
Once your clover lawn is well established and thriving, you may see other plant material trying to work its way in. If clover is considered a weed in other types of turf, how do you keep weeds out of your clover?
Fertilizer vs Weed And Feed
Weed-and-feed products are a combination of herbicide (plant killer) and fertilizer (plant nourisher). Realistically, on a biological level, the two processes can’t happen effectively at the same time. Simply put, the killing part will over-power the nourishing part and negatively affect your grass.
Strawberry, red and dutch white clover varieties easily succumb to any type of general herbicide. A ‘selective’ herbicide specially formulated for clover lawns, combined with one of our recommended NPK formulas, would be your best bet.
Organic vs Synthetic
Choosing an organic or synthetic fertilizer is simply a matter of personal preference. Organics are typically plant or animal-based and nourish your plants while improving your soil. Inorganics are manufactured with minerals and synthetic chemicals and often result in faster fuller growth. But, many will come with warning labels.
If you find clover growing in your fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns, you may want to let it stay, as the North Carolina Cooperative Extension recommends. Nitrogen-fixing clover will share that nutrient with other grass types. In these cases, very little supplemental nitrogen will be needed to keep your lawn green and healthy, if at all.
Liquid vs Granules
The best fertilizer for your clover may come in either liquid form or granules. Granules are slow-releasing and can last for several months without the need to water them when applied just before a good rainfall. Liquids are fast-acting and give you more control over how much your lawn is fertilized and when.
Clover Fertilizer NPK Ratio
NPK stands for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Considering this flowering turf produces its own nitrogen, the best fertilizer for clover will have a much lower percentage of this if any. With much higher amounts of phosphorus and potassium, like a 3-18-18 or 0-20-20 fertilizer.
3 Best Clover Fertilizer Reviews
I’ve allowed white dutch clover to take over some large areas around my property and I couldn’t be happier with it. So, I’ve done some testing and research on the best fertilizers, including feedback from clover growers across the lawn care spectrum. And I‘d like to share my findings with you. Below, you’ll find what performed best, which was easiest to use and which had the best value for money.
- High phosphorus and potassium for healthy roots
- Proven results with clover grown in all types of soil
- Not recommended for lawn types that require high nitrogen
My first pick from Simple Lawn Solutions is based on ease of use. The built-in attachment made this convenient to apply, walking back and forth, across a medium-sized clover field. One jug covers up to 3200 sq ft, which was just enough for one dose. This is a great value product since it is also suitable for use as a liquid lawn fertilizer for many other grass types too.
After about a week, the effects of more phosphorus and potassium were evident. Vigorous growth and a lush, green color emerged. Followed by brown patches of old grass being filled in with clover.
How to Use: Apply in the early morning or late afternoon. Then, water for 20 minutes within 24 hours after application.
Customer Reviews: Gardeners who switched to clover lawns found their soil to be too rich in nitrogen, causing lawn burnout. Switching to this 3-18-18 NPK gave their new lawns the room to thrive. 4.4 out of 5 stars. Reserve your jug of Simple Lawn Solutions here.
- Zero nitrogen to support healthy clover growth
- Increased flower and seed production to improve self-seeding
- Fish meal smell may attract animals
Another fast-acting liquid option is this zero-nitrogen formula from Alaska Morbloom. Which I’ve placed in my top three picks based on performance. I observed the same vigorous growth and vibrant color as my previous pick but with a surprising abundance of flowers. These naturally produce seeds that allow my annual clover lawn to beautifully reseed itself.
How to Use: Mix 1-3 Tbsp per gallon of water to encourage budding. Then, re-apply every three weeks during the growing season. Click here for the prices of Alaska Morbloom Clover Fertilizer.
Customer Reviews: Customers that only thought of this for flowering ornamentals, tried it on their clover patches and were delighted at the number of blooms. Eliminating the need to reseed and saving money in the process. 4.6 out of 5 stars.
- One 8oz jar covers 200 1-gallon applications
- Promotes abundant clover flowers for healthy re-seeding
- May also boost flowering weeds
This may be the third on my list but, considering that one little jar makes 200 gallons of fertilizer, it’s first in terms of value for money. This 1-34-32 formula is versatile enough to be used with in-ground plantings or hydroponics. Fast-acting nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, and trace elements combine to encourage vibrant clover color and bloom yield that can’t be beat.
How to Use: Add 1/4 teaspoon per gallon (4 liters) of water and feed every 1-2 Weeks.
Customer Reviews: Clover growers who took a chance on this unknown product were really surprised at the lush results. Not to mention the great value-for-money factor versus other big liquid jugs that are often more difficult to store over the winter. 4.5 out of 5 stars. Check availability for Flower Fuel Fertilizer here.
How To Encourage Clover to Grow
After a good fertilizing at the beginning of spring, you’ll want to mow your clover with a blade setting of 1.5 – 2″. This will remove any winter-damaged plant material and encourage vigorous growth that will be fueled by your fertilizer.
Once mowed, a daily misting or light watering will help distribute those added nutrients throughout your lawn. Buds will begin to appear in early to mid-summer. At this point, you’ll want to stop mowing for roughly 4-6 weeks. This will allow those buds to open and produce seeds, aided by natural pollinators.
Types of Clover
Clover dotting an immaculate lawn has long been the bane of a homeowner’s existence. But lately, lawn connoisseurs have become a bit savvier. Embracing the many attractive properties of this perennial herb.
Out of 50 different clover varieties, there are three specific ones that provide a lush, green lawn that will outgrow weeds and are resistant to most pests. Including the dreaded white grub. Let’s take a closer look at each.
If you live in a colder climate yet would like a clover lawn, this light pink perennial is far more robust and able to withstand being covered in snow for months at a time. It’s also more efficient at choking out weeds, eliminating the need for chemical herbicides.
With its soft, purple blooms, red clover will also grow in colder climates, but as an annual. Which is counterbalanced by its ability to produce an abundance of seeds. These will fall in autumn and germinate the following spring. In warm climates, it perpetually grows as a perennial.
This is the most common clover variety used in warm-climate lawns. With its small white blossoms, it is successfully grown alone as a uniform ground cover. Or, it can be mixed with other turfgrasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and different fescues to help eliminate the need for high nitrogen fertilizer.
How To Fertilize Clover
Prior to fertilizing, a soil test should be done to determine nutrient content and pH level. This will help prevent the addition of unhelpful macronutrients and the creation of a detrimental environment.
If there’s too much nitrogen in the soil, it’s best to simply let the soil rest. Applying a mulch of organic material will give the soil some time to return to a natural balance. For poor soil that lacks vital nutrients like phosphorus and potassium, applying any of my picks, at the recommended dosage and frequency, will promote a lush, productive clover lawn.
When To Apply
One benefit of growing clover as a lawn turf is how easy it is to care for. In warm climates, one application of fertilizer in spring is all that’s needed for great results. In harsh winter regions, some opt to fertilize a second time in the fall. This helps to ensure winter endurance and a strong start, come spring. Once firmly established, some clover lawns cease to need fertilizer at all.
Regardless of variety, fertilizer should never be applied during clover’s active growing stage in summer. This may actually harm your lawn and cause it to fail.
Clover Fertilizing Schedule
With fertilizing being recommended only once in spring, and maybe again in autumn, the frequency may be different depending on the kind of fertilizer you choose to use. For example, my 2nd pick from Alaska Morbloom recommends applications every three weeks, beginning in early spring until the beginning of summer. If applying in autumn, you’ll most likely only need to apply it once at the end of September, to encourage winter endurance.
Followed by good watering, fertilizing all clover varieties in spring comes highly recommended, as this is the time clover wakes from its cold-weather dormancy and revs up for strong growth and bud formation. A healthy dose of phosphorus and potassium at this time also promotes robust root formation.
Fertilizer is not recommended in summer when clover is in its active growth stage. Spring-applied feed is now being used for healthy growth and flowers. Applying more may lead to over-fertilizing. In addition, the intense light and heat of summer may cause liquid fertilizers to severely singe your lawn.
As previously mentioned, a fall fertilizer application will help clover lawns endure harsh winters. But, if you grow white dutch clover (a heavier feeder than other varieties) in a warmer climate, your soil may have become depleted of nutrients come fall. In this case, a replenishment may be needed.
Verdict: Best Fertilizer For Clover
The verdict is in! Becoming a savvy, clover grower means having a beautiful, green lawn even in intense summers. The need for less water and fertilizing equals more money in your wallet. Its tolerance for people and pet traffic coupled with clover’s affinity for self-seeding also equals less work for you.
To keep it that way, use an easy-to-apply liquid feed like Simple Lawn Solutions to promote vigorous growth and a lush, vibrant green landscape.
Best Fertilizer For Clover
Extra phosphorus and potassium mean that clover will grow vigorously with a lush, vibrant green color even with just one dose. Easy to apply thanks to the ready-to-use formula and built-in attachment. And good value with one jug covering up to 3200 sq ft.