Weed Control for Clover
Weed control starts with an initial nonselective herbicide application or tillage and continues through the life of the plot. Weed control can be achieved by organic means or through herbicides. A healthy, vigorous stand of clover will suppress weeds through resource competition. The clover will shade the soil, prohibiting the germination of weed seed. However, as the clover becomes older and less vigorous in growth, the weed seed is allowed to germinate and flourish. Weed control through herbicide application and or mowing is then required. Another option in weed suppression is crop rotation, by planting nitrogen loving crops such as fall planted brassicas or spring planted corn, access nitrogen in the soil is used by these plants and will not be used by unwanted weeds or wasted into the environment. In many cases it is feasible to plant clover with a companion crop known as a nurse crop or cover crop. Many of these companion crops will exhibit allelopathic tendencies and are wonderful organic weed suppressors. Allelopathy is the release of allelochemicals from plant parts that can be beneficial (positive allelopathy) or harmful (negative allelopathy) to other surrounding plants. As land managers, each person must decide for themselves which weed control plan works best for them. It may be a combination of the examples above.
Herbicides for Clover
There are many herbicides that are available to food plotters. Many of these herbicides can be found in local farm type stores, farmer owned co-ops or on the internet. For those that wish to use herbicides in their weed control program, it is important to understand and follow the recommendations printed on the label. Many herbicides require additional additives such as crop oil or fertilizer. Without these additives the performance of the herbicide will be less than desirable and in many cases useless. If you wish to read a label before purchasing a herbicide you can find most labels here.
It is helpful in weed management to be able to recognize weed varieties. There are three distinct types of weeds that are troublesome to land managers. Most weeds fall into one of these three areas, broadleaf weeds, grasses, or sedges. It is important to be able to distinguish between the three types of weeds so you can better choose the herbicide that will perform best for your program.