Clover taking over my planting beds

Asked September 7, 2019, 1:28 PM EDT

Have lots of clover in my planting beds (shrubs, perennials, etc). I weed it by removing the vegetative above ground parts & what roots I can get. Seems like weeding that way may be encouraging clover to spread as it seems to be doing. Appreciate your advice on how best to eliminate clover! Thanks!

Multnomah County Oregon

3 Responses

There are several plants commonly called clover, and all can be pests in the garden. White clover (lawn clover), oxalis, and black medic. See images.

Oxalis and black medic spread primarily by seed. White clover spreads by its runners, rooting at each node and forming new plants, as well as by seed.

All these weeds produce a large number of seeds, which will continue to pop up for many years after the plants have been removed. Once the above-ground parts are gone, a four-inch deep mulch of bark dust or other organic material should keep most seeds germination below from becoming a problem.

If a deep mulch is not practical in beds, persistent pulling or hoeing is another alternative. By consistently removing the tops of the plants, they are unable to replenish their roots and will eventually starve trying to put up new leaves time and again. Weeds should also be prevented from flowering, so no new seeds are added to the soil.

Chemical control is difficult in a planting bed because the desirable plants are so close.

Best of luck,

Please identify the plants in each photo.
Thank you!!!
See photo attached of my clover. Can you ID? Thank you!

I’m sorry the photos were not marked as well as they could have been. The left one, with the yellow, puffball flowers, is black medic. The center image, with white flowers is clover. And the photo on the right is oxalis, with five-petal, yellow flowers.

Your photo is of oxalis, also called creeping red sorrel (O. corniculata). I do not know of any product to kill this out of your succulent bed or prevent the seeds from coming up. Dedicated hand-picking may be your only choice.