Safe killing clover
I need to kill red and white clover in horse pastures to reseed with just grasses. What do you suggest to get rid of clover in the clover without harming several honey bee hives next to pastures?
Oakland County Michigan
With herbicides the acute risk to honey bees is much lower than with an insecticide. For this application products with the active ingredient glyphosate will work well to address both broadleafs and grasses. If you are looking for a selective herbicide for just broadleaf weed control 2,4-D will work well. For best practice when applying herbicides near bees you should:
1. Spray early in the morning or the evening when bees are not flying (once the material sprayed dries any toxicity to bees is mostly mitigated)
2. Ensure wind speeds are low when spraying to prevent drift
3. Speak to your beekeeper and let them know when you are spraying, this will give them a chance to close up the hives to ensure bees don't interact with the spray directly.
For more information on weed control in forage crops you can reference the MSU 2020 Weed Control Guide here which lists many more products you can use to control your weeds https://www.canr.msu.edu/weeds/extension/2020-weed-control-guide