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Publication #SS-AGR-235

Weed Management in Clover1

J. A. Ferrell, B. A. Sellers, and P. Devkota2

Cool-season clovers are important for grazing systems in Florida. Clover provides grazing flexibility during winter and spring while warm-season grasses/forages are dormant. Weeds are problematic in clover fields and weed control can be more challenging because clover plants are sensitive to many pasture herbicides. There are also fewer herbicide products registered for use on clover compared to other forage species, so chemical weed control programs have to be chosen carefully. Table 1 provides information on herbicides that can be applied for weed control in clover production systems.

Tables

Table 1. 

Weed management in clover.

Herbicide Active Ingredient (Trade/Product Names)

Mode of Action Group

(MoA)

Application Rate per A

(Total per A/Season or Year)

Reentry Interval (REI)

Comments

Preplant Incorporated

EPTC

(Eptam)

3.5 pt

8

3.5 pt

(7 pt)

12 hrs

For winter annual grass and some broadleaf weed control, incorporate 2 to 3 inches deep before planting. Do not use on white Dutch clover. Do not use if a grass or grain crop is to be planted with the clover.

benefin

(Balan 60DF)

3

2 lb

(2.5 lb)

12 hrs

May be used on alsike, ladino, and red clover. For winter annual grass and some broadleaf weed control, incorporate 2 to 3 inches deep before planting. Do not use if a grass or grain crop is to be planted with the clover.

Postemergence—Seedling Clovers

pronamide

(Kerb SC)

3

2–2.5 pt

(5 pt)

24 hrs

For preemergence control of winter annual weeds, spray prior to weed emergence in November or December. Do not graze or cut for hay for 120 days after treatment. In fall-seeded clovers, applications should be made after clover has reached the first trifoliate leaf stage. In spring seeded clovers, applications should be delayed until the following fall or early winter.

sethoxydim

(Poast)

1

1–2.5 pt

(6.5 pt)

12 hrs

Apply with crop oil concentrate at 2.0 pt/acre to control annual and perennial grasses. Use the high rate for johnsongrass and bermudagrass. Do not apply to grasses growing under drought-stressed conditions. Apply to annual grasses less than 8 inches tall. Do not apply Poast within 7 days of feeding, grazing, or harvesting undried forage, or within 14 days of cutting for dry hay.

imazethapyr (Pursuit)

2

3–4 fl oz

(6 fl oz)

4 hrs

Apply to seedling clover with a minimum of two trifoliate leaves and when weeds are 1 to 3 inches tall, or before rosette-forming weeds exceed 3 inches in diameter. Pursuit requires a 1-hour rain-free period. Pursuit may cause a temporary reduction in height or slight leaf yellowing. DO NOT feed, graze, or harvest for 30 days after application. A maximum total of 2.16 oz/A of Pursuit may be applied per year. Add a nonionic surfactant at 0.25% v/v or a crop oil concentrate at 1.25% v/v to the spray solution. If replanting is necessary in a field treated with Pursuit, do not plant for 4 months following the application of Pursuit. Do not apply more than 1.44 oz during the last year of the stand.

Postemergence—Established Clover

sethoxydim

(Poast)

1

1–2.5 pt

(6.5 pt)

12 hrs

Apply with crop oil concentrate at 2.0 pt/acre to control annual and perennial grasses. Use the high rate for johnsongrass and bermudagrass. Do not apply to grasses growing under drought-stressed conditions. Apply to annual grasses less than 8 inches tall. Do not apply Poast within 7 days of feeding, grazing, or harvesting undried forage, or within 14 days of cutting for dry hay.

pronamide

(Kerb SC)

3

2–2.5 pt

(5 pt)

24 hrs

Controls winter annual grasses and some broadleaf weeds in clovers, birdsfoot trefoil, and crown vetch. Apply from November through February. DO NOT graze or harvest for hay for 120 days after application. KERB is a restricted use herbicide.

imazethapyr (Pursuit)

2

3–4 fl oz

(6 fl oz)

4 hrs

Apply to established clover in the fall, or in the spring to dormant or semi-dormant alfalfa. Spring treatments should be made before excessive clover growth (less than 3 inches of new growth) to reduce spray interference. Apply when weeds are 1 to 3 inches tall or before rosette-forming weeds exceed 3 inches in diameter. DO NOT feed, graze, or harvest alfalfa for 30 days after application. A maximum total of 2.16 oz/A of Pursuit may be applied per year. Add a nonionic surfactant at 0.25% v/v or a crop oil concentrate at 1.25% v/v to the spray solution. If replanting is necessary in a field treated with Pursuit, do not plant for 4 months following the application of Pursuit. Do not apply more than 1.44 oz during the last year of the stand.

Table 2. 

Estimated effectiveness of recommended herbicides on common weeds in Florida clover.

Time of Application

PPI

PPI

PRE

POT

POT

Balan

EPTC—Eptam

Kerb

Poast or Select

Pursuit

bahiagrass

P

P

P

F

bermudagrass

P

P

P

F–G

P

bitter sneezeweed

P

P

P

P

blackberry

P

P

P

P

bracken fern

P

P

P

P

briars (Smilax)

P

P

P

P

broomsedge

P

P

P

P

bulrush

P

P

P

P

buttercup

P

P

P

P

chickweed

F

E

G

P

E

crabgrass

E

G

F

G–E

F

cudweed

P

P

P

P

curly dock

P

P

P

P

F

dallisgrass

P

P

P

P

dandelion

P

G

P

P

dodder

P

P

E

P

dogfennel

P

P

P

P

evening primrose

F

F–G

P

P

foxtails

G

G

P

E

G

gallberry

P

P

P

P

goldenrod

P

P

P

P

henbit

F

G

P

P

E

honeysuckle

P

P

P

P

horsenettle

P

P

P

P

horseweed

P

P

P

P

Italian ryegrass

G

E

G

E

P

johnsongrass

P

P

P

G

P

kudzu

P

P

P

P

little barley

G

G

E

F

mayweed

P

P

nettle, stinging

P

P

P

P

nutsedge

P

F

P

P

F

palmetto

P

P

P

P

perilla mint

P

P

P

persimmon

P

P

P

P

pigweed species

G

G

P

G

pokeberry

P

P

P

P

prickly pear

P

P

P

P

ragweed

P

P

P

P

F

red sorrel

P

P

P

P

sandbur

E

G

P

G

shepherd's purse

P

G

G

P

E

sicklepod

P

F

P

P

smutgrass

P

P

P

P

swinecress

P

G

F

P

Texas panicum

G–E

G

P

E

thistles

P

E

P

P

P

tropical soda apple

P

P

P

P

vaseygrass

P

P

P

P

Virginia pepperweed

P

G

P

P

wax myrtle

P

P

P

P

wild cherry

P

P

P

P

wild garlic

P

P

P

P

wild radish

P

P–F

P

P

G-E

wild plum

P

P

P

P

wild rose

P

P

P

P

woolly croton

P

P

P

P

P

Estimated effectiveness based on rates recommended in this report. Effectiveness may vary depending on factors such as herbicide rate, size of weeds, time of application, soil type, and weather conditions.

Weed Control Symbols: E = 90–100% control; G = 80–90% control; F = 60–80% control; P = less than 60% control; – = insufficient observations.

Time of Application Symbols: PPI = preplant incorporated; PRE = preemergence; POT = postemergence over the top.

Footnotes

1.

This document is SS-AGR-235, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2005. Revised June 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

2.

J. A. Ferrell, professor, Agronomy Department, and director, UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants; B. A. Sellers, professor, Agronomy Department, and director, UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center; and P. Devkota, assistant professor, Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. Original written by J. A. Ferrell; revised by P. Devkota.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. All chemicals should be used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label. Use herbicides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.