How do you control White Clover around your Fruit Trees? Apple and peach trees. Clover seems invasive. When I spray when clover is in bloom the bees get it

I am very low-spray, so I love clover unless it’s blooming when I have to spray and it becomes a risk to honeybees. *Ditto dandelions…good for bees, and good for a mess of cooked greens.


I plant clover on purpose :face_with_hand_over_mouth: it’s a nitrogen fixer and brings in pollinators. Even so, broad leaf herbicides should work for clover and not grass right?


I seeded white clover in my apple orchard. Grows low, fixes nitrogen, and bees love it. I do use 4 ft permeable landscape fabric directly around the trees so nothing up near trunks. Orchard floor is a mixture of clover fescue native grass and wildflowers. Trees seem fine.


I agree with what everyone said above, clover is even included in some seed mixes because it can grow in compacted areas that get a lot of foot traffic.

That being said, if you are trying to build a pure grass lawn or just thin out the clover a bit you can spray Crossbow to kill the clover. Just make sure you spray it on days when its 65-75°F and isn’t too dry or windy. Because in hot dry weather Crossbow is pretty volatile and will damage sensitive crops even when you aren’t spraying near them.


This seems crazy to me. If you value insects pollinating your fruit trees or removing nitrogen from the air and improving soil tilth and quality you would definitely do your best to keep white clover. At some point we may have to chose between our herbicide and pesticide usage and hand pollinating every crop we want to set. Most of the “weeds” we are removing are vital food sources during shortages for insects you guys need. Remember the insect apocalypse is only for predatory and beneficial insects while we are doing a amazing job at farming pest insects and have the highest numbers ever recorded.

Remember the guys who invented the lawn were some real prima nocta fellas.


I love white clover in the orchard! See this link where we discuss orchard grass.
Cover crop and mulch recommendations - #2 by clarkinks


Appreciate all the replies but this is what the White Clover is doing to my poor little apple tree. Can’t be good. And I hate having to mow around my apple trees every time I spray them else I kill the bees.

I maybe mistaken but I’m thinking that I read somewhere that if lime is applied to clover it makes it go away. Anyone know anything about that?


Are you sure it is hurting your apple tree? I have clover growing everywhere and my trees fruit just fine


No but seems to me that there would be some kind of grass that would be better. Of course I know that I could just mulch.

1 Like

Look at clovers root systems and then look at grasses. Clover is symbiotic with fruit trees and feeds it nitrogen and grass blocks tree roots and steals there nutrients. You have a good point on sprays however but wood chips would be a better option if that is the case than grass. We should imagine mowed grass as a food source supporting a horde of invaders against our fruit trees.


This is my setup. Square of permeable landscape fabric keeps me from mowing or weeding next to tree. Usually mow around it but trying roundup around it this year. Easy to mow with tractor and less push mower


I planted a mix of white clovers in all of my orchards.


if i have a winter damage spot on my lawn i put down white clover. its the only thing that can outcompete the creeping charlie here. if it starts invading the mulch around my trees i zap it with a little herbicide to keep it at bay.


Clover loves neutral soil. I put lime down every year on my lawn and foodplots. If you want to be rid of clover, lime is not your friend

1 Like

I never thought to plant clover to compete and push out the creeping charlie (here in VA we call it VA Creeper!) We have quite a lot of clover growing in the orchard area already. But mostly weeds and a combo of grasses. I think I’ll buy a bag of clover seed and throw it out there near the trees.

I was thinking of doing something similar to what @TN-Apple is doing. Except that I am going to try the big cardboard square method, instead of the landscape fabric. I thought I’d try it on a few of the trees - and see how it performs. Supposedly - it will kill all grass below it eventually.

But those creepers . . . they manage to sneak their way in, just about everywhere! Probably even under the cardboard.


I seed cover also, in the orchard I usually have thick wood chips, and plant strawberries and melons under.

I agree that grass isn’t ideal under trees, but clover or legumes should be ideal. Besides everyone buys Dwarfing rootstock which essentially reduces vigor, I figure under planting even if it slows growth would do something similar.

1 Like

Sounds like you are better off using glyphosate (round up) to just kill everything at the base. Grass at the base is even worse because its impossible to weed whack without damaging the tree.


FWIW…established clover is glyphosate resistant. If you want to kill clover, glyphosate is not the “go to” herbicide.


Interesting, I kind of assumed glyphosate just kills everything. In retrospect that does make sense since there are glyphosate resistant crops.

1 Like

That is true but in my experience Roundup will sort of stunt clover.

1 Like