Managing Lawn Weeds: Lesser Trefoil

Managing Lawn Weeds Lesser Trefoil

Managing Lawn Weeds: Lesser Trefoil

In the quest for a pristine lawn, the persistent lesser trefoil presents a unique challenge. This article explores the distinctive features of lesser trefoil, its impact on lawns, and effective strategies for identification and management, providing insights to maintain a thriving, weed-free landscape.

In this Article we will look at:

  • Lesser Trefoil, In Short

  • Identification

  • Life Cycle

  • Impact on Lawns

  • Management Strategies

  • Conclusion

Lesser Trefoil, In Short:

Of all the clovers and trefoils this has to be the worst. It is extremely common, low growing to avoid the mower and spreads readily by seed and cuttings. Once you have this weed it is virtually impossible to eliminate completely!

Hand weeding is possible but make sure you get it all, collect all clippings after mowing and scarifying, Requires repeat treatment preferably with weed killer.


Lesser trefoil, scientifically known as Trifolium dubium, is a low-growing perennial weed with clover-like leaves and small yellow flowers. Recognizing its trifoliate leaves and creeping stems is crucial for accurate identification amidst grass in lawns.

Life Cycle:

Understanding the life cycle of lesser trefoil is fundamental for successful management. As a perennial weed, it reproduces through seeds and creeping stems. The seeds can be dispersed by wind or carried by animals, while the creeping stems contribute to the formation of dense colonies, challenging the health of the surrounding grass.

Impact on Lawns:

The invasion of lesser trefoil can significantly impact the aesthetics and health of a well-manicured lawn. Its ability to blend with grass makes it challenging to identify, and its creeping growth habit can lead to the formation of thick patches, overshadowing and outcompeting desirable grass varieties.

Management Strategies:

  1. Manual Removal: Hand-pulling or using a weeding tool is effective for smaller lesser trefoil infestations. Thorough removal, including the creeping stems, is crucial to prevent regrowth.

  2. Mowing Practices: Regular mowing can help control lesser trefoil by preventing the formation of flowers and reducing seed production. Adjust the mower height to discourage weed growth while promoting the health of the surrounding grass.

  3. Chemical Control: Selective herbicides designed for broadleaf weed control in lawns can be applied to target lesser trefoil. Follow product instructions carefully and apply during the weed's active growth phase.

  4. Cultural Practices: Promote a robust lawn through proper watering, fertilization, and aeration. A well-nourished lawn is more resilient against weed invasions, including the persistent lesser trefoil.


In the battle against the persistent invasion of lesser trefoil in your lawn, adopting a strategic and consistent approach is paramount for maintaining a vibrant, weed-free landscape. Armed with knowledge about its life cycle and characteristics, homeowners can implement effective management strategies. Manual removal, strategic mowing, and targeted herbicide use contribute to a comprehensive defense against the encroachment of lesser trefoil.

Cultivating a resilient lawn through proper cultural practices, including optimal watering and fertilization, serves as a natural deterrent against invasive weeds like lesser trefoil. As you embark on the journey to reclaim your green haven, remember that a combination of dedication and diverse tactics will lead to success. By integrating these strategies into your lawn care routine, you can enjoy a lush, weed-free landscape that enhances the beauty of your outdoor space.

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