Early summer is the best time to spray your existing clover plots for grasses and broadleaf weeds. Invading grasses especially are the mortal enemy of clover plots and a little time spent controlling grasses each year will greatly extend the life of your perennial clover plots like our Mega Clover Plus or AlfalfaMAX.
First things first. Weed control does not always mean spraying! If you have big weeds that are easy to see and spread out in the plot, just pull them and remove them from the plot. Every weed that you pull before it gets to the seed-bearing stage is one less weed you'll deal with later and it prevents that weed from spreading literally thousands of other seeds.
Spraying for Grasses in Clover Plots - Grasses are far and away the most common weed encountered by food plotters. Fortunately, most grasses are relatively easy to control and only require 1-2 applications per year.
The most widely used clover-safe grass killer is cletheodim. Clethodim a generic chemical name and is sold under many brand names, often at wildly inflated prices. Before you buy any branded chemical that claims to be a clover-safe grass killer, make sure you aren't massively overpaying for a branded version of clethodim.
My favorite online chemical dealer, Rural King, sells generic clethodim for $74.99 per gallon. And one gallon will spray many, many acres of clover! For me, a gallon of this chemical lasts 2-3 years. Carefully compare prices before buying branded versions of clethodim.
Clethodim must be combined with crop oil or bean oil to maximize effectiveness. This is very important as it makes a significant difference in overall effectiveness. Be sure to order or buy crop oil before you visit your plots.
Because product strength and recommendations vary, our policy at Midwest Monster is never to publish recommended application rates. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions of the product you buy for spray rates.
Spraying for Broadleaf Weeds in Clover Plots - Because clover itself IS a broadleaf plant, controlling broadleaf weeds in clover plots is a little more challenging.
Butyrac 200 commonly called 2-4-DB is the most commonly used herbicide for broadleaf control in clover plots. Pay attention to the DB in the name! This is NOT the same as the common 2-4-D herbicide, which will kill clover!
Important: Make absolutely sure you ONLY use 2-4-DB on your clover plots!
Another word of caution. 2-4-DB will kill chicory, which is a component of both our Mega Clover Plus and AlfalfaMAX seed blends. This is not optimal, but if you have a broadleaf weed problem that is serious enough to warrant spraying, it's a sacrifice that has to be made. If you would like to purchase more chicory seed to replant the chicory back into your plot, just contact us.
Again, because product strength and recommendations vary, our policy at Midwest Monster is never to publish recommended application rates. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions of the product you buy for spray rates and other instructions.
When to Spray Clover Blends - A good perennial clover plot is worth fighting for. Once established, fight for your clover with good weed control and make it last as long as possible.
In the northern tier states, spray your clover in the early summer if possible because the sooner you hit the weeds in their growing cycle, the easier they are to control.
But with that said, by all means spray when you need to spray as long as you follow manufacturer recommendations for the chemical you are about to use.