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Pest Information

Subterranean Clover

Subterranean Clover

  • Latin Name: Trifolium Subterraneum
  • Common Name: Subterranean Clover
  • Other Names: Sub clover

Pest Details

Subterranean Clover
Subterranean Clover
Subterranean Clover


Native to Europe and introduced to the United States, where it now is found along the Pacific Coast, and from Louisiana along the Gulf States to Florida and sporadically north along the Atlantic Coast.


An annual weed that grows prostrate and spreading, with stems growing out to a diameter of several feet. It can be a very invasive weed in poorly maintained turf, creating thick mats that crowd out desirable grasses. It does not grow well in shaded areas and generally needs moist soils.


Mature plants are prostrate and spreading, and openly mat-like. Stems are tough and wiry, often reddish, and are covered with short, soft hairs. The leaves are alternate and distantly spaced along the stems, and are divided into 3 separate, heart-shaped leaflets. The flower heads contain only 3 to 5 elongated, white flowers, distinguishing them from the similar White Clover. When the petals fall the long calyx tends to droop to the sides of the stem.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

A systemic, broadleaf herbicide will effectively control this weed in turf settings, and a pre-emergent herbicide will be needed to prevent germination of seeds. Plants have a tough, fibrous root system that resists hand removal.

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