Lesser Trefoil - Yellow Suckling Clover [Trifolium
Lesser trefoil or yellow suckling clover as it is also known is a very common annual weed
found in lawns in the UK.
On lawns this weed forms as a low growing mat and it can easily tolerate regular, close
This weed is often confused with Black Medic as they are very similar. Lesser trefoil has
slender stems but it does not root at intervals.
Each leaf has 3 leaflets, bourne on a short stalk. The leaves are similar to those of clover but
are slightly smaller on this weed.
The flowers are yellow initially later turning brown. Lesser Trefoil flowers can be seen from
May to October.
Lesser trefoil, like white clover prefers dry, non-acidic, nitrogen deficient soils.
Cultural control involves hand
weeding, however this is only practical if the weeds are few in number. Raking lesser trefoil into
an upright position prior to mowing can help remove the weed, thus weakening it somewhat.
If you intend going down the chemical route choose a selective weed killer that will be
effective against lesser trefoil. Any product that contains mecoprop-p should give good control
against this weed. Apply 6 weeks after the initial application if necessary.
Once the weed has been removed or controlled the bare area can be repaired with a mixture of
suitable soil and grass seed to aid recovery.
When using chemicals on the lawn always wear the correct protective equipment and clothing and
always follow the manufacturers health & safety recommendations and application guidelines.
For more information on the application of selective herbicide's please visit our Lawn Weeds page. Once
the weed has been removed or controlled the bare area can be filled with a mixture of suitable
soil and grass seed to aid recovery.