A perennial, it is a member of the Legume family - Fabaceae. It is a major problem in the lawn due to its low growth habit with trailing stems or stolons, which root at nodes along their length forming a mat of bright green foliage that is very noticeable. When the lawn is dry or poorly fed the clover thrives as it is able to fix it's own nitrogen in nodules on the roots. In wet weather it can be very slippery. It is unaffected by mowing due to its low growth habit and recovers rapidly from trampling.
The leaves are compound, with 3 broad leaflets (sometimes 4, if you're lucky!) 1.3 - 2.5cm long, with tiny teeth on the edges, a pale triangular mark appears on each leaflet.
In drier regions it is included in lawn seed mixes as it keeps the lawn green if the grasses die back. Also in agriculture Clover is regarded as a nutritious herb which improves the quality of fodder and adds nitrogen to the soil. Wood Pigeons feed on the leaves during the winter when most other vegetation is absent or low in nutrition.
Rake the lawn before mowing, this will raise the runners to be cut. Water during drought and keep the grass well fed. If it is in bloom remove the mowings from the lawn and do not add them to the compost heap or use them for mulching. It does not grow well in taller, dense grass, so allowing the sward to grow longer for a time should reduce the clover.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a close relative, but much rarer.
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