Does Crossbow Kill Clover? The Answer, Plus Tips for Safe and Effective Use

Crossbow is a powerful herbicide that can handle a range of weeds in pastures and lawns. While typically applied at a large scale for commercial properties, there are spot application formulas that can be used on small residential turfs. With several active ingredients, it can wipe out a range of grassy weeds. This weed killer is not lightweight.

I have seen Crossbow used on common weeds like clover as well as tough brush along treelines and field fences. At home, there are many types of plants that will be affected by Crossbow, and some are garden plants and ornamental plants. Knowing what weeds this broadleaf herbicide can kill and how well it works as a selective herbicide for clover will help you decide if it is right for your yard. 

Key Points:

  • Crossbow is a powerful herbicide that can control a range of weeds, including clover while being safe for turf when used properly. It can kill various plants but should be used cautiously and not on dormant plants or newly seeded lawns.
  • It can be applied at a large scale for commercial properties or in spot application formulas for small residential turfs.

Does Crossbow Control Clover?

A common weed in lawns is clover, and finding an herbicide with active ingredients that kill non-grassy plants but not turf can be hard to find. Crossbow can eliminate woody plants and broadleaf weeds in lawns and pastures without hurting most types of true grasses. Target plants like tough brush and other broad-leafed non-grassy plants can be wiped out on turf and pasture without wiping out the desirable plants. 

Mature plants and stubborn plants that need to be removed can be hit with Crossbow weed killer, which will result in dead weeds in a few weeks. Dormant weeds will not uptake the chemicals through the plant roots and will not be killed by this broadleaf weed killer. In order for Crossbow to be effective, it needs to be absorbed into the plant growth systems. Use in the spring and summer when active growth of common kinds of plants is occurring in your lawn. 

On Sale
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
  • Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide
  • Controls most kinds of unwanted trees & brush
  • Very effective

What Makes Crossbow Safe for Turf?

The specific effects Crossbow has on plant life make it effective against common lawn weeds and relatively safe for turf. If mixed according to the proper rate, then broadleaf weeds and other unwanted tall plants can be eliminated without endangering healthy turf. Using too much of this herbicide will result in dead plants other than target plants which may include your turf.

It is important not to use broadleaf plant killers on dormant plants as there will be no effect, and the unabsorbed herbicides can build up to levels that become toxic to turf grasses. Plant biological toxins can only wipe out undesirable plants if the weeds are growing and drinking nutrients. Otherwise, use a non-selective herbicide and spot-treat the pesky weeds. 

It is critical that Crossbow only be used on established lawns that have no sprouts or seedlings growing. An established lawn is more than one year old with deep healthy roots and a dense growth pattern. If you try to apply Crossbow to your lawn when it is not strong, you can wipe out everything. Established turf will not be affected by herbicide for weed control, while mature weeds will die a few weeks after being sprayed. 

What Plants Does Crossbow Kill?

Crossbow can kill a target weed in just a few weeks with as little as one application. Depending on the type of target weeds you are trying to kill, a heavy application and even multiple applications may be needed. Large-leaf weeds and plants with wooden stems, including trees, are severely affected by herbicides like Crossbow.

Other types of weeds that are either dormant, grass-like with small leaves, or not directly hit by the herbicide may not be killed immediately or need to be treated with another type of weed killer. The table below demonstrates some of the effects Crossbow has on common yard and garden plants.

Plants with Leaves and StemsCan kill with the first application
Ornamental ShrubsKills it with enough time and applications
FlowersCan kill with the first application
Berry BushesCan kill with the first application
TreesKills it with enough time and applications
VegetablesCan kill with the first application
HerbsCan kill with the first application

Yard Plants 

Spraying crossover in a yard can be risky, especially if it is windy or the weeds are near gardens and ornamental plants. If you are not comfortable only hitting the target weeds and not desirable plants, then choose another type of herbicide that will not result in casualties. Crossbow is best applied as a spot treatment in areas of the lawn that have no other plants nearby and is being affected by a clover outbreak. 

Wild Life

When spraying fields and pastures, it is important to consider Crossbow effects on plants and animals. Trees and woody bushes, and plants that are good for pollinators and other beneficial wildlife should be unsprayed to reduce habitat destruction. Saltwater marine life and birds can be harmed by exposure to Crossbow, so make sure to evaluate the area and check for animals before spraying under hedges and forest lines. 

What Is Crossbow Herbicide?

Crossbow is a selective broadleaf weed herbicide consisting of the active ingredients 2,4D and Triclopyr. It is designed to be used broadscale over pastures and fields where clove will take over desired turf grasses. While home lawn application is possible, you will need to use the spot-treatment formula if you are working on a smaller property. The formula works best on broad-leaf grasses and woody perennials in lawns and fields where woody plants are not wanted. 

How to Safely Kill Weeds with Crossbow?

On Sale
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide, 32oz -Quart
  • Low Volatile Weed & Brush Herbicide
  • Controls most kinds of unwanted trees & brush
  • Very effective

Like most common lawn herbicides, Crossbow can cause harm to the user and anyone or thing accidentally exposed to the chemicals. Following safety advice from the label and common sense herbicide application rules can increase the likelihood of an incident-free effective weed treatment process.

Use on a Calm Day 

When it is windy or rainy, you will have a hard time applying Crossbow safely and correctly. Wind makes it hard to soak the target weeds and will increase the chance that herbicide will hit unintended plants. Wind can also cause the herbicide to spray back into the face of the sprayer, which can result in dangerous inhalation of chemicals and other adverse health effects. 

Exact Mix Rates

Since Crossbow is marketed for field and commercial use, most of the ratios are for huge batches applied by cropdusters and field sprayers. There are formula recipes for spot treatment that can be mixed into a standard backpack sprayer. This is usually enough to handle the weeds on a medium-sized property without being too concentrated and killing turf grass. 

Safety Gear

Wearing gloves and eye protection, as well as long sleeves and pants while mixing and spraying, can help prevent skin issues like rashes and chemical burns. When spraying, keep the nozzle lower than your waist to prevent wind from blowing back Crossbow back onto you. 

Check for Plant or Animal Exposure

Make sure there are no desirable plants or vulnerable animals like birds near where you will be spraying. Try to keep the spraying to a minimum and only hit the roots of the plants you are trying to kill. Spraying in this way will greatly reduce environmental harm while applying.

Apply at the Correct Time

Crossbow works best on clover when it is actively growing. Most broadleaf weeds grow fastest during the hot summer months when moisture is present. If you apply Crossbow at height of summer heat, it will be absorbed quickly and have a great impact. Most vulnerable turf grasses will likely be dormant at this time and will not absorb the chemicals that the weeds are drinking. This is the most effective way to kill clovers with Crossbow herbicide.  

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Somes Images and Data from Amazon Product Advertising API