How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie

By Beth Krietsch

Also known as ground ivy, creeping Charlie is a fast-spreading and resilient weed capable of growing in either sun or shade. Because of its ability to spread quickly and envelop other vegetation, this invasive, troublesome plant can frequently be seen covering full lawns and large areas of land.

Creeping Charlie is part of the mint family and has small, scallop-edged, green leaves that grow low to the ground like ivy. In the spring, it grows small, blue flowers. This plant is capable of growing in many conditions, but prefers moist and shaded areas. Though pretty at times, it’s a menace to deal with when it takes over your landscaping.

You can remove creeping Charlie from your lawn, but this can be a huge project because of the plant’s resilience and strong roots. Remove this plant as soon as you notice it, before giving it a chance to spread. Here are a few ways to get rid of creeping Charlie.

1. Hand weeding

Hand removing creeping Charlie is hard work, but not impossible. Here are a few guidelines to make the project go smoothly.

Materials

  • Gardening gloves
  • Gardening fork
  • Garbage bag
  • Lawn cultivator
  • Rake
  1. Before getting started, slip on a pair of gardening gloves.
  2. Grab the plant near the roots and pull firmly to remove it from the ground. If the soil is tightly packed, you’ll want to loosen it with a gardening fork first.
  3. Throw the plants in a garbage bag—do not add them to a compost pile or you’re likely to face a lot of aggravation and work when the plants re-root.
  4. Use a lawn cultivator or rake to make sure you’ve removed all pieces of the root system. Roots will reseed and regenerate if left behind in the soil.

2. Herbicide

Herbicide involves the least amount of physical work and might make the most sense if the plant has seriously taken over your lawn. However, herbicide is strong and kills most vegetation, so be sure to use it with care and follow directions. Herbicides with dicamba and triclopyr are the most common and effective options for treating creeping Charlie.

Keep in mind that the best time to apply herbicide is in the fall before creeping Charlie goes dormant, or in the spring when it’s flowering.

Materials

  • Long gloves
  • Long-sleeved clothing
  • Protective eyewear
  • Garden sprayer
  • Herbicide
  1. When applying herbicide, it’s very important to wear gloves, protective clothing, and protective eyewear.
  2. Use a garden sprayer to apply the herbicide to the leaves, making sure to soak them thoroughly, and steer clear of other plants. Let the herbicide soak into the plant for a few days.
  3. Once the plant has turned brown, remove it from the ground and throw it in the trash.
  4. If you have herbicide spray left over after application, be careful to get rid of the bottle according to the product directions.

3. Smothering

Creeping Charlie can also be smothered with a layer of cardboard or newspaper. Though the plant grows well in low light, it will die if all light is blocked.

  1. First, cover creeping Charlie entirely, extending your covering of choice about a foot beyond all edges of the plant.
  2. After about a week, check to see if the plant has turned brown or if any green patches remain. If green leaves are present, replace the cover and leave for another few days.
  3. Once creeping Charlie has turned fully brown, the plant should be fairly easy to remove. Once you remove it from the ground, toss it in the garbage (remember, no compost).

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