Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Creeping Charlie
Nearly every time I speak with home gardeners they ask how to get rid of Creeping Charlie [Univ. of MN Extension]. This is one tough invasive.
However, you might consider embracing it’s cute little scalloped leaves and purple flowers because it attracts and provides food for pollinators! Become a “Friend of Charlie”…
Also called ground ivy, Creeping Charlie is part of the Mint family. Like all mints, it spreads on top of the soil via stolons or (surface roots).
This little creep will regrow from very small pieces of vegetation. So if you try to pull it out and don’t get all of it, it won’t matter, Charlie’s coming back!
You may likely never fully get rid of Creeping Charlie unless you’re willing to put in the effort. Using a lot of chemicals has never been my favorite thing, however, that’s just me. Some people really want this GONE. The University of Wisconsin found applying synthetic broadleaf weed killers when the plants are in full bloom or after a hard freeze in fall is effective. This kills existing plants but won’t prevent seeds from sprouting, so you’ll need to monitor and treat as needed. Weed killers containing Dicamba or Banvel are very effective, but ongoing use of these products has been linked to tree decline. Since ground ivy gets its start in the shade under trees and shrubs, this can be a problem for your other permanent landscape plants.
Maintaining a healthy lawn, planting the appropriate shade tolerant grasses or other non-invasive ground covers will go a long way in deterring Creeping Charlie.
I just talked about Chelated iron last week for blueberries. It also burns Creeping Charlie foliage and its stolons when used for that purpose. A maximum of four applications may be applied annually. Lawn grasses may show some burning on the blades, but will recover. They’ll also turn a deep green due to the absorption of iron so don’t use it for spot treatments but rather the whole lawn. Treated areas can be re-seeded the next day, and people and pets may re-enter the area when dry. Chelated iron can be expensive, and may stain equipment, sidewalks and driveways. Using Iron based products for weed control Univ. of Maryland.
Corn gluten meal is an organic pre-emergent weed killer that can help prevent seeds, including many lawn weeds, from sprouting. Universities have found spring and fall applications can reduce the weed population in lawns by 50% to 80% in three years.
No one recommends using Borax in your lawn any more! If used improperly it can kill everything in the treated area for years. Boron, the active ingredient, can stay in the soil for a long time.