How to get rid of creeping charlie

How to get rid of creeping charlie

If left unattended, the pretty but malicious creeping Charlie will invade your garden, killing any surrounding plants. The ground ivy is resilient and flexible, making it so hard to eliminate successfully. Since every dog has its day; there are organic, and chemical tried and proven ways of killing this insidious weed once and for all;

  1. Removing creeping Charlie by hand
  2. Smothering/blocking sunlight
  3. Use of chemicals/herbicides

This article will explain everything to know on how to get rid of creeping charlie.

1.     Removing Creeping Charlie By Hand

Manual removal of creeping Charlie is the safest way to kill it as it doesn’t harm the surrounding plants. However, this is only for small and patch infestations as it can get tiring, and you may not be able to eradicate the large infestations. So if you happen to see one or two creeping Charlie on your lawn, go ahead and pull them out.

Materials and tools needed;

  • A pair of garden Gloves
  • Trowel
  • Rake
  • A pair of shears
  • Lawn waste disposal bag
  • Watering can
  • Hosepipe

Step 1: Always have your pair of gardening gloves on before you begin. With your team of shears, nip off the bulk of stems and leaves. Leave behind a fair amount above the ground for you to hold and pull off. Place the clipped waste in a waste disposal bag.

Step 2: If the ground is dry and hardy, use a garden hose or the watering can and thoroughly wet the area infested with creeping Charlie. Give it at least 30 minutes for the water to soak in the soil before proceeding entirely. This will make it less challenging to uproot the weed off the ground.

Step 3: Loosen the soil around with a rake or pitchfork. This will expose the roots and bulbs that seem somewhat deep.

Step 4: Grasping the plant at the bottom, pull out the entire plant to remove the roots. As you do that, remember to put the unwanted weed in the disposal bag immediately.

Step 5: Be sure that you have removed all the roots and bulbs from the soil. You can use a trowel or your hands to dig through the ground as you scrutinize any remains to remove any that you spot.

The good thing about the hand removal method is that even your children can give a hand.

2.     Removing Creeping Charlie by Smothering/Blocking Sunlight

Whether hideous and annoying or beautiful and productive, every plant needs sunlight to stay alive. Therefore, taking away a primary and essential need will only kill the plant. Creeping Charlie is a shade plant, but blocking sunlight completely or smothering it for an extended period will stop it from growing fast and eventually kill it. Sounds pretty convenient, right?

However, be warned that any plant mixed and covered with creeping Charlie will also be affected and die. This may be useful plants you would wish to retain. Changes and results will show after a week. So how do you smother sun from reaching creeping Charlie?

Materials and tools needed;

  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Tarpaulin
  • Rocks or bricks
  • Garden gloves
  • Pitchfork
  • Lawn waste disposal bag

Step 1: Cover the area with creeping Charlie completely using a newspaper or tarp. Spread the covering about 6-12 inches from the vines and leaves as the roots spread out underneath the soil. For efficiency, avoid gaps by weighing down the covering with bricks or rocks. This will also stop the cover from being blown away.

Step 2: Don’t expect the results to show overnight. Generally, it may take a week or even more, depending on the conditions of your soil. After a week is over, take a peek to see if there’s any green left. In case of any, replace the cover and wait a little longer. Patience pays!

Step 3: If the leaves have been baked and turned brown, Charlie’s creeping is as good as dead. Pull it out of the ground with your hands, pulling as you put it in the disposal bag. Be wary not to leave any on the lawn because it may grow back rapidly. Creeping Charlie vines have nodules at each stem’s base and can form roots if in contact with the soil leading to a regrow.

3.     Removing Creeping Charlie Using Herbicides/ Chemicals

Large infested areas can be hard to pull out by hand or smother sunlight without killing the grass or plants surrounding the malicious creeping Charlie. This, therefore, calls for the use of chemical or herbicides to kill creeping Charlie. Be aware that not all herbicides said to kill creeping Charlie are effective and safe for your lawn.

Some are toxic and unselective, killing everything they touch, including your grass and important plants you would want to retain. Broadleaf herbicides are recommended and safe to use. However, even though creeping Charlie is a broadleaf weed, not all broadleaf herbicides are effective.

Look for a broadleaf herbicide containing Dicamba, Triclopyr, or a combination of the two. These chemical components will not harm your turf in any way. The General rule of law is to read and follow instructions while handling any chemicals.

Materials and tools needed;

  • Garden gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Garden sprayer
  • Broadleaf herbicide with Tricolpyr or Dicamba

Step 1: Choose a day before or after the first frost. When it is preparing to enter the winter dormancy period will be the most effective time as it will weaken it not to survive the winter. You can also apply the herbicide from the late spring to early summer, but this time application will only inhibit its growth rather than kill the creeping Charlie.

Step 2: Don on protective gear, gloves, and eyewear and mix the herbicide as directed in the garden.

Step 3: Spray the herbicide with Dicamba or Tricolpyr on concentrated on the creeping Charlie. Make sure you soak all the leaves thoroughly. Store or dispose of any remaining herbicide as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not mow after spraying for another 2-3 days; hence, the absorption of the chemicals into the plant roots will be sufficient.

Other tips to consider when spraying herbicides to kill creeping Charlie are;

  • Be sure of no rain or snow, preferably 24hrs after spraying the herbicide.
  • Spray the herbicide on a day that is not windy to avoid the spray being blown off to other plants.
  • Do not spray the area anymore during the winter season. The roots will decay in the soil, causing the creeping Charlie to die.
  • When spring kicks in, dig up any dead creeping Charlie and dispose of it. Treat the soil and plant something else to cover the bare space.

Be cautious not to spray too much as it can be poisonous. Also, hold the sprayer in an angle that leads it away from the body and a steady distance that will cover a large area infested with creeping Charlie.

Did you know? Borax, also known as Boron Borax, was once recommended for killing the creeping Charlie. However, research shows that administering even the least amount of Borax to the soil will create a hostile growing setting. The adverse environment will be challenging to regrow fresh grass or plants. That said, the use of Borax on the ground is illegal and no longer recommended to eliminate creeping Charlie.

How to Prevent the Creeping Charlie from Growing Back

Hurray! The creeping Charlie nuisance is off the table, but how do you make sure to break this awful cycle of ever seeing it again?

As simple as it may sound, maintaining a healthy lawn is the only solution to keep creeping Charlie off completely. Just as a healthy body is not prone to diseases, a healthy lawn is inhospitable to weeds, creeping Charlie inclusive.

But a healthy lawn doesn’t just happen; it is created. The good thing is that the secrets to achieving this are out in the open. For instance, you need to have a consistent watering schedule, regular mowing your lawn, and feeding it with the correct type and amount of fertilizer. Keen follow-up of these steps will result in a good-looking, dense, and lush growth. The thickness of the growth of your grass will inhibit the sunlight from reaching the ground. Insufficient beneath the turf sun is not a good growing condition for the pesky uninvited weeds like creeping Charlie.

Parting Shot

On the flip side of the malicious creeping Charlie, lies a positive point of view to write home about. Because it is a member of the mint family, it emits an appealing scent and pretty violet-blue flowers that attract pollinators. Because of its resilience to grow just anywhere, you will thank it for covering bare ground that even grass cannot grow. Lastly, it stops erosion because it doesn’t leave any ground uncovered.

Take control of the weeds emerging in your yard before they overwhelm the landscape. It’s much easier to uproot one weed than dozens of them. But even in cases of large weed infestations, there are ways successful ways of eliminating them.