How to Defeat Ground Cover Weeds in Lawns


If a ground cover like creeping Charlie moves into your lawn, it can be hard to eradicate. One solution is to apply harsh chemicals, which usually requires more than one application to completely rid the lawn of this weed. Another method without harsh chemicals is using borax, commonly used as a laundry detergent and available in supermarkets. Borax kills creeping Charlie and other broadleaf weeds because it contains boron, an essential micronutrient for plants. Used in excess, however, it can damage or kill plants. Lawn grasses are much more tolerant of excess boron.

Step 1

Remove debris from the surface of your lawn. Also remove any potted plants that might be adversely affected by the application of boron.

Step 2

Make sure the grass is not longer than 3 inches. Perform any necessary mowing the day before applying the boron.

Step 3

Mix 10 ounces of Twenty Mule Team Borax with 4 ounces of warm water in a 5-gallon bucket. Stir until the borax is dissolved.

Step 4

Add 2½ gallons of water to the above mixture. Pour into a pump-type garden sprayer. Follow the directions of the sprayer manufacturer when filling and using it.

Step 5

Spray the lawn with the mixture. To ensure complete coverage, spray while walking back and forth across the lawn in rows. Walk first in one direction, then walk in a direction perpendicular to the first.

Step 6

Repeat the application 10 to 14 days later.

Things You'll Need

  • 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Pump-type handheld garden sprayer


  • Iowa State University Extension: Borax on Ground Ivy

Who Can Help

  • University of California: Weed Management in Lawns
Keywords: defeat ground cover weeds in lawns, get rid of lawn weeds, eradicate creeping Charlie

About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.