Creeping Charlie plants (glenchoma hedracea) are also known as ground ivy. These perennial broadleaf plants emit a mint odor and were once recommended as a groundcover. The plants' aggressive spreading habit make them more of a noxious weed. Creeping Charlie stands out from lawn turf because it has square vines, kidney-shaped leaves and purple flowers. Creeping Charlie plants prefer moist, shaded sites but frequently escape to sunny areas, according to the University of Illinois Extension's Controlling Creeping Charlie. The best way to kill creeping Charlie plants is to eliminate the conditions that promote the plants' growth.
Use a core-aerator to improve soil drainage. Creeping Charlie plants suck up moisture in compacted soil. Aeration creates holes in the turf so water can filter through the soil more efficiently.
Prune trees and shrubs that provide shade to a creeping Charlie patch. Cut limbs with a pruning saw and stems with pruning shears so that sunlight reaches the effected patch.
Pull the entire plant and root from the soil. Use a dandelion fork to remove small, thin plants and a de-thatching rake to comb through thick patches. Destroy the pulled plant debris.
Apply a post-emergence broadleaf herbicide to persistent plant patches. Read the label to ensure the product contains dicamba, the active ingredient that controls creeping Charlie. Spray the plants according to the herbicide manufacturer's directions. Plants respond best to fall applications, when temperatures range from 60- to 70- degrees F and no rain is expected for 48 hours after application.
Introduce competitive species to prevent creeping Charlie from re-emerging. Sow shade-loving cool season grass seed in areas where creeping Charlie plants have invaded lawn turf. Replace creeping Charlie plants that have invaded the garden with similar, but less invasive species, such as hosta or pachysandra.
Use proper cultural practices to keep creeping Charlie plants at bay. For example, mow a short grass like Kentucky bluegrass when it reaches 2 to 3 inches in height and a tall grass like fescue when it reaches 3 to 4 inches in height. Provide the lawn turf or garden with 1 inch of water a week, and apply fertilizer at least once a year.