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How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie Weeds

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How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie Weeds

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Overview

Creeping Charlie, also known as creeping Jenny, ground ivy or Gill-over-the-ground (Glechoma hederacea), is a short, purple-flowered plant that is native to Europe. It was once grown in North America as a hardy and fast-growing ground cover, but is now considered to be a noxious weed. It can be a challenge to get creeping Charlie out of your lawn or garden, and this weed often requires a multi-faceted approach.

Step 1

Pull the creeping Charlie out by hand. Water the lawn or garden before you begin weeding, or wait until after a rain. Weeds come out easily and more cleanly when the soil is moist. Try to remove all the plant if you can, since root fragments may regenerate into new plants.

Step 2

Sprinkle some grass seed in the soil after you have pulled the creeping Charlie out of a lawn. The grass will germinate and fill in the space before the creeping Charlie has a chance to move back in.

Step 3

Cover the area with mulch after removing creeping Charlie from a flower or vegetable bed. The mulch will help prevent creeping Charlie and other weeds from germinating, and whatever weeds do come up through the mulch will be easier to pull up. If you are removing a large amount of creeping Charlie from a flower garden, you could fill in the newly opened space with thickly planted fast-growing annuals like marigolds, snapdragons or sunflowers. This will help to crowd out any creeping Charlie that may be left behind.

Step 4

Pull up creeping Charlie whenever it emerges, and fill in the space with mulch or other plants. You may need to repeat this treatment for several years before you fully eradicate the creeping Charlie.

Step 5

Create an environment that is hostile to creeping Charlie. Since creeping Charlie thrives in moist shade, consider removing trees or shrubs to let more light into your garden, and improve the drainage of your soil or water less frequently to keep the soil drier. If creeping Charlie persists in these conditions, it will be weaker and easier to remove.

Step 6

Apply a broad-leaf herbicide only if removing the creeping Charlie by hand is not working. Herbicides will damage or kill other non-weed plants, and they should not be used in areas frequented by children or animals. Always follow the package instructions to the letter when applying herbicides. Creeping Charlie is very tenacious, and may prove to be resistant to many herbicides, even those that specifically say they kill creeping Charlie.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not compost creeping Charlie weeds that you've pulled out of your lawn or garden. The plants may remain viable and form seeds or put out runners and re-infest your yard. Instead, place the weeds in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash.

Things You'll Need

  • Grass seed
  • Mulch
  • Fast-growing annual flowers, plants or seeds
  • Broad-leaf herbicide (optional)

References

  • Controlling Creeping Charlie: University of Wisconsin
  • Controlling Creeping Charlie: The Iowa Gardener
  • How to get rid of Creeping Charlie
Keywords: creeping Charlie, creeping Jenny, Gill-over-the-ground, ground ivy, weed control

About this Author

Sonya Welter graduated cum laude from Northland College in 2002, and has worked in the natural foods industry for nearly seven years. As a freelance writer, she specializes in food, health, nature, gardening and green living. She has been published on Ecovian.com, LIVESTRONG.com and several local print publications in Duluth, Minn.