Creeping Charlie is also called ground ivy, creeping jenny and gill-over-the-ground. It is a weed that grows close to the ground and thrives in shade and moist soil. Once this invasive weed takes hold in your lawn, it will choke out the grass. Creeping Charlie can be identified by its leaves (they are shaped like small geranium leaves), and by its spring flowers, which are lavender/blue in color. This weed is spread by its creeping stems and by its seeds. Creeping Charlie can be removed by several methods: by maintaining a thick/healthy lawn, eliminating extremely shady and poorly drained spots, hand pulling the weed and by applying a postemergence broadleaf herbicide.
Maintain a healthy lawn by following a regular fertilization program, reseeding when needed, properly watering and keeping a mowing height of 2 to 3 ½ inches. A dense and healthy turf keeps weeds from infesting your lawn.
Eliminate extremely shady areas of your lawn by thinning out the crown of trees. This allows additional sunlight to filter down to the lawn.
Fill in any low and poorly drained spots in your lawn with soil, and reseed if necessary. Eliminating moist areas will also help keep the weed from growing.
Dig out Creeping Charlie with your weeding fork as soon as you see it growing in your lawn. It is important to dig up the weed in its entirety. Do not put the plant material in your compost bin.
Apply a postemergence broadleaf herbicide to your lawn if Creeping Charlie has taken over your lawn. Follow the manufacturer's directions, and wear protective gear (e.g., goggles, respirator, gloves). The herbicide should contain salt of dicamba (3,6-dichloro-o-anisic acid) or triclopyr. This herbicide should be applied in mid to late autumn, after the first frost, and again in the spring when the plants are blooming if the first application did not eradicate all of the weeds. The herbicide is effective when the weeds are growing.