Creeping Charlie is an invasive weed that takes up residence in areas where turf grass grows and where it does not. This aggressive weed, tolerant to adverse conditions, may cost your home landscape the health of its grass. As creeping Charlie is difficult to compete with, give your lawn proper care to avoid it.
Creeping Charlie (Glechoma bederacea) is an herbaceous perennial that displays vivid green foliage with glossy veins. During its bloom time of April to June, creeping Charlie produces upright cool-hued flowers in blue and purple shades. Stems reach approximately 2 feet long.
Originating in Asia and Europe, creeping Charlie thrives and competes in areas where grass is also thriving as well as heavily shaded areas where grass has trouble developing. Though this invasive weed is partial to moist environments, it grows successfully in nearly any condition. The use of herbicides is often necessary to rid your lawn of this problem.
Because of the aggressive nature and easy spread of creeping Charlie, this perennial weed competes with your home lawn. As it takes over, creeping Charlie uses the water and nutrients in soil that your grass usually uses for proper growth. Additionally, initially used as a ground cover, this weed is capable of growing over your grass. Creeping Charlie diminishes the health of your grass and, depending on the level of invasion, may block necessary sunlight and air circulation, leading to suffocation. Consider the use of an herbicide for control.
Prevention is essential in dealing with aggressive creeping Charlie because keeping it from forming is an easier battle than trying to remove it. Additionally, prevention allows you to avoid the use of toxic chemicals contained in herbicides. Maintain a healthy lawn with consistent mowing. Keep your turf mowed to a height of up to 3 inches, and provide the appropriate moisture and fertilizer for your particular grass type. Consider the application of fertilizer during autumn to thicken your grass as a defense against weed invasion. You can remove creeping Charlie by hand, and you should remove as much of the plant as possible to inhibit re-growth.
The best management solution for invasive creeping Charlie in the home garden is the use of a postemergence broadleaf herbicide when weeds are in the process of developing, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Use chemicals with the active ingredient dicamba. Other options include herbicides with the active ingredient 2,4-DP or triclopyr. Practice caution when applying herbicides to prevent damage to other plants. Contact a licensed professional or your local county extension agent for assistance or for information about accurate application.