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How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie Weeds

By Heidi Almond ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Things You Will Need

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

Tip

  • A popular folk remedy for eradicating creeping Charlie is treating it with a dilute solution of borax and water. However, results can be hit-or-miss, and the borax may end up burning your lawn or damaging other nearby plants.

Warning

  • 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.

About the Author

 

Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.