How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie & Creeping Jenny
Glechoma hederacea, or Creeping Charlie, is a round-leaved, aromatic perennial herb with little blue flowers. It is a member of the mint family that also is known as Creeping Jenny. Lysimachia nummulari, or Moneywort, is a perennial weed with little yellow flowers. A member of the primrose family, it is also called Creeping Jenny. Creeping Jenny is also a common name for Solanales convolvulaceae, known as bindweed or morning glory. Most lawn owners would opt to get rid of all three of these invasive creeping weeds, whatever their names.
Starve ground ivy, moneywort and morning glories by keeping your lawn healthy. Creeping weeds grow wild when lawn turf is stressed. Grow the right varieties of grass for your region and sun exposure. Mow often, removing only one-third of the blade at a time.
- Glechoma hederacea, or Creeping Charlie, is a round-leaved, aromatic perennial herb with little blue flowers.
- Lysimachia nummulari, or Moneywort, is a perennial weed with little yellow flowers.
Pull weeds as soon as you spot them. Ground ivy has scalloped leaves and blue flowers, moneywort has shiny round evergreen leaves with yellow flowers, and morning glory has small arrowhead-shaped leaves and white trumpet-shaped flowers like domesticated morning glories. Follow stolons back to their source and dig out the mother plant with a dandelion digger. Destroy plants. Do not add them to your compost heap.
Apply a broadleaf herbicide that contains glyphosate or 2,4-D. Both have been shown to be effective. Dicamba is effective against ground ivy and field bindweed. Apply the herbicide when the weeds are actively growing and blooming in spring when the temperature is above 60 and below 80 degrees F. Apply herbicides when dry weather is expected for at least 24 hours after application.
- Pull weeds as soon as you spot them.
- Follow stolons back to their source and dig out the mother plant with a dandelion digger.
Make another application of broadleaf control the following spring if creeping weeds return. During each growing season, dig and pull any reappearing plants to keep them from setting seed. These hardy plants are stubbornly invasive. If there are any in the neighborhood, they’ll come back eventually.
Exercise the “nuclear option” when ground ivy, moneywort or morning glory takes over; tilling soil may eradicate the creepers if you comb through the soil and remove any healthy stolons. This approach would be a good way to control weeds in annual flower beds before planting but re-seeding a lawn may not be practical.
Names and weed designations differ from one area to the next. Moneywort, for example, is sold as a groundcover in Illinois but is on Wisconsin's invasive weed list. Your local state agricultural extension can help sort out local names and invasive status for these plants.
"Weed and feed" fertilizers often contain glyphosate for broadleaf weed control. Check the package. It should list the species that it will kill. Since all three broadleaf creepers are sensitive to glyphosate and 2,4-D, most broadleaf control should work if one or more names is listed.
Borax is often offered as control for creeping weeds. Treatment with this caustic compound as well as acidic treatments like vinegar spray cannot be controlled closely enough to avoid the plants through which creepers thread themselves. A third "green" herbicide, boiling water, is difficult to “aim” as well.
Always apply herbicides with methods and in rates according to directions on the label. Avoid applying herbicides in windy conditions when they may drift to other plants.
Choose an herbicide that is safe to use in aquatic habitats if you have a fish pond, water feature or border on a wetland area.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling herbicides.
An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.