Although all plants have their place in the garden, some are more desirable than others for your landscape. Invading weeds steal the nutrients in your lawn, which you have spent so hard to preserve.
Glechoma hederacea (Creeping Charlie) is a low-growing perennial creeper with ruffled leaves and purplish-blue flowers you find in the spring. It’s appealing, yet when it’s not under control, it likes to intrude.
The ground ivy is a sneaky weed that is successfully resilient and adaptable, making it difficult to eradicate. It is an invasive mint family member that can quickly fill any space.
In our guide, you can learn all you need to know about how to get rid of Creeping Charlie organically. By the end, you’ll understand how to get rid of this lawn weed without harming your grass more than you need to.
What Kills Creeping Charlie But Not Grass?
If Creeping Charlie has taken up residence in your lawn, you will find it a challenge to get rid of it. You can’t suffocate it without killing your grass. In addition, it’s nearly impossible to remove by hand as it will be tangled in the grass roots. (Learn What Kills Weeds Permanently)
When you have a tough time getting rid of Creeping Charlie on your lawn, a herbicide may be one way to deal with it quickly. However, you need to know that many weedkillers are non-selective and kill anything they touch.
You will need to check product labels carefully and select a broadleaf herbicide containing Triclopyror dicamba, which are two chemicals to kill Creeping Charlie while not harming your precious turf grass.
- Garden gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt
- Protective eyewear and face mask
- Garden sprayer
- Broadleaf herbicide containing triclopyr or dicamba
It is possible to spray Creeping Charlie with your broadleaf weed killer during the growing season. However, it is more effective to treat the ground cover in the fall.
For best results, select a day before or after the first frost where the ground cover soaks up the herbicide with winter nutrients.
Spray your herbicide on the Creeping Charlie. Ensure you soak all the leaves and avoiding nearby garden plants. Do not mow your lawn during the two days after spraying, so the chemicals can be absorbed by the plant roots.
You can control any further regrowth of Creeping Charlie by ensuring it can’t take hold to start with. A thick, healthy lawn of turfgrass can prevent weeds from taking hold as the seeds can’t get to the soil to germinate. (Read Natural Ant Killer)
How Do You Kill Creeping Charlie Naturally?
Here you can find the various ways of how to kill Creeping Charlie that are natural and safe. Many of these methods are suitable for controlling the invasive weed, yet you can see growth come back as it may not kill all the roots. (Find the Best Weed Killer Spray)
1. Hand-Pulling to Kill Creeping Charlie
If the creeping Charlie is close to any desirable plants or where children play, it is recommended not to spray with any herbicides or weed killers.
Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in weed killers, has been linked to health issues. Depending on the amount, you can pull Creeping Charlie by hand. It does, however, take time and effort.
Here’s how to pull on your gloves and hand pull Creeping Charlie.
- Trim leaves and stems to see the stems in the ground. Bag any trimmings and dispose of them or throw them on your compost pile. Leaving them can lead to roots forming on the stems, and you get a new growth of this weed.
- Soak the soil using your best garden hose and saturate your soil where the Creeping Charlie is located. Leave the water for an hour so it can soak into the ground.
- Loosen the soil around the weed with a pitchfork. You can carefully lift soil to expose the roots Creeping Charlie.
- Hold each plant at its base and pull the Creeping Charlie from the earth. Put the full plant with the roots and everything into a bag with the trimmings. It can be tiring as you need to bend and pull each weed by the roots.
- Check for plant and root pieces you may have missed. If you leave any plant and roots, these can quickly take hold and start to grow again. Repeat the process after a couple of weeks as by then, you should see any new growth starting. Just be sure to wear your gloves before pulling these weeds from around a plant or grass.
- You will miss some roots, so monitor the area and check if there are signs of growth. Pull up any new Creeping Charlie plants as soon as you see them. Hand-pulling the weeds is a very eco-friendly method, yet it is the slowest method and can take the most effort. It will take continual passes to get rid of Creeping Charlie altogether.
2. Remove Creeping Charlie by Smothering
It is possible to get rid of a large area of Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) by depriving it of sunlight. The shade won’t do as the weed thrives in shady areas. You will need to cover it to block the light altogether for this method to work.
If the weed is in your lawn, this won’t work without killing your grass at the same time through a lack of light.
- Cardboard, newspaper or tarp
- Rocks, boulders or mulch
- Garden Cultivator and waste disposal bag
- Completely cover Creeping Charlie and the surrounding 12-inches beyond where the weed flower is located by using your barrier of cardboard, tarp or newspaper to stop any sunlight from getting through.
- Weigh down your cover using rocks, mulch or boulders to stop the cover from moving.
- Wait a week, as it can take a week or even longer for Creeping Charlie to be smothered. If you see any green, it needs to be left longer until it is dead.
- Pull dead Creeping Charlie from the ground and dispose of it in the same way when using the hand pulling method.
- Once removed, you can use your cultivator to turn the soil.
Note: if this ground ivy is in your lawn, then this method isn’t suitable as your lawn will be killed along with the ground ivy in your yard.
3. Homemade Weedkiller
Here is a homemade weedkiller that is suitable for use on your lawn.
- 10 ounces of Borax
- 4 ounces of warm water
- 2 ½ gallons of water
- Large bucket
- Mix Borax (Twenty Mule Team Borax) and warm the warm in your bucket until dissolved.
- Add 2 1/2 gallons of water.
- Pour into a garden spray bottle and completely cover your entire lawn and yard area.
You can treat 1,000 square feet of the yard using this formula, and you can repeat it after two weeks.
What Is The Best Product To Get Rid of Creeping Charlie?
Here you can see how to get rid of Creeping Charlie with vinegar. Horticultural vinegar works to get rid of Creeping Charlie, yet only if you use it correctly and make repeated applications to kill the plant. (Learn the Best Time to Spray Weed Killer)
Creeping Charlie is tough to kill, and while broadleaf herbicides work, many gardeners don’t wish to use toxic chemicals on their lawns, thus reaching for vinegar.
Vinegar with 11 per cent or more acetic acid will kill weeds effectively and do so in two hours. Vinegar that has less acetic acid can kill young weeds, yet it can take about two weeks.
Horticultural vinegar contains 20 per cent acetic acid, and at this strength, you still need repeat applications to get rid of Creeping Charlie.
If you find anywhere that sells horticultural vinegar to be used as a herbicide, it will need to follow the same rules as other herbicides. (Read Liquid Fertilizer For Grass)
Warnings need to be included, and you will need to stick to personal protection as the liquid can burn. Gardening gloves are not suitable, and you would need thick acid-resistant gloves. Using this horticultural vinegar as a treatment for Creeping Charlie, don’t use it in your yard where kids or pets go as they could get burned.
Will Baking Soda Kill Creeping Charlie?
Baking soda can be a natural remedy to get rid of weeds as long as you know how to use it.
Baking soda kills weeds by removing water from plant cells and causes leaves to dry out. To use baking soda to kill weeds, mix with water and a surfactant, then spray on your weeds until they die.
You should know that baking soda is a contact herbicide and non-selective so that it can kill lawn growth and Creeping Charlie. Adding too much baking soda and you run the risk of changing soil composition, so any plants in the vicinity will suffer.