How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie (Controlling the Weed)

If anyone tells you, they can get rid of all of your Creeping Charlie don’t believe them. It cannot be done. This weed is just too tough and determined to take over your lawn and garden to be completely eradicated. However, keep reading don’t get discouraged, Creeping Charley can be controlled.

This invasive plant was brought over to the U.S. from Europe. It is known by several names, Ground Ivy, Creeping Jenny and Cat’s Paw are just a few of them. Creeping Charley plant is a member of the mint family and some people enjoy its smell. It is believed to have medicinal values and believe it or not some nurseries actually sell Creeping Charlie. There is a variegated leaf version of this plant available at most nurseries and I use it as part of my control for its invasive cousin.

Ground Ivy propagates by its stem, shooting out roots at each leaf node. The roots are fairly shallow but very long. In late May or early June, the plant will produce a pretty violet-colored flower. The seeds from this flower will also spread the plant. So if you have done your job with controlling the weed but your neighbors allow it to grow, it will soon be a problem again in your yard.

What Kills Creeping Charlie?

There are as many methods for killing this persistent weed as it has root nodes. The most common is to use chemicals. If chemicals are your cup of tea, I suggest this bulletin put out by The University of Wisconsin Extension Office. I have tried chemicals and found they only provide food for the plant to grow hardier and spread even further. I do want to comment on one chemical which is commonly named as a method for killing Creeping Charlie.


How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie with Borax?

Many people swear by the use of Twenty Mule Team Borax. I believe this is a dangerous substance to apply to your lawn or garden. Borax is an organic chemical but so is arsenic. First of all Borax does not work. Secondly, it is dangerous to your soil. Borax contains Boran which does not break down in the soil and will create a permanent brown spot where nothing will grow but Creeping Charlie. Leave the stuff in your washing machine but don’t use too much.

How to Get Rid of Ground Ivy Organically?

Two Simple Steps to Take in Controlling the Weed Creeping Charlie

1 Here is my method for controlling Creeping Charlie, a knife. My knife was passed down to me from my grandfather through my father. It may have even belonged to my great-grandfather. It is a hunting knife with a thick six-inch blade. It has been kept very sharp for many years and used so often the handle has fallen off. This is the most used tool in my garden toolbox.

When I see a growth of Creeping Charlie starting, or one that has established which I missed. I simply slice flat into the ground about two inches under the plant using a bowl motion type cut so I have completely cut under the Creeping Charlie. In other words, the blade will be horizontal with the bottom of the Creeping Jenny. After you make the slice, grab all of the plant leaves together and pull it out, the roots will also come out down to where you have cut. Do not compost! It seeds will survive home composting. I place the waste in a special can to be brought to my city’s composting system.

The slicing method will also work well for other tough yard weeds like thistles, and wild violet. The advantage is you are cutting the roots under the plant before pulling it out. This will leave you with enough topsoil to plant something which will crowd out the Creeping Charlie or too deeply mulch.


2 The next step after removing any weed is to cover the area which is now bare. If you do not do this, new Creeping Charlie will be back within weeks. If I have cut a piece out of my lawn I use sod to fill the voided spot, not a seed. If it has come out of my garden, I will use either mulch or Creeping Charlie’s cousin Variegated Ground Ivy. This is a pretty plant, fast-growing and easy to control, unlike Creeping Charlie. I have found it to be a nice companion with many of my perennials in place of bark or other mulch.

You will need to be diligent in controlling your Creeping Charlie. By following these two easy steps, cut and fill you will be on your way to kicking Charlie out if your yard.


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