The warmth of spring makes many pleasant changes to our landscapes. Our grass starts to get greener, spring bulbs start to bloom, and life is returned to our gardens. Most new growth during the spring brings us joy and excitement for the warmer months ahead. But spring also reminds us that with a bustling garden comes unwelcomed garden guests, too – weeds. Weeds take a toll on our existing plant life and just don’t look appealing to the eye. Of them, Creeping Charlie is infamous for its difficulty to control. Here are some of our tips on how to get rid of Creeping Charlie and keep your landscape looking fresh this year:
What is Creeping Charlie?
A British native, this weed crept its way over here nearly 200 years ago and spread over North America like the ground-cover mat it is. Also called ‘ground ivy’, Creeping Charlie is a low-growing, invasive weed that loves to plague your lawn. It spreads easily and quickly, making it notoriously hard to kill. The earlier you target it, the better.
Some weeds really do no harm and are even valued for their naturalized appearance. Creeping Charlie is not one of them. With broad leaves in numerous shades of green and purple and tiny purple blooms, you can’t miss it. Its conspicuous shape and color completely disturb the look of a tidy lawn. For the sake of your lawn’s health and aesthetic, it’s best to get rid of it as soon as you can.
Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie has a reputation for being a nightmare to kill. This is a result of its vigorous growth habit and ability to send runners in all different directions at once. It spreads not just through its roots, but through seeds and other plant parts. Even when you think you’ve pulled up all the weeds in your garden, the smallest piece of weed left behind can start an invasion yet again. And don’t think the winter chill will do your work for you – this perennial weed will return year after year!
So how do you get rid of this troublesome weed? The first step to weed control is tackling the issue as soon as it arises. Though it’s difficult to get rid of, Creeping Charlie is manageable if you’re quick to take action. While there are natural remedies, many gardeners find themselves resorting to chemicals to rid themselves of Creeping Charlie.
Some people have used a mixture of Borax and water to treat their landscapes, but we recommend using more reliable chemicals and herbicides. With the right concentration, this home remedy can rid your lawn of weeds, but it can also harm the good vegetation too! If your inner chemist misses the mark even a little bit, you could also end up permanently ruining your soil with excessive boron. If you haven’t opened a chemistry textbook for as long as we have, let’s all agree to leave our lab coats in the closet. There are plenty of products out there with simple instructions that will be even more effective!
How to Kill Creeping Charlie Naturally
As tough as it is to kill, you don’t have to jump straight to chemicals for Creeping Charlie removal. Many of us would much rather keep our gardens chemical-free, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Keeping everything under control naturally creates a space that’s safe for playing children, curious pets, growing edibles, and the overall environment.
The simplest way to naturally kill weeds is to smother them. Cover the area with a tarp or newspaper to block the sun and air flow. After a week or two, the weed should be dead or at least easier to pull. Be careful not to leave any plant pieces behind, or else new weeds will likely grow from them. Chances are, you’ll have to do this process a few times before you eradicate this pernicious weed completely. Of course, the grass surrounding the Ground Ivy will be killed off as well, but you can reseed your lawn once the weeds are gone.
How to Kill Creeping Charlie with Herbicides
If a large portion of your lawn has already been infiltrated or natural solutions just aren’t strong enough, you might need a chemical weed killer to get rid of Creeping Charlie. Look for a herbicide that’s intended for broadleaf plants, which will target the weed but not your lawn. These chemicals can be pretty strong, so read and follow directions for use carefully. With many herbicides, there’s a period after application where you should stay away from the affected area.
Sometimes Creeping Charlie creeps in so viciously that it just can’t be eliminated. In this case, you may need to use an all-purpose herbicide to wipe out the entire area of land, grass included. While it might be disheartening, don’t worry – you’ll have a glowing garden again soon! Simply reseed the area once the soil is safe to grow in again. It might be drastic, but sometimes it’s necessary to start over from scratch.
Weeds that spread as easily as Creeping Charlie have a way of getting out of control pretty fast. After endless pulling with little to no success, weeds can leave us feeling frustrated and defeated. But when you have the know what you’re dealing with and how to target it, whether it be natural measures or chemical herbicides, there are lots of ways evict those pesky weeds and recover a neat and tidy lawn.