Creeping charlie isn’t our nickname for a creepy neighbor. It’s a lawn weed that can quickly take over your yard. It is also referred to ground ivy because of its vine-like spreading tendency. It has bright green scalloped leaves and pretty little purple flowers in spring. Creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea) likes moist, shady areasbut, once it has a good root system, will spread everywhere. It can quickly overtake any grasses in its way.
The biggest problem for us in trying to get rid of creeping charlie is that our neighbor’s lawn is completely blanketed in it. That means it will be an ongoing battle for us. But the good news is that (for now) we have it contained. We use a weed killer that containstriclopyr. We use a ready-to-use bottle ofOrtho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer RTS to treat the entire lawn, andOrtho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer for Lawn Concentrate to spot treat two weeks after the initial treatment.
The nice thing about this herbicide is that it also works on poison ivy, wild voilets and many other broadleaf weeds. The ready-to-use version is harder to find locally, so we buy it from Amazon. Here are links if you need them:
We initially treated the lawn for creeping charlie twice a year with Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer RTS. Now, we just have to spot treat areas. Creeping charlie starts actively growing in spring, slows down during the hot summer months, then gets busy growing again in the fall. Spray only when the weed is actively growing. In the spring, spray justbefore the weed goes to flower, otherwise you’ll be killing the foilage but will be leaving millions seeds behind to sprout later. In the fall, spray immediately before the first frost.
It’s important to keep in mind that it takes a while for the weed to absorb the weed killer and later reach the roots. You should see the foilage start to wilt within 3 days, but it can take 10 or more days before the weed actually dies. If you still have live weeds after 2 weeks, you will need to spot treat usingOrtho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer for Lawn Concentrate. We add 2 TBSP of concentrate to 1 gallon of water and apply using a garden sprayer.
Timing Is Everything
It takes a little bit of planning and effort to effectively get creeping charlie under control.
- Determine when creeping charlie flowers in the spring; this is when it is more suseptible to herbicides. Creeping charlie’s typical bloom period is April through June. In our region, it begins to flower in early May. We spray just before creeping charlie starts blooming in order to minimize any seeds from developing.
- Mow your lawn 1 week before you apply the herbicide. Mowing will expose more of the weed’s foilage and allow it to grow larger foilagebefore treatment. The foilage helps transport the herbicide to the roots. Don’t mow for at least a week after treatment; the longer the treated foilage is there, the more herbicide will get drawn to the roots.
- Water your lawn a few hours before treatment.
- Spray in mid-morning, after the morning dew has dried but before the heat of the sun will dry your herbicide application too quickly.
- Spray very low to the ground and into the grass to cover all foilage. New growth might be hidden under other grasses and will just root itself if the parent plant dies. Pay extra attention to dense patches of growth.
- Apply herbicide when temperature is between 60-80 degrees. Absorption of the herbicide is less effective ifspraying when temperature is above 90 degrees.
- Don’t spray if it is windy or if rain is expected within 12 hours after treatment.
- Be prepared to spot treat any creeping charlie foilage that hasn’t died back two weeks or was missed after initial treatment.
- For a fall spraying, watch the weather and spray right before the first frost of the season. The first frost will triggercreeping charlie to start drawing nutrients from its leaves down to its roots in preparation for winter. Spraying a day or two before the first frost means that more herbicide will get transported to the weed’s roots.