Creeping Charlie: What it is and how to get rid of it?

Creeping Charlie is an invasive weed that can spread quickly and take over your garden. You’ll need to get rid of it as soon as you can; otherwise, it may start to smoother the lawn and other plants in your yard. This article will help you identify Creeping Charlie and tell you some of the best ways to eliminate this weed.


What is Creeping Charlie?

What is Creeping Charlie?

Creeping Charlie is a common weed, which is also sometimes called ground ivy. It’s a member of the mint family and is fast growing. It’s also very adaptable and, as an annual plant, can come back year after year. Many homeowners think that they have removed it from their yard, only to find that it reappears the following spring or summer. The weed is very hardy and resilient to damage, making it a challenge to get rid of.

Creeping Charlie will take over lawns and flower beds and grow between shingles on paths and patios. It has a distinctive look as it produces a matted covering of dark covered leaves that have scalloped edges. This weed blooms in the spring and has small purple flowers. People often confuse Creeping Charlie with Creeping Jenny, which looks very similar but has smooth leaves.

While the weed does look attractive, it’s worth noting that it’s very invasive. If you decide to leave a patch of Creeping Charlie, a mistake many homeowners have made as it creates a nice ground cover, the weed is likely to spread quickly. Creeping Charlie can kill other plants and even grasses by smothering their roots. They also block sunlight from other plants and stop them from accessing the necessary water and nutrients.


Killing Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie will likely grow in shady areas of your yard where the ground is moist. It’s best to remove this weed when you first spot it as larger plants are more of a challenge to remove. Ensure that you’ve completely removed the plant as leaving just a few roots pieces of root is all the plant needs to start growing again. There are a few different ways to remove Creeping Charlie; you can pull it up, smother the plant or use herbicide to kill the weed.

The method of removal you choose will depend on the plant’s size and how mature it is. It’s best to remove it in either the spring or fall. If you’ve noticed a small patch of Creeping Charlie has started to grow, it’s best to pull them up rather than wait, or a stronger root system will have been established.


Remove It by Hand

Removing Creeping Charlie by hand may not be the best solution, especially if the plant is large. If you have a small creeping Charlie in your garden, you may like to try pulling it out by hand, using the following method. To do this job, you’ll need a shovel or fork, pruning shears, and some gloves. Always wear gloves when touching Creeping Charlie as the plant can irritate your skin.

  1. Prune the plant as close to the roots as possible- Prune it back as much as possible. Then cut off any loose vines.
  2. Dig around the plants base- Use a small garden fork to loosen the soil around the plant’s roots. If the ground is hard, you can add some water to soften it.
  3. Pull it up- Once you’ve found the main steam, you can grip this firmly to pull the plant out of the ground. Ensure you put the roots you’ve pulled up into the trash. Don’t leave pieces of roots laying around, however small or the plant is likely to regrow.
  4. Remove all the roots- After removing the Creeping Charlie plant, you should dig up the root system. Ensure you got all the roots, or the plant will be able to regrow the following season.


Smother It

  1. Creeping Charlie will die if it doesn’t get any sunlight. This will take a few weeks. You’ll need to completely cover the plant to smother it as it can thrive in shady conditions.
  2. Cover with newspaper and tarp- You can completely cover the plant with cardboard, newspaper, and tarp. Ensure that the plant is completely covered and extend the coverage about twelve inches beyond the plant to stop the roots creeping out.
  3. Leave for two weeks- Hold the tarp down with bricks and leave for two or three weeks until the plant has been smothered. The exact time it will take to kill Creeping Charlie may vary depending on how much moisture and nutrition is in the soil. You’ll know that the plant is dead as it will be dry and brown.
  4. Pull out the plant- Once the plant looks dead, you can water the ground thoroughly to soften it and then dig up the roots. Pull up the plant and dispose of it carefully. Ensure you don’t leave any behind.

Use Herbicide

Creeping Charlie can be killed with herbicide in the fall, as this is before the plant has started to produce seeds. Herbicide is the best method of killing it when it’s growing on your lawn. If the plant is on your lawn, you won’t be able to smother it without killing a large area of grass.

Choose a herbicide that’s suitable for killing Creeping Charlie, and that won’t kill the grass. Herbicide will kill the plant and also prevent it from regrowing the following season. You should soak the base of the roots with the herbicide. It’s likely to perish within two days of absorbing the toxins. After a few days, you can dig the plant up and throw it away.



Conclusion:  Creeping Charlie

As you can see, Creeping Charlie is very invasive and can cover large areas of your garden. It’s essential to take steps to control and get rid of the plant, or it will come back year after year and eventually take over your whole garden.

Using the above methods are effective ways of getting rid of it and stopping the plant from taking over your yard.

Unfortunately, Creeping Charlie is very resilient and can regrow from a small piece of root. After smothering or poising this weed, it’s a good idea to check your yard the following spring for signs of regrowth.

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