Creeping Charlie, an extremely quick growing and pesky weed that can grow in both shady and brightly lit areas, can completely overtake your backyard if not handled properly. Like any weed, creeping charlie can be quite difficult to get rid of, but a few efficient tricks can get these pesky little plants off your lawn for good.
How to Identify and Locate a Creeping Charlie
The first thing you need in order to properly get rid of these pesky plants is to properly identify creeping charlie. Luckily for you, these weeds are quite easy to spot.
The first distinct feature is the Creeping Charlie’s kidney-shaped leaves with rough edges that are vibrantly green in color and very good at reflecting sunlight, giving it a glossy look.
Another noticeable feature is the Creeping Charlie’s beautiful violet-purple flowers that give off an emanating minty aroma when crushed.
The last and most bothersome feature is the fact that each in has a node that allows for new growths and forms roots upon contact with soil; this makes it exceptionally frustrating when attempting to remove these plants because if a node is accidentally left behind, a new crop of creeping Charlies could pop up.
Once you are certain you have a creeping charlie infestation in your yard, you can get down to business in properly getting rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie Plants
The first step is properly maintaining your yard. Like any other weed, creeping charlies thrive in an unmaintained and unhealthy lawn. Improper mowing and fertilizer practices could damage your lawn, setting up the perfect conditions for these unwanted plants to flourish.
Making sure your yard or lawn has thick, green grass is a good sign that your lawn is going in the right direction. The excess of “healthy” grass will overcrowd pesky creeping charlies and prevent them from spreading.
Also, if you’re worried about creeping charlies growing in shady areas where it may be difficult to grow normal grass, consider planting plants that thrive in lower-light environments.
Once you ensure your lawn is healthy and you are employing good lawn caring practices, you can do the following to eventually get rid of creeping charlie plants:
Pull the weeds out by hand
Because of the nodes that can lead to new growths, it is better to use your hands to pull out the weeds rather than using a rake or other tool.
By taking them out with your hands, you can be better sure that there are no nodes remaining in the soil. Otherwise, you may have to face the frustration of new growth days later in the same place.
Use Broadleaf herbicide
This specifically targets a wide range of weeds but is non-harmful towards regular plants. Normally this should be applied in late fall and reapplied in the spring. When the plant is flowering is the time when it is most vulnerable to herbicide treatments, so waiting until this point in the spring could be useful if you’re having difficulties properly eradicated the growths.
Bring in some lighting
Though creeping charlie can grow in both shady and well-lit areas, they preferably grow in dark, moist places around your yard. If there is something obstructing sunlight on your yard, such as a tree or overhead awning, removing these things may help prevent future growth from occurring.
Proper soil drainage
Wetter soil tends to attract creeping charlies more. Introducing natural water drainage can help prevent anyone from the patch of the soil becoming too susceptible to being invaded.
How to Kill Creeping Charlie
Creeping charlie weeds can destroy a perfectly good lawn, and with their numerous nodes, it can be quite difficult to get rid of without having them reappear days later.
Even the most well-maintained lawn still comes at risk of being infected by these plants. The plant is also extremely resistant to most common herbicides and its growth patterns are very sporadic, making it quite difficult to control.
However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a few tricks in fighting against these weeds. The following are a few efficient and low-cost ways to get rid of creeping charlies once and for all.
The Cardboard Method
Though creeping charlies preferentially grow in the shade, completely blocking out the sun can eventually kill the pesky plant. By covering a patch of creeping charlies with sturdy cardboard that is weighed down with stones can help smother the plants and prevent sunlight from reaching the plant. It should take about a week for this method to kill the patch, but if you notice a few more plants still alive, cover it up for another week.
Once all are dead, you can remove the dead vines either by hand or with a rake. You won’t have to worry about the nodes regrowing a population of creeping charlies since the plant and the nodes should be dead.
If you’re not against using chemical treatments, then borax may just do the trick. Though creeping charlie is resistant to many herbicides, borax has been proven to be effective, is quite inexpensive, and extremely accessible. The problem with borax is that if too much is spread, it will not only kill the growing weeds, but also any other greenery in the area.
Also, because of the slow speed at which borax degrades, it could stick around in the soil for an extended period of time and prevent anything from growing. Therefore borax isn’t the optimal treatment option but can be used effectively if only little amounts are used.
Some other herbicide treatments are also effective. The most notably effective treatment of herbicide is those that contain the chemical “dicamba.” This treatment should be applied during mid-fall or early spring when the plant is beginning to flower.
Weeds can potentially destroy a beautiful garden, restricting nutrients from the plants that need them. And though creeping charlies can be initially difficult to get rid of, ensuring your lawn is maintained and using some basic gardening principles, you can be sure to say goodbye to this pest.
No one likes weeds, and though creeping charlies may look pretty, they are certainly bad for your lawn. And though killing them can be difficult at times, knowing when and how to kill these plants can make your job a lot easier.