“Of all the lawn weeds a homeowner will face, Creeping Charlie is possibly the worst perennial weed,” says Richard hentschel, professor at the University of Illinois Extension.
Why? It can take care of your lawn and the garden and make it difficult to control your landscape. As it grows, it can overtake and strangle other plants in its path. And it’s especially difficult to control if it gets into your flower bed or lawn.
Photo by Cultivate
Throughout history, this slow growing weed has been used in everything from beer to salads to herbal remedies. But it’s not good in your garden. Controlling Creeping Charlie can be a real challenge for owners, but here are some ways to reduce creep.
Method 1: pull the weeds by hand
This weed is a tough bugger to fight because it spreads through seeds, roots and stems. And simply mowing Creeping Charlie only helps spread the weed.
“To get rid of it naturally, one of the best ways to do it is to pull by hand after a heavy rain or after you have completely soaked the lawn. This makes it easier to extract the whole structure of the plant, the roots and everything, ”explains Kevin spirit, founder of Epic Gardening.
Espiritu says an intensive hand-pulling session should take care of the bulk, but advises keeping an eye out for small plants that grow in the next few weeks. Taking them out immediately should do the trick, he says. But make sure you don’t leave any behind, as a single fragment can re-root and spawn many more new plants.
“Having zero Creeping Charlie in a lawn or landscape is a dream of most homeowners,” he says.
Method 2: Keep a well-nourished lawn
Creeping Charlie thrives in poorly manicured lawns, especially thin, weak lawns. So, inflate that lawn! Experts say a well-maintained lawn can help repel Creeping Charlie.
“When you try to control Creeping Charlie, you have to prevent it from coming back by either increasing the density of the grass that grows in that area or by planting something else that can supplant it,” explains Kristin krokowski, professor of commercial horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension in Waukesha County.
Experts suggest mowing regularly – at a height of 2 inches to 3.5 inches – and fertilizing, watering and overseeding in the fall.
Method 3: Try soil solarization
The weed thrives in shady, high humidity environments, such as under trees and shrubs. Soil solarization is a pesticide-free process that burns weeds from the soil using a concentrated amount of heat from the sun.
In the hot sunny months, soil solarization can be used to control Creeping Charlie. Simply water the soil until it is wet, place a clear plastic sheet (such as a plastic drop cloth used by builders or painters) over the soil, bury the edges so that it is secure and let it sit for at least four weeks. Then remove the dead weeds.
Method 4: Apply a weedkiller
It is best to target Creeping Charlie in the spring or fall using a broadleaf herbicide containing triclopyr or dicamba. The chemicals can kill this weed but will not harm your lawn. Experts suggest fall is a great time, as weeds are actively growing and the herbicide would reach the roots, targeting the entire plant. However, Hentschel says the best time to treat your garden with herbicides depends on your climate, so he advises homeowners to contact their local agricultural extension office for more information.
And don’t bother with DIY homemade potions. A common remedy is to make a Borax solution, but some experts advise against it because Borax can seep into the soil and damage your lawn or other plants. Unless you use scientific precision in mixing and applying the solution, you may end up with a case of boron toxicity in your soil.