How Can I Kill & Get Rid of Ground Ivy?

Updated November 21, 2016

Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea L.), also known as creeping Charlie, is an invasive broadleaved perennial that takes hold in lawns with a vengeance. This aromatic, low-growing weed spreads by seeds and vertical runners that take root at every leaf node, making it particularly difficult to eradicate. Ground ivy prefers moist and shaded areas, so rehabilitating susceptible areas of the lawn is part of the strategy for controlling the stubborn weed. Ridding your landscape of ground ivy requires persistence, good timing and a combination of cultural practices and chemical applications.

Raise the cutting height of your lawnmower blades to maintain a healthy lawn. Robust turf is able to outcompete ground ivy and other weeds. Cut fescue grass, for example, no shorter than 3 inches. Keep your mower blades sharp so they cut the grass blades cleanly to avoid weakening the turf.

Dig drainage areas to create avenues for rain and irrigation water to drain from the lawn or landscape. Reduce the amount of moisture in the lawn where ground ivy prefers to grow.

Thin overhanging branches and limbs from trees that heavily shade the lawn or landscape. Use pruners to thin or remove limbs and branches to allow more sunlight to reach the ground. Encourage sunlight to remove excess moisture from the lawn and eliminate the conditions in which ground ivy thrives.

Pull ground ivy runners and roots by hand. Put on gloves and pull the stubborn weeds by hand for control. Choose a time when the ground is damp and remove as much of the runner and root system as possible. Hand-pulling is the best option for flower and vegetable gardens where a broad-spectrum herbicide would harm your desired broadleaved plants.

Apply a broadleaved herbicide that contains 2.4-d, MCPP and dicamba to the ground ivy. Use a ready-mix herbicide in a spray bottle, or use an herbicide spray applicator if the ground ivy infestation is widespread. Follow the manufacturer's directions. Spray the leaves, stems and runners of the weed thoroughly. For best results, apply the herbicide in the spring when the ivy is blooming and in late summer or fall. Eradicating the weed may take several applications of herbicide.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawnmower
  • Shovel
  • Pruners
  • Gloves
  • Ready-mix 2,4-D, mecoprop (MCPP) and dicamba herbicide
  • Spray applicator
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About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.