Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea), also referred to as creeping Jenny, ground ivy or gill-over-the-ground, is a widespread perennial weed, which can be identified by its creeping, rooting habit and scalloped leaves. Creeping Charlie can be a persistent problem in lawns, flowerbeds and gardens. The most thorough treatment regimen for an infestation typically includes addressing any cultural factors that favour creeping Charlie growth, combined with the proper application of suitable herbicides.
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Creeping Charlie cannot be controlled by preemergent herbicides, only postemergent broadleaved herbicides. For homeowners, the University of Wisconsin Extension considers triclopyr to be the best weedkiller option for creeping Charlie. Other herbicides also offer control and often are found in combinations. These active ingredients include 2,4-D, dicamba, MCPP and fluroxypyr. Herbicides only are suitable for treating a creeping Charlie infestation in lawns. Herbicides will harm vegetables or flowers if applied in gardens.
Herbicide Application Considerations
Herbicides will be most effective against creeping Charlie if they are properly applied. Follow manufacturer's instructions when applying a herbicide. The best time of year to treat creeping Charlie is in spring when the weed is blooming or in autumn when the plant is actively moving nutrients from its leaves to its roots. Repeat applications often are warranted. Only apply herbicides when there is little or no wind, no rain is expected for 24 hours and temperatures are between about 15.6 degrees C and 26.7 degrees Celsius. Herbicide applications will prove most effective if they are used in combination with improvements in turf culture.
Cultural Control Options
Creeping Charlie prefers moist, shaded areas where it becomes established before spreading out to sunnier, drier sites. Healthy, dense turf will be best able to out-compete creeping Charlie for moisture and nutrients. Mow turf regularly at the correct height and fertilise properly. If the area is shaded by vegetation, selectively prune out branches to increase the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground. Overseed existing, thin turf with a shade-tolerant species or cultivar.
Herbicide for Complete Rejuvenation
If a lawn is heavily infested with creeping Charlie and other undesirable vegetation, it may warrant a complete rejuvenation. Either till the entire area or strip the vegetation off using a sod lifter or cutter. Follow this with a treatment of non-selective herbicide that contains glyphosate. After waiting to allow the herbicide to break down, reseed the area with a shade-tolerant grass seed or plant a suitable groundcover.
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- University of Wisconsin Extension; Creeping Charlie; Susan Mahr, et al.; December 2008
- University of Minnesota Extension; Creeping Charlie; Deborah L. Brown; March 2000
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Weed Control- Dandelion, Ground Ivy and Wild Violets
- Purdue University Department of Agronomy; Control of Broadleaf Weeds in Home Lawns; Zac Reicher, et al.; Sept. 2006