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Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

Posted by monica33flowers z4 WI (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 11, 08 at 19:33

I've been searching the web on the best way to kill the creeping charlie that is taking over my lawn.

I've seen lots of people here on Garden Web suggest Weed-B-Gone and it doesn't seem like many people have good results.

The next "organic or homemade recipe" is with the Borax and water treatment. This worked for some and others it killed the grass as well.

Does anyone have any ideas or successes they could share with me?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

HA~ Good luck with that! I hope someone responds with a sure-fire way to get rid of it, I have more of that than I do grass in my lawn! Ive been pulling it out for 20 yrs but can never get all the roots. Lets hope somebody knows the answer!


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

A couple of years ago my neighbors sprayed Creeping Charlie with Weed-b-Gone in late spring, then went on vacation. It had been hot and sunny for a couple of days and it worked. Unfortunately, it rained for 3 straight days and they came home to a slimy, smelly mess.

To back up their success, I read somewhere that spring is the best time to spray because the plant is actively growing and will take up the weed killer easily. They key thing is to keep on top of it. As soon as you see more, spray it right away. While it will be difficult to get rid of, because the flowers produce seed, it's possible.


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

  • Posted by kimcoco Zone 5, Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 14, 08 at 5:37

I was just at my local nursery today and picked up some flyers on various gardening topics, this being one of them (for my neighbor).

My neighbor's lawn is almost fully covered with it. She just recently treated it with some commercial product, not sure what she used, but on my side of the fence are my newly planted clematis vines, and she's spraying just on the opposite side. I'll cry if she kills my plants, but her creeping charlie problem still presides, hence the reason for the flyer.

Before discussing the flyer, here's what I've done to resolve my creeping charlie problem:

When we purchased our home back in 2004 my whole yard was covered with weeds, creeping charlie one of them though not as bad as my neighbors yard now.

We tried the annual application of weedkiller treatments (weed & feed commercial products), but that never seemed to help, and I'm impatient to begin with so I finally started pulling them by hand (with a weeding tool).

In my opinion and based on much research along with my own experience, most commercial weed treatments (chemicals) end up killing or weakening your grass in the long run, making it more susceptible to weeds.

As an example, we put in a planting bed the first year, and pulled out the grass by hand -- no problem, the grass was really weak. Probably a combination of the chemicals we were applying in addition to lack of nutrients in the soil as the previous owners left this place in a shambles.

We switched to organic products, stopped using the commercial chemical products on our lawn, and later decided to extend the existing planting bed - by that time, the grass was so strong we had to rent a tiller.

Basically we use organic chicken poop and apply it with a garden spreader in 60 day intervals starting early spring. I read about it on a lawn care website/forum, but I don't remember the site.

The product we use most is Cockadoodle Doo, but there's also Chickity Doo Doo. I found the Chickity Doo Doo to have more of an odor to it than the Cockadoodle Doo, but not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination and I'd recommend either of these (Chickity Doo Doo was less expensive). Cockadoodle Doo has a website where you can search for local vendors in your area, and when I do find it I jump on it because most places sell out fast.

Both brands have the fertilizer and the weed control products, and you alternate these throughout the season - weed control early spring, 60 days later fertilizer, 60 days later weed control again, and then fertilize again in the fall.

Essentially the way the product works is that it feeds your lawn making it strong and healthy, enabling the grass to fight and erradicate weeds on its own. It's safe for pets, plants, etc. My lawn is beautiful now, lush, green and we always get compliments - it took a couple of years, but looks nice and plush now and rarely do I find weeds.

Google Cockadoodle Doo and review the FAQ page for more info.

I'm not claiming that this product erradicated creeping charlie on its own, but the combination of my persistence in weeding by hand an using the organic products has been successful in my own yard.

Thankfully my neighbors lawn is on the OTHER side of my driveway where I have only a narrow strip of planting space that I've mulched over, so hopefully my C.C. days are over.

Yes, I've told my neighbor about Cockadoodle Doo, but no, she hasn't gone out to get any. Perhaps this may be a future "gift" from the neighbors. LOL.

As for the flyer:

It states that the plant (Creeping Charlie aka Ground Ivy, Glechoma Hederacea - an aggressive perennial weed of the mint family introduced by Europeans as a groundcover) often becomes dominant in lawns that are partially shaded, cut too short or compacted (i.e. the grass grows weaker).

It suggests to mow high, 2.5-3" to help grass compete better. Taller grasses shade out weeds and has deeper roots than shorter grass.

Have your lawn core aerated once a year to reduce compaction, increase drainage and invigorate old turf. Re- seed thin areas with fresh grass seed.

Most common active ingredients in weedkillers have little effect on creeping charlie....'Dicamba' is known to control it with repeat applications, but should not be used more than once a year or under trees and shrubs to avoid risk of injury to those plants. Another active ingredient listed to control is 'triclopyr', but again with repeat applications.

Use weedkiller during active growth stage, when plant is flowering in May-June, and in fall after a few frosts, usually Oct.

Don't mow just before or for a few days after using weedkiller. Don't apply in summer b/c the lawn can be killed by weedkiller.

Liquid weedkillers are often more effective b/c they cover more leaf surface.

Suggested products:

1. Ortho Weed-b-Gon Chickweek, Clover and Oxalis Killer; active ingredient triclopyr.

2. Fertilome Weedout, active ingredient dicamba.

Good luck!


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

We've tried all the weed killers (weed-b-gone, oxalis, etc) and nothing has worked. The borax recipe was just in a gardening magazine and said you should apply it in fall or when they are blooming. So I have the borax and will be trying it very soon. In the places we have it in our lawn there is hardly any grass left, so if it does work we will be reseeding. Our neighbor's pay a company to spray 4 times a year and it does get rid of it. However it always comes back in spring, so really it's just keeping it at bay. If borax doesn't work I'll be calling them next year.


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

A couple of years ago Creeping Charlie began showing up in my back yard. I attempted to fight it at first but then I embraced it. It is drought tolerant, doesn't require mowing as often and it smells awesome when I do mow. I love the little purple flowers in spring.

I live by a pond that runs into a creek that runs into Green Lake. In times past I used lawn treatments but now I just can't see how it is worth it. It took me changing how I see what a lawn should be. Now, I much prefer my lawn today.


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

Smart move, and Green Lake thanks you for not dumping chemicals on the earth that will run off into the pond, creek, and lake. The fish are healthy and happy.


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

I will second the virtues of strong growing grass. It is indeed a tool in the arsenal against weeds. But of course, not a cure all for most people.

I can tell you from experience that a bluegrass lawn in mostly sun and cut only 3-5 times a year, will choke out plantain, clover and dandelions, but not creeping charlie.

I did find that Fertilome Weed Free Zone to be a better product for creeping charlie and clover, but only when used in the spring, and earlier than when normal weed killers work well. It worked quicker too. I tried it again later in the season when the temps were warmer. Then, it worked no better than other lawn weed killers. The product is quite expensive, but at the right time of year, I think it is worth it.

We have had a few conversations on the MN forum in the past. Look here:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/mngard/msg061113493175.html
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/mngard/msg0522430317699.html


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

Hi. I was so glad to hear I wasn't the only one who had finally embraced creeping charlie. My entire yard, over an acre, is almost entirely creeping charlie. It stays green all summer, doesn't need much mowing, and I think it is actually better than grass. Maybe in years to come, it will become an "in thing", like a thyme yard or something:). And the idea of using harmful chemicals to create a mono-culture to kill all the other natural variety that should be in a yard, seems a bit overkill:)

My yard is a certified wild-life refuge, so I've never sprayed and I have a wealth of birds, more variety than you can imagine, from woodpeckers to cardinals, to doves, to bluejays and some lovely small blue bird that showed up yesterday. So maybe just give some thought to the option of giving up the fight:)


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie is considered an invasive species, is not a native plant We are already losing native plants to invasive species.

Creeping Charlie is creating its own monoculture on your property, and will spread beyond your borders into neighboring properties, choking out native species as it marches on.

Here is a link that might be useful: Invasive species.


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

  • Posted by kec01 5 Chicago IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 21, 08 at 8:14

I have not embraced creeping charlie nor have I used anything on it. I have, however, eradicated it from our yard.

For many evenings one summer (3 summers ago), I sat out on the lawn and slowly and steadily picked the runners and the roots out. It required a heck of alot of patience on my part and it was a horribly tedious process. However, I did it.

I found a few bits of it the following year, but got them out. I've kept a close watch on it since and....so far....so good. We don't have a huge lawn, though.


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

I have used 20 mule team borax with great results. You mix 7 Tablespoons into 1 gal. of warm water. For small areas I use a sprinkling can, or one of those sprayers you carry around.
The grass may turn yellow around the application but it will return to green. You may need to do more than one application. 2o mule team borax can be found at the grocery store in the laundry aisle. Good Luck!


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RE: Help Needed with Creeping Charlie

Kill Charlie - Part 1

I live on the West Coast of Michigan and have been fighting Creeping Charlie for almost 15 years. I've fed it all of the lawn chemicals (Weed-B-Gone, Bayer, Trimec Plus, etc.) guaranteed to kill Charlie by the lawn care "experts" at every garden center in Grand Rapids. It just multiplied, and multiplied, and multiplied.

Then one day I stumbled upon a suggestion on the Internet to use TRIMEC CLASSIC. Of course nobody stocks it in this city of over a million. Even the BPI/Gordon (maker of Trimec) golf course specialist tried to sell me something else (another "specialist).

Finally ordered it thru the internet and mixed up a batch: 2oz. Trimec/1 gal. water. It took 5 gallons of mix to treat my yard with a pump-up hand sprayer. That was the spring of 2010 when Charlie first bloomed (small purple flowers).

The fall (Sept) treatment only took 3 gallons to cover all the Charlie.

Spring of 2011: 1/2 gallon to treat just the edges where the neighbor's Charlie tried to spread. Neighbors on both sides are almost solid Charlie.

Fall of 2011: There's hardly enough Charlie left to bother mixing up a batch. But I do want to control the spread from other yards.

If you REALLY are serious about killing Creeping Charlie (ground ivy, etc), use Trimec Classic. If you just want to cry and complain, fertilize it with Weed-B-Gon and its cousins or play with Borox.


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