Creeping Charlie – AKA creeping Jenny, gill-on-the-ground, ground ivy – is a European weed that was transported to North America by early settlers. They thought it would provide good ground cover for shady areas.
It turned out to be too good. It began smothering other plants and grasses, taking over where it wasn’t wanted. Now it’s classified as a weed and getting rid of it can be difficult.
Keep reading and we’ll walk you through how to kill creeping charlie without killing your lawn in the process.
What Are Weed Killers for Creeping Charlie?
The creeping charlie plant is a lawn weed that’s a member of the mint family. It thrives in moist shady areas. Any mulch you put on the lawn retains moisture, providing a friendly environment for it in addition to any areas of shade.
You can get rid of creeping charlie by hand-pulling it but it’s time-consuming and surprisingly ineffective. Part of the problem with hand-pulling is that it can spread nodes to create new plants in place of the ones you’re pulling up.
You’re basically reseeding new plants while pulling up the old ones, not a very effective method of weed control. The creeping stems aren’t easy to completely pull up either and if you leave any part of the roots in the ground, it will re-sprout in no time.
For information on the effectiveness of weed killers on Creeping Charlie, check out the video below.
How Do Weed Killers for Creeping Charlie Work?
A post-emergent herbicide is a weed killer that works only after a plant or weed has sprouted. It doesn’t do anything to stop more plants from sprouting after you spray it.
For this reason, most post-emergent herbicides recommend spraying a second time, 5-6 weeks after the first time you spray. Follow the spraying instructions on the label or you won’t see the kind of results you want
Did You Know
Many herbicides are post-emergent, meaning they must be applied after you’ve already spied a weed on your lawn. This means you’ll have to reapply five to six weeks later.
Read More: Best Weed Killer Sprays & Sprayers
How Do You Find The Best Weed Killer for Creeping Charlie?
Look for weed killers that contain active ingredients such as Triclopyr, Dicamba, and Mecoprop (also known as MCPP). The scientific names are 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid, and dimethylamine salt.
Weed killers that contain these active ingredients will work very well for killing creeping charlie weeds and stop them from spreading.
Are Weed Killers for Creeping Charlie Effective?
Yes. With a few exceptions, they don’t work immediately. It will take several weeks for you to see results so don’t get discouraged.
Borax contains boron, which is necessary – in small amounts – for healthy grass, but in large amounts as a weed killer, it can cause damage. Fertilizing with borax adds boron to the boron that is naturally in the ground.
Since you don’t know how much boron is already in the ground without paying for testing, you have no way of knowing when you’ll be going over the line. This runs the risk of burning your turf.
How To Use a Weed Killer for Creeping Charlie
Applying weed killers to eliminate creeping charlie should be done in the early summer when the temperature is in the mid-60s to mid-80s and when the weather forecast doesn’t predict any rain for at least 24 hours after you spray.
Don’t spray when it’s windy and don’t do any mowing for several days before and after you spray. Mowing kills or cuts of the parts of the plants that absorb and transport the herbicide.
Are Weed Killers for Creeping Charlie Safe Around My Pets And Children?
In a word, yes, as long as some commonsense precautions are taken.
- Keep children and pets out of the application area during treatment.
- Remove all toys and chewables from the application area during treatment.
- Stay away from the application area until the herbicide has dried.
As long as you follow those three simple steps, there shouldn’t be any problems.
Read More: Best Weed Killers For Your Grass
The Top 3 Weed Killers for Creeping Charlie
1. Ortho GroundClear Weed and Grass Killer
Eliminate weeds from your yard and garden fast with this liquid concentrate from Ortho. It contains the most potent active ingredients available, and it won’t harm your yard, ornamental plants, or trees.
It starts to kill weeds right away while moving toward the roots so that they will be fully eliminated within one to two weeks.
The Ortho GroundClear Weed and Grass Killer is easy to apply. Simply mix the concentrate with water to treat areas such as:
When mixed as directed, it makes enough to cover up to 2,240 square feet. In addition, rainfall or watering will not affect the potency after 15 minutes of applying.
Pros and Cons of Ortho GroundClear Weed and Grass Killer
2. Southern Ag Amine 2,4-D Weed Killer
The active ingredient, 2,4-D is right in the name. It’s strong, powerful, and so concentrated that just one to four pints can be mixed with water to control broadleaf weeds on an entire acre of lawns, golf courses, pastures, rangelands, and parks.
The recommended mixing rate is just 2-3 tablespoons in 3-5 gallons of water, making it easy to mix. At that rate, it will cover 1,000 square feet. It will kill most broadleaf plants, including poison ivy and dandelions without hurting lawn grasses such as St. Augustine grass.
Give it time to work though. It may take two to three weeks to see definitive results.
Pros and Cons of Southern Ag Amine 2,4-D Weed Killer
3. TRIMEC Classic
Trimec was first introduced over 40 years ago as the first post-emergent herbicide specifically formulated for broadleaf weed control in turfgrass. Trimec was considered the industry standard for decades. It kills dandelions, creeping charlie, cloves, and many others.
The active ingredients are 2,4-D, dimethylamine salt 25.93%, Dicamba, dimethylamine salt 2.76%, MCPP-P, DMA salt 6.93%. Even in our current environmentally sensitive era, Trimec, now renamed Trimec Classic, still gets the job done.
It works in a wide range of temperatures to deliver months of weed-free lawns, golf courses, pastures, rangelands, and parks. It doesn’t have as much odor as it did before but it’s still noticeable.