While creeping Charlie is an excellent drought-tolerant lawn alternative, it is also a weed and can be an extremely invasive addition to your yard. As the name would suggest, the plant is a fast, resilient, and adaptable grower and it can quickly take over your lawn and garden beds. The biggest issue is that it suppresses the growth of other plants which can wreck havoc on the work you’ve put in all summer.
If you’ve noticed a few of these deceivingly pretty purple blooms growing in your yard, it’s time to take action. Fortunately, this guide has compiled a list of the best three methods to remove creeping Charlie, tips to keep in mind, and how to prevent the weed from returning to your garden.
How to Identify Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie is a sneaky plant and will find its way into your garden quickly. That being said, a watchful eye and attention to detail will help you catch and stop it sooner. The glossy green leaves with scalloped edges and square stems are the best way to spot the plant. The blue and purple funnel-shaped flowers are the most tell-tale sign of the weed, but they’ll only bloom in clusters in the spring and early summer.
If you don’t think you’ve found creeping Charlie in your yard, consider the other plants to avoid at the garden center that may have invaded your lawn.
Tools You’ll Need
To remove and prevent creeping Charlie in your garden and lawn, there are a few tools you’ll need. Fortunately, many gardeners will already have them in their arsenal. Check out the essentials below.
- Gardening gloves
- Pruning shears
- Hand trowel
- Collection bucket or bag
- Newspapers, cardboard, or a tarp
3 Methods to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie
1. Remove by Hand
Creeping Charlie is a weed with shallow roots, so removing it from your yard by hand isn’t too much of a hassle. To start, pull off any vines and use a sharp pair of pruning shears to trim off any stems and foliage. Be sure to place all trimmings in a collection bag and properly dispose of them to ensure the plant doesn’t grow back.
Once you’ve removed all the vines, you can determine where the plant is growing from and use your pitchfork to loosen the soil around the roots. Then, you can dig the plant out, being diligent to remove all of the roots. Again, properly dispose of the roots.
2. Use an Herbicide
Herbicide is the ideal method if weeding by hand isn’t an option. This will effectively rid your garden or lawn of the weed without killing your grass or plants. While you can DIY herbicide, creeping Charlie requires a specific product so it may be best to purchase one labelled for the plant.
Be sure to mix and apply the herbicide following the directions on the container or bag. Wear the proper PPE and keep pets and children away from the area. Repeat the process until the plant has completely died. Because creeping Charlie tends to smother plants and grass, you may need to re-seed or re-plant the area.
3. Smother the Plant
If there is way too much creeping Charlie for you to weed by hand, you can also try smothering the plant. You can use a tarp, newspaper, or a sheet of cardboard. By laying this on the ground the creeping Charlie will not have access to any sunlight or water. Of course, this will kill any plants or grass in the area as well, so it’s a last resort.
Simply place the material over the plants, covering 6-12 inches around the area to smother any roots underground. Place rocks around the edges to hold it in place and wait about a week. Once all the plants are dead you can rake up the remains and re-seed the lawn.
How to Prevent Creeping Charlie
With the three methods for getting rid of creeping Charlie in mind, there are also a few tips and tricks that will help you along the way. These are great methods for preventing the weed, whether you’ve never had it or if you don’t want it to return.
- After weeding, fill in bare areas with grass seed to ensure the creeping Charlie doesn’t come back
- Since creeping Charlie prefers the shade, prune your trees. This will be beneficial for your lawn and plants as well
- Ensure your lawn is properly mowed and maintained
- Water deeply and infrequently to help your grass form stronger roots
- Use a high-quality fertilizer on your grass
- Add mulch to your plant beds to halt any weed growth
Say Goodbye to Creeping Charlie!
Creeping Charlie can invade your lawn and garden and it is frustrating to deal with. But these three methods are the best way to remove it properly and prevention is key to ensure it’s gone for good. Plus, if you identify it earlier, you’ll be able to kill it before it takes over. Also, using more than one method in conjunction with one another will provide the best results.