Creeping Charlie is among the boldest weeds that will show up on your lawn and take over bit by bit. It is among the hardest to exterminate and easily chokes other plants in the space that it takes over by forming a carpet. In other words, the weed colonizes the area to remain standing all by itself. Creeping Charlie is not entirely appealing and thus more reason to remove it from the property.
The following are ideas of reclaiming your yard from the stubborn weed and keeping it out for good. Try them out.
Identifying Creeping Charlie
The broad-leafed weed prefers moist and relatively shaded areas. But that does not mean it will not venture into full sun areas. It will take every opportunity it can. Creeping Charlie can quickly spread and suffocate other plants within a short period.
Its broad leaves are kidney-shaped and with scalloped edges. They are shiny and bright green, growing opposite each other. At the point where the leaves attach, the runners may have roots connecting it to the ground.
The ground ivy, as some quarters refer to it, produces a mint odor on cutting or crushing its stem. It has square-shaped stems and produces funnel-shaped purple flowers in spring.
Controlling Creeping Charlie
Among the reasons creeping Charlie is so stubborn include the manner in which it spreads – by rooting and seeding. And unless you are bagging when mowing, you can spread it unknowingly. The creeping Charlie can also spread through rhizomes, keep this in mind when digging, or pulling the weed out – it is a weed with nine lives. Leaving a small part of the weed will produce new plants.
Pulling it out
It is not hard to spot creeping Charlie, and if you do, hand pulling is a good option. Hold the invading weed by the stem and pull it out, putting it aside. It shouldn’t be too complicated. If the roots are a little stubborn and don’t want to move an inch, then you can use a rooting tool, usually in the shape of a screwdriver.
Carefully inspect the area that you pull out the weed and make sure no roots remain. Creeping Charlie can revive from this small piece.
However, that is only applicable when the weed has not yet spread so much across the yard.
The weed is a common allergen, and you will need to wear gloves before handling it. You will also avoid blisters and other injuries to your hands.
The problem with this method is that you will need to keep at it until you wear the weed down. Yes, its hard work, but it will produce results, with time. Be patient, and most of all, observant.
If you opt to go the hand pulling way, don’t make the costly mistake of using the weed as mulch or compost material unless you want to see how effective the weed will be in rising from the ashes.
Other Natural Methods of Removing Creeping Charlie
Using chemicals may not be applicable especially where there are food crops. Also, some of us don’t like the idea of using chemicals and prefer doing it the natural and eco-friendly way.
You can smother the invasive vine by covering it with newspapers, depriving the weed of some essentials like the sun, and air. The method is applicable where the weed has taken over such spaces as flowerbeds.
Another useful method is utterly blocking sunlight from reaching the weed. Like other plants, creeping Charlie requires sunlight to thrive.
Possible ways to cover sunshine include using cardboard, an old blanket or even tarp. However, remember other plants deprived of sunlight will also die, along with creeping Charlie. And depending on various factors such as the richness of the soil, the weed may take longer. Give it time.
An already spread creeping Charlie is hard to control, primarily by the hand pulling method. It is at such a time that you call in the big dogs, the herbicides. Make sure that your choice of herbicide contains the primary ingredients that effectively bring it down – Dicamba, Mecoprop and 2, 4-D.
Fall is the best time to use the herbicides, but you can also use it in spring when the creeping weed is flowering. Space the application depending on the infestation, such as after every two weeks. Follow the label instructions to the letter and don’t assume anything.
You may come across suggestions of using borax against weed. However, this method is not wholly useful, and you may end up with more problems on your hands. You see, mixing the chemical requires scientific accuracy, or you end up making the soil boron toxic – not a good thing!
If the creeping Charlie has spread all over, and using selective herbicides is not feasible, then you can use an herbicide that kills everything, and you can start all over. A good suggestion of such a chemical is roundup or anything that contains glyphosate. However, you will need to follow the directions and heed to the recommended waiting period before you can plant the lawn of garden afresh.
Preventing the Return of Creeping Charlie
No weed loves comebacks like the creeping Charlie. The moment you think that you have taken care of the problem once and for all, the creeping Charlie, true its name creeps back.
But you can prevent a comeback by addressing the growing conditions of the lawn. The ideal conditions for creeping Charlie include wet soils and shaded areas. A poor yard condition supports the development of the weed.
Ideally, keep the ground covered and healthy, not to give any chance to the weed. Mulch the vulnerable spaces like flowerbeds and keep a close watch for any sprouting greens.
The way you dispose of creeping Charlie matters a lot. As mentioned above, avoid using it as mulch or compost material. Ideally, burn it to ashes. Make sure you have all the necessary permissions to light a fire in your compound to avoid problems with authorities.