When I was a newlywed, a friend and I actually shared Creeping Charlie cuttings. We would plant them in pots to adorn our porches. We thought we were such prolific gardeners because our plants grew, and grew … well, like weeds!
Dear Mary: I have lived in my house for over 30 years and experienced many maintenance issues that could be solved. But this is a first—a horrible weed infestation called Creeping Charlie has taken over the lawn.
I have tried weed killers, but nothing I’ve tried has worked to kill the entire weed down to the roots. I look at my neighbor’s lawn and see it growing there, too. Do you have a recommendation that would take care of Creeping Charlie without killing the grass? Thanks, Beth
Dear Beth: As botanicals go, Creeping Charlie is a remarkable specimen because it’s easy to grow and produces little purple flowers. But any plant is considered a weed if it grows where it is neither wanted nor enjoyed. In your lawn, for example.
Mention Creeping Charlie to anyone who works tirelessly for a well-manicured lawn, and you’ll likely get a loud, agonizing groan. It’s that bad. I get it. But hang on. I have good news for you and hope this is just the good information you need.
Creeping Charlie is a resilient and adaptive vine in the broadleaf weed category. Surprisingly, it is not affected in the least by most broadleaf herbicides, which, as you know, is frustrating! That Charlie, he’s one tough dude.
There’s nothing worse than spending hard-earned money on a product recommended by garden store staff that doesn’t do the job—leaving Charlie’s underground vining rhizomes intact and the invasion alive and well.
Hand-pulling Creeping Charlie, making sure to get every smidgen of that rhizome (root) is one way to stop a very early invasion. And there is a lot of room for error there, which means using handpulling Creeping Charlie as a punishment for misbehaved kids might not be such a great idea.
A serious problem, such as you are experiencing, requires an effective herbicide. Unfortunately, I have no homemade recipes to offer. It’s time to pull out the big guns.
The only herbicide I can confidently recommend to win this war is T-Zone Turf Herbicide (1.2 ounces per gallon of water). You can find this on Amazon, perhaps at your local home improvement center, or local garden store. T-Zone Turf Herbicide is a broadleaf herbicide, which means that when applied carefully and according to label instructions and warnings, it will kill Mr. Creepy, while leaving your lawn intact.
You will need a good sprayer that matches the size of your project. A backpack-type power sprayer could likely be a good investment for you and your neighbor to share. Your spraying technique will be important for getting good results.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep children and pets away from your lawn for some time after spraying.
The chemicals in T-Zone Turf Herbicide can cause harm when they touch your skin or eyes, so it’s essential to wear protective gear like eye protection, gloves, and full-coverage clothing. Read the warnings on the product to make sure you know what you are doing.
Now, before you conclude this is all too complicated, too scary, and just downright too much work, let me introduce you to Ryan Knorr, who has an excellent Creeping Charlie how-to video on his YouTube channel. Here is a link.
I wish you well with waging war against your creepy lawn invader. And be sure to let us know how this works for you.
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