Creeping Charlie, an extremely quick growing and pesky weed that can grow in both shady and brightly lit areas, can completely overtake your backyard if not handled properly. As any weed, creeping charlie can be quite difficult to get rid of, but a few efficient tricks can get these pesky little plants off your lawn for good.
How to Identify and Locate a Creeping Charlie
The first thing you need in order to properly get rid of these pesky plants, is to properly identify a creeping charlie. Luckily for you, these weeds are quite easy to spot. The first distinct feature is the Creeping Charlie’s kidney shaped leaves with rough edges that are vibrantly green in color and very good at reflecting sunlight, giving it a glossy look. Another noticeable feature is the Creeping Charlie’s beautiful violet-purple flowers that give off an emanating minty aroma when crushed. The last and most bothersome feature is the fact that each in has a node that allows for new growths and forms roots upon contact with soil; this makes it exceptionally frustrating when attempting to remove these plants, because if a node is accidentally left behind, a new crop of creeping charlies could pop up. Once you are certain you have a creeping charlie infestation in your yard, you can get down to business in properly getting rid of them,
How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie Plants
The first step is properly maintaining your yard. Like any other weed, creeping charlies thrive in an unmaintained and unhealthy lawn. Improper mowing and fertilizer practices could damage your lawn, setting up the perfect conditions for these unwanted plants to flourish. Making sure your yard or lawn has thick, green grass is a good sign that your lawn is going in the right direction. The excess of “healthy” grass will overcrowd pesky creeping charlies and prevent them from spreading. Also, if you’re worried about creeping charlies growing in shady areas where it may be difficult to grow normal grass, consider planting plants that thrive in lower light environments.
Once you ensure your lawn is healthy and you are employing good lawn caring practices, you can do the following to eventually get rid of creeping charlie plants:
Pull the weeds out by hand: because of the nodes that can lead to new growths, it is better to use your hands to pull out the weeds rather than using a rake or other tool. By taking them out with your hands, you can be better sure that there are no nodes remaining in the soil. Otherwise, you may have to face the frustration of new growths days later in the same place.
Use Broadleaf herbicide: this specifically targets a wide range of weeds but is non-harmful towards regular plants. Normally this should be applied in late fall and reapplied in the spring. When the plant is flowering is the time when it is most vulnerable to herbicide treatments, so waiting until this point in the spring could be useful if you’re having difficulties properly eradicated the growths.
Bring in some lighting: though creeping charlie can grow in both shady and well lit areas, they preferably grow in dark, moist places around your yard. If there is something obstructing sunlight on your yard, such as a tree or overhead awning, removing these things may help prevent future growths from occurring.
Proper soil drainage: wetter soil tends to attract creeping charlies more. Introducing natural water drainage can help prevent any one patch of soil becoming too susceptible to being invaded.
Weeds can potentially destroy a beautiful garden, restricting nutrients from the plants that need them. And though creeping charlies can be initially difficult to get rid of, ensuring your lawn is maintained and using some basic gardening principles, you can be sure to say goodbye to this pest.