Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

Has anyone had success getting rid of ground ivy (aka creeping charlie) in their lawn? Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Grampy from Needham, MA

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Does borax kill grass if spread on grass?

By Jim

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Using Borax is very chancy. If you use too much you could ruin your whole yard and it will be a very long time before you get any grass to grow. This is the only thing that works and even then you have to keep checking and reapply. I took this excerpt from "The Gardenweb" and the guy is right in what he says. I have so much yard, I couldn't keep it up myself because it was covered with it. So I had a service come in and now maybe I can get it under control. It is a nasty weed.

I have been reading your frustrations. I want to reiterrate my post from two years ago, and remind you how important timing is for attacking this weed. A couple of applications in late September/early October is the key to beginning to control this monster. Plus, if you use Weed B Gon max over whole yard at this time, you will have an amazingly clean yard the next spring.

Creeping Charlie or ground ivy is a particularly problematic weed because of the fact that it is resistant to a number of herbicides, but there are some very effective products available. (One of the things I am assuming here is that you want to control the creeping Charlie in your turf areas.) When searching for a herbicide look for products containing triclopyr. This includes Weed B Gon Purple, Weed B Gon Chickweed, and Weed B Gone Max. If you have other broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, Weed B Gon Max would be a great choice because it contains 4 active ingredients 2,4-D, which is very effective on dandelion, MCPP, dicamba, and triclopyr. The best time to apply your perennial weed control products for species such as creeping Charlie is in fall (October 1-15). At this time weeds will be going dormant and storing nutrients, and if you spray at this time the weed will actually store the herbicide, giving you the best control response. The second best time is in the spring right at and after creeping Charlie flowers.

I had the service come in the fall and I see very little of it this spring.

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I have creeping charlie that has consumed the back yard! Can I get rid of it without chemicals?

By Missy


Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

Unfortunately, creeping charlie is a fast spreader. Mowing helps it along as runners are cut up and thrown out to grasp elsewhere.

We are plagued with this weed and it's taking over the grass. Buying a weed killer is about the only solution I know that will kill it back.

I've pulled the runners filling at least seven black bags full so it can dry out and be burned. Do not just toss this weed after pulling into the garden area or meadow as it will return.

By Lorelei

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

Try using vinegar. It will kill anything that you spray it on, so be careful around any plants that you want to keep!
Another suggestion: post it for "free" on; on Craig's list in your area; and on Yahoo local garden trading groups.

However, the only creeping charlie that I have ever seen has always been in hanging baskets. (09/18/2010)

By MzScarlett

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What is the best way to get rid of creeping charlie?

Hardiness Zone: 4b

By Sue from Andover, MN


Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

I found the only thing that works (and the extension service says the same thing) is something with Triclopyr or 24D in it. I used a product called Pasture Pro. My son bought it at a farm supply store. Ortho Weed B Gon will work, also. I sprayed last fall twice and still have to do it this spring again. It says to wait till it gets done flowering. It got rid of 2/3 of it last fall and am hoping a couple more applications will control it. Here is a good site to go to where they discuss it. I would, however, stay away from the borax if someone suggests that. You will see why after reading on this site.

By Laniegirl

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

I think I have found something to get rid of creeping charlie. Check out my site. (05/27/2010)

By 1Scotty5

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I see my creeping charlie has survived the winter and is thriving nicely. I have pulled it over and over. It seems to make it grow better. I will not use chemicals, but have read that iodized salt will kill it. If so do you put it on straight or mix it with water? What is the mixing ratio?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By Michelle from Burlington, IA


Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

I was told by a nurserywoman that a 1/2 cup of borax to 5 gallons of water will kill creeping charlie. Use a watering can to water the grass with this mixture. Give the borax time to dissolve before using. Good luck. (03/13/2010)

By kffrmw88

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

Borax does kill creeping charlie, but it has to be applied in exactly the right amount and not too often or you will have trouble. Here is just one link I found on it. (03/19/2010)

By Laniegirl

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

I really hate killing plants, can't you ask around to see if someone would dig them up for the taking? They make great hanging plants. We need to learn to share instead of killing off good plants. I take cuttings and start plants to give away. Great to swap also.
Just my opinion.

Great Granny Vi (03/19/2010)

By Great Granny Vi

RE: Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

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I don't know how to get rid of creeping charlie without killing what's left of my grass. This stuff is horrible. Please help me save my lawn.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Trisha from Ontario Canada



This is never the popular answer, but my personal recommendation is to try to control Creeping Charlie by pulling it out. You probably won't completely eliminate it this way, but you can certainly keep it under control, and your yard and garden will be healthier for it. Pulling can be done by hand or you can use a spading fork or dethatching rake. The best time to jump start this project is late summer or early fall. Pre-moistening the soil will make it easy to lift the plants out.

Many well-intentioned folks (including some nurseries) may suggest using Borax to get rid of Creeping Charlie. I don't recommend it, and here's why. The University of Minnesota and Iowa State University have both conducted studies on using boron, a chemical contained in household Borax, to control Creeping Charlie. As a micronutrient, boron helps plants transport sugars. Studies have found that giving small amounts of excess boron to Creeping Charlie has a toxic effect on the plants. The problem is that applying it is a total crapshoot. No one recipe will work on every lawn due to the varying levels of boron found in individual sites. Without a soil test, it's extremely easy to apply too much. An over-application will burn your lawn and will injure (and/or kill) surrounding plants. Even if it works, it doesn't guarantee that Creeping Charlie will never show up again. Your best defense against Creeping Charlie and other weeds is to maintain a healthy lawn through good cultural practices.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. <a href="post_request.ldml?email_subject=Gardening">Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Controlling Creeping Charlie

Borax has been touted as an organic control for Creeping Charlie, but research at both the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University has shown that borax is typically not very effective and can injure turf and other plants as well, causing stunting and yellowing. Borax contains boron, which is necessary in very small amounts for plant growth, but is toxic in larger doses. Creeping Charlie happens to be extremely sensitive to boron, so supplying more boron should be detrimental to it more than other plants, such as grass, that aren't as sensitive. However, since boron availability in the soil depends on soil type and pH, it's difficult to determine just how much boron should be applied in any one place. And there's little room for error: too little results in poor control and too much injures surrounding plants. Also, boron doesn't break down or dissipate in the soil, so repeated or excessive applications can result in bare areas where no vegetation can grow.

The best means of controlling Creeping Charlie is with a postemergence broadleaf herbicide. As with any pesticide, always read and follow label directions. The best choice for homeowners is a weed killer containing salt of dicamba (3, 6-dichloro-o-anisic acid). This active ingredient is often found in combination products, such as Trimec or Three Way Lawn Weed Killer, so check the ingredient list on the label to see if it contains dicamba. The other chemicals in these combinations are generally 2,4-D (2, 4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and mecoprop or MCPP (2-(2-methly-4-chlorophenoxy) propionic acid). Products containing triclopyr or 2,4-DP may also provide decent control. These products are good for applications on lawns, but can't be used in vegetable or flower gardens as many broadleaf plants are very susceptible to these herbicides and even minimal amounts of the herbicide will cause severe injury. In those areas it's best to hand pull or hoe the invaders. If there's more Creeping Charlie than grass in your lawn, it may be easier to start over by killing all the vegetation and reseeding the lawn. (09/15/2006)

By markz

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

True happening: I threw borax soap full strength on the Charlie, because it was going to rain. Okay, I had a huge brown dead spot, however, I raked up the dead grass and Charlie and now it's the best spot I have in the yard. (06/06/2008)

By Mikey

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

I've had two major weeds: wild violets and creeping charlie. I had it so bad that that's all my yard was in the back. I still deal a little with it today a few plants, but really nothing especially with what I started out with. I started using Weed Be Gone about 4 years ago and would put two applications on a year, spring and fall. It killed a lot, but what I did this year helped so much. I applied Weed Be Gone at first, then 4 days later I applied Bayer weed killer, not lawn killer. Then after that I waited 1 1/2 weeks and applied Bayer again. It worked well very well. You will lose a little green to your lawn, but it didn't kill any. I just applied fertilizer 2 weeks later and it greened right up. (10/29/2008)

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In This Article
Closeup of blue flowering creeping charlie.
Getting Rid of Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)
Home and Garden Gardening WeedsNovember 1, 2010
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