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Getting Rid of Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)

Ground ivy is notoriously invasive in many areas. Also known as creeping charlie, this ground cover, a member of the mint family, can quickly take over your flower garden and infiltrate the lawn. This is a guide about getting rid of ground ivy.


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0 found this helpful
September 20, 2011

There are two solutions that I've found: either dig it up by hand or poison everything in the area infested, and then plant new grass. I forget what the weed killer I used was, but it kills everything, and then loses toxicity after 2 or 3 weeks. I'd be interested in hearing other ideas because my lawn is being over run again.

By Jack from Boston, MA

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July 21, 20120 found this helpful
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In the cracks of the sidewalks and driveways, I have used epsom salt and jammed as much as I could in the cracks, they are dead the next day. Too much on plants/lawn can kill it.

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September 20, 2011

If there is a plant you really want to get rid of, I always recommend Round-Up. It is not organic but gets the job done and it kills all the roots. Spray it directly on the plant(s) you are wanting to get rid of, it will kill what it lands on so don't use on a windy day. Don't spray right before a rainstorm, though it still works I always feel like I'm wasting money then.

If you have weeds in a flower bed that you can't get rid of, screen the good plant using cardboard so Round-Up doesn't get on the keepers. When I'm creating a new flower bed I edge it with Round-Up to check out size and location, once I'm happy with shape I then Round-Up the whole area inside that shape. Then cover in newspapers, using several layers, or feed bags, then cover in mulch. Prior to planting you may want to spray your mulch too, as some tends to sprout weeds, depending where you get it from; the mulch that is. If I've sprayed the mulch I let a good rain shower come down before planting that bed with flowers, just to be on the safe side. Happy gardening!


By looneylulu from Ocean City, MD

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0 found this helpful
September 20, 2011

I know there are different kinds of ground ivy, but here is how I cope with it. It seems to come up every year in the same places and nothing I do can get rid of it completely. I have found that when I see the start of it, if I take a pair of clippers and cut it at the base, it takes a while to start back up. Then I repeat the process. This keeps it under control and the advantage is that you don't have to pull it away from your other plants or from a fence. The upper part dies after the stem is cut and it dries so you can just crumple it away. I have never been able to kill the roots.

By Lilac from Springfield, MA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
April 8, 2013

Help! Creeping Charlie has taken over my shade garden. It's even found it's way to the lawn. How can I get rid of this menace without having to kill everything in the garden and starting over?

By Sweezykay

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April 16, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

To get rid of Creeping Charlie, use Borax laundry additive. There is a formula of how much to add to water that is easy to find on the internet. It is real easy to take some out to the yard with you and carefully sprinkle on just the Charlie and then water (or just before a good rain). Not too much or will burn the good stuff. I do this especially where no grass grows and it is just Creeping Charlie and other weeds. In these areas, I am a little more generous. Works like magic, but keep up with it. If in garden, it also works but don't overdo. I found it will not kill other weeds.

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May 9, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Use a herbicide containing Dicamba the higher the % the better at least 6% to 12%. Hit it when it flowers in the spring and in the fall. Borax will work but you need to careful on the anount it can carry over to the next year like atrazine . Hi-Yield Range and Pasture Dicamba + D has about 12%

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September 10, 20160 found this helpful

Stay away from borax. First it does not kill creeping Charlie, only burns off the top. It is extremely toxic to soil and overuse leaves ground dead for decades.

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May 5, 20111 found this helpful

Does borax kill grass if spread on grass?

By Jim

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May 9, 20110 found this helpful
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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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March 30, 20120 found this helpful

What weed killer works to remove creeping charlie from my lawn?

By Alan

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March 31, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have had good results in controlling moss in my lawn using vinegar. Don't know if it would work on creeping charlie. I got the following from typing in creeping charlie in to

If you catch it early, you may be able to control creeping charlie by pulling it out. If it becomes thick, you can use a special tool called a thatching rake. This helps to comb through the grass, pulling much of the viny weed out. It doesn't eliminate it, but may keep it in check. (Some grass will be pulled up in the process.)

Using this tool is more physically demanding than fall leaf raking, however. It provides a strenuous workout, and may be more laborious than what you wish to undertake. This operation thatches the lawn and cuts into the soil. Afterwards, you can work in some shade-tolerant grass seed to replace the creeping charlie. The best time to do this is between mid-August and mid-September. Choose a time when the weather is beginning to feel cooler.

You may control creeping charlie chemically by applying a herbicide containing 2,4-D and MCPP as its active ingredients. The herbicide will damage or possibly kill any woody or broad-leafed vegetation that comes in contact with the spray, so it must be used with caution.

The best time to spray is in autumn, once temperatures have cooled to the 60's or 70's, with no rain forecast for 48 hours. This spray program may be repeated every ten to fourteen days as long as the weather is cooperative. Do not spray during hot or windy weather, to avoid herbicide drift onto desirable plants. Always follow the label directions carefully.

A combination of 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba may be used under some circumstances. The three together work more effectively than 2,4-D and MCPP but one reason for that extra effectiveness is dicamba's ability to be absorbed through the roots as well as through leaves. Since creeping charlie frequently grows in the shade of trees and shrubs, this combination of ingredients must be used with caution, spraying only enough to wet the leaves, not soaking the ground. This combination will prove more effective and pose less danger to desirable plants when it is used in early fall rather than spring.

If you have areas with more creeping charlie than lawn, you may wish to start over. Strip it off with a sod lifter (a hand tool), a sod cutter (a power tool) or apply glyphosate (a non-selective herbicide, sold as Roundup) to kill the entire area. Then you can seed or sod.

Where creeping charlie persists after years of repeated attempts to control it, you may want to consider killing it and replacing it with shade-tolerant ground cover plants or decorative mulch.

If you are interested in trying to eliminate creeping charlie with a borax application, see Yard & Garden Brief H519B, Using Borax to Control Creeping Charlie.

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0 found this helpful
July 20, 2010

How can I kill ground ivy?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Tom from Milwaukee, WI

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July 24, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try dabbing Round-Up concentrate on a few of the leaves with an artist brush in the spring and fall. I did this in my lawn last year and it didn't come back this year. You can over seed the area in the early spring if there is a bare spot.

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0 found this helpful
November 5, 2011

How do I get rid of creeping charlie in my lawn and gardens? It has a root system approximately every 6 inches and is taking over my lawn.

By Donna M

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 1, 20100 found this helpful

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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September 18, 20100 found this helpful

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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May 10, 20100 found this helpful

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

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March 13, 20100 found this helpful


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.


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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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September 12, 20060 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.

May 12, 20090 found this helpful

I have ground ivy that is growing along the fence line of my backyard that looks like it is spreading to my lawn, slowly.


July 20, 20100 found this helpful

How do I get rid of ground ivy without killing everything else? I really don't want a bare spot in my yard as my yard is beautiful, except I don't want this ground ivy to take over.

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