By Kylee Sherod, U of M Extension
With the weather finally starting to feel like spring, trees are popping, flowers are blooming, and the landscape is turning green. Lawns are beginning to be mowed to keep the green grass groomed, but what if there is more than green mixed in? If you have little purple flowers paired with scalloped leaves, your lawn most likely has creeping Charlie. What is this weed, and what is its significance?
Creeping Charlie is sometimes known as ground ivy because of its ability to spread easily. It does this through the use of stolons. Stolons are above-ground roots that can vigorously expand the surface area of the plant, hence the name “creeping.” It also has fibrous roots with rhizomes which are underground horizontal stems. These also play a role in the spreading of the weed. The plant stays green year-round; however, it only has the purple tube flowers in the springtime. When crushed, it will have a minty smell. By thriving in many soil types, and in shade or sunlight, this weed can cause an inconvenience.
It is important to note how aggressive this weed is. Due to the underground stems and above- ground roots, this plant’s main competitor is your very own lawn. It will compete, and win, against turfgrass and other ground
covers. This can result in a flat looking lawn with no grass. Having a healthy lawn with some shade-tolerant grasses, proper fertilization, and efficient water practices will help combat the weed and keep the lawn looking healthy.
In low numbers of the weed, creeping Charlie can be managed by hand-pulling the entire plant, including the root. However, with large amounts, it is more difficult to do so. At creeping Charlie’s peak bloom (now), a selective, postemergence herbicide should be used.
Several applications of products with triclopyr will provide the best results for managing the weed. Triclopyr is an herbicide that manages broadleaf plants both in landscaping and agriculture. Always remember to read labels before application.
To find out more on creeping Charlie follow the below links: apps.extension.umn.edu/garden/
creepingcharlie.html or blog-yard-