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The Best Way To Get Rid of Ground Ivy

Several lawn owners have contacted us wanting to know the best way to deal with ground ivy as it has been mucking up their nice lawns. Ground ivy is another one of those difficult to control weeds that is high up on the annoyance scale with the likes of ragweed and dandelions.

Having an outbreak of this invader on your lawn is a good indicator that your grass does not have the ideal conditions to thrive and thus, ground ivy (also known as creeping Charlie) thrives instead.

However, before you throw in the towel in frustration, resort to this guide on controlling ground ivy as our Solutions experts have some tips and tricks on how to eliminate this invasive weed from your lawn.

As always, before we approach a plan of attack regarding How to Kill ground ivy (or ANY weed for that matter) it’s best to learn about the weed, it’s tendencies and it’s ideal conditions. Once we know what makes this weed tick, we can do all we can to choke out the weed and deprive ground ivy of what it enjoys.

Shop below for our top recommended herbicide products for getting rid of ground ivy and scroll further to learn more information about this invasive plant.

For more information on controlling ground ivy on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.



Step One: Identification It's important to identify the type of weed you have to make sure that it is actually ground ivy and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Knowing the exact weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and also which one of our products can best treat that particular weed. This is important because some more stubborn weeds have a high tolerance or resistence to particular herbicides and control methods and are specifically labeled for certain weeds and not for others. If you misdiagnose the weed on your lawn as ground ivy when it's in fact not, you may purchase a herbicide not meant to tackle it and it will lead to disappointing results and overall, a waste of money. We don't want that.  If you are unsure of what weed you have, you can contact us at identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.


Step Two: Inspection. Once the plant has been properly Identified, you can then move to the inspection process. Chances are, if you have ground ivy, they are not hard to miss and they stick out like a sore thumb on your lawn amongst your desired grass and vegetation. Ground ivy is one of the earliest plants to flower in the spring and blooms between the months of March to July. These dates are important to remember if you want to get rid of this weed.  Ground ivy has lavender-blue tubular, flowers that appear in the axils of the leaves. The flowers are 0.4 in. (0.9 cm) long and come in clusters of two or more. Ground ivy is common in moist areas, disturbed sites, low woods, lawns, and along roadsides. It tolerates sunny as well as shady spots.


Step Three: Control. After the area has been surveyed you can then move on to using herbicides. Broadleaf weed killer such as 2 4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer or 3-D Herbicide Triplet Alternative which are an economical option that are focused on targeting broadleaf weeds.  Be sure to read and follow label directions so you get the proper application and mixing rates.


Step Four: Prevention. The best defense against ground ivy is a thick lush lawn that is properly maintained and well-fed. A lawn should also never be scalped by mowing. A thick dense lawn that is well-fertilized will be better able to choke out weeds and not allow them room to establish. Solutions carries various fertilizers that you can purchase to give your yard a steady diet of essential nutrients.

Learn More About Ground Ivy

ground ivy may look pretty but can be invasiveGround Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is known by a few other creative names like 'Creeping Charlie', 'Creeping Jenny' and 'Gill-Over-the-Ground'. It is a common perennial, evergreen weed found across the United States which thrives in shady, moist areas in low-wooded habitats, along roadsides, and in disturbed sites. From such places it can easily invade home lawns and can quickly crowd out the more desirable turfgrass. What gives it the name “creeping Charlie” is it’s tendency to creep along the soil surface and form roots where the leaves join the stem. In some parts of country, ground ivy is regarded as the most common and most difficult-to-control weed problem in residential turf. Ground ivy is an aggressive, low-growing perennial that favors shaded, moist areas.

This invasive weed can be easily identified by it rounded leaves with scalloped edges. The plant also sprouts out a small purple flower. Another way it can be identified is through its growth habit. Ground Ivy s a essentially a vine which tends to grow close to the ground and will form a mat-like ground cover if allowed to. The vines have nodes at each of the places where leaves grow and these nodes will form roots if they come in contact with the soil. This makes ground ivy especially hard to control via hand-pulling as every rooted node will form a new plant into the soil.


A member of the mint family, ground ivy has square stems and is mildly aromatic, particularly after mowing. If you roll the stem between your fingers, you will feel the ridges of the stem and can get a sense of the square stem. This plant is competitive in lawn situations because it creeps along the soil surface and can establish roots at each node (where the leaf attaches to the stem). This tendency allows it stick to the ground surface similar to Velcro and makes hand pulling the weed a difficult task, if not impossible. When the soil conditions are just right, however, it is possible to pull up a long string of plants with relative ease.


Using IPM Practices To Deal With Ground Ivy

As with many weed issues, applying integrated pest management practices can be a great way to eliminate invasive plants without involving the use of herbicides and chemicals. Ground ivy management starts with a detailed analysis of the growing conditions for the desirable turf in your yard. In most cases, the conditions which are ideal for ground ivy are not ideal for the health of your turf. Combinations of shade, wet soils and poor fertilization habits are factors which are detrimental to your lawn and actually favor of the ground ivy. Correcting these issues will allow the turf to compete better with the ground ivy. In addition, make sure your mowing height is at least 2.5 inches and preferably 3 inches or above — this will give the turf the help it needs to out compete the invasive ground ivy.


ground ivy handpullingEliminating Ground Ivy In The Fall

Hand pulling weeds is certainly an option for getting rid of ground ivy, but it is usually more trouble than its worth because of the many roots along the stem. Most often the persistence of the ground ivy to invade will trump the will of the gardener to weed. The use of chemical control can be a great alternative to hand pulling but timing is an important factor to ensure that the application will work.


Typically, the fall season is the best time to apply post-emergent herbicides for broadleaf weed control and is an excellent time to treat ground ivy. However, studies have show that herbicide treatments were effective not only in the fall but also in the spring when the ground ivy was in active growth. Ground ivy has small, bluish purple, funnel-shaped flowers that usually appear in May. Using the active ingredient 2,4-D alone provided adequate control when applied at these specific timings. Combination products of 2,4-D, dicamba and MCPP/MCPA can provide even better control than just using 2,4-D.


Eliminating Ground Ivy In The Summer

Plants are often more difficult to control in the summer because of slow uptake and metabolism associated with high temperatures.Studies by lawn care experts have shown that certain combinations of broadleaf herbicides with quinclorac are effective against ground ivy during the summer. Quinclorac is primarily a postemergence crabgrass herbicide that also has good activity on clover and knotweed. Results from the past several years indicate that the broadleaf weed control (ground ivy, speedwell and violets) of several broadleaf herbicides can be dramatically increased by tank mixing them with quinclorac. Products containing 2,4-D have benefited the most from this combination.


How To Get Rid of Ground Ivy

If you wondering how to kill ground ivy, this section has all the answers you need. As we’ve learned from the background information, ground ivy loves shade and moisture. So before going in the herbicide route, make sure to try to trim back shady areas wherever possible. Also, get to the bottom of the moisture issue by correcting any drainage problems as well as testing for and correcting any pH problems. Another good idea to consider is perhaps changing your grass out to one that is more shade tolerant.

With ground ivy’s presence being a sign that your lawn isn’t as healthy as it should be, make sure to adapt and use proper mowing, watering and fertilizing practices when caring for your lawn. By become more health conscious towards your lawn, you will have a thick, nutrient-rich lawn that will choke out ground ivy and any other invasive weed that tries to creep onto your lawn.

Recommended Herbicides:


Solutions recommends the above herbicides to best control ground ivy in order of effectiveness. From our tests, we’ve observe that Triclopyr is the formulation which provides the best control. While ground ivy is a broadleaf weed, most broadleaf weed killers don’t work on this particular weed. We’ve also included a 3 way herbicide mainly because it contains dicamba which is another chemical that works well to suppress ground ivy.

The best time to conduct treatment with herbicides is in the early fall when ground ivy is growing most actively and when daytime temperatures have dropped to the 60s or low 70s. Make sure to check the rain forecast to make sure it won’t be raining for 48 hours following the application of your selected herbicide. Also be sure to read the product label carefully to determine the proper application rates for your lawn size and the reapplication schedule if it is necessary.

Ground ivy frequently grows in the shady areas near trees or shrubs. In these areas, we recommend spraying only to wet the leaves of the ground ivy and make sure not to soak the ground to avoid uptake of the herbicide by the roots of the woody plants. Any woody or broad-leaf plant that comes into contact with an herbicide may be damaged or killed.

Always be cautious when handling and using any herbicide; do not spray during hot or windy weather to avoid any herbicide drifting onto desirable plants. And before using any chemical, especially herbicides, please read the label completely and follow all the manufacturer's directions carefully.


Ground Ivy Control Tips and Recommendations

  • Before applying herbicide, make sure to mow your lawn first. This will cut down some of the grass that is in the way and also it will damage the ground ivy and open them up a bit to soak in the herbicide treatment.

  • Use a hand-pump sprayer with a thin tip nozzle. Spraying a fine mist is best when applying herbicides to ground ivy.


See Also

Ground ivy | University of Maryland Extension


Ground ivy (Glechoma) Spring's Healing Yard Weed | Herbal Living


Ground Ivy | NC State Extension - TurfFiles - NC State University

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