How To Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie Without Chemicals

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How To Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie Without Chemicals

How To Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie Without Chemicals

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Keith's Pro Tips

"Creeping Charlie loves shade and moisture. Before applying herbicide, make sure to try to trim back shady areas wherever possible. Also, get to the bottom of wet soil 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."

How To Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie Without Chemicals

This page is an expert guide on getting rid of Creeping Charlie from your property using the products and methods suggested by our experienced lawn care specialists. Follow this guide and use the recommended products and we guarantee you will be successful in eliminating Creeping Charlie.

Creeping Charlie is a common weed that plagues residential turf, particularly in moist areas where there is considerable shade but it can also thrive in sunlight and spread to other parts of the yard, ruining the uniformity you may be going for.

Creeping Charlie is known for its kidney-shaped leaves and their bright green and shiny appearance and are often a sign of too much shade in your lawn, overly wet soil or poor fertilizing.

If you are dealing with Creeping Charlie on your property, follow this guide to learn how to get rid of the weed before it starts to take over. While on this page we will provide natural remedies for those that wish to not use chemicals—if the weed is firmly established and has spread to the point where it is hard to control, chemical control may be your only option.


ground ivy close up

Before carrying out a treatment program, you will need to first be certain that you are dealing with Creeping Charlie and not some other weed. Careless identification can lead to using the wrong treatment methods which can be a waste of time and money.

  • Creeping Charlie is a herb known by many names, like ground ivy and cat’s foot. It was used for medicinal purposes to treat diseases like scurvy, used as astringent anti-allergy and many other ailments.
  • Creeping Charlie has fibrous roots and flowered stems. The flowered Creeping Charlie has small leaves and consists of small oval-shaped nutlets. It has purple flowers and creeps or spreads like a carpet on the ground and connects from nodes to nodes that form roots, making it difficult to get rid of them.

Use the above description and image to help you in properly identify Creeping Charlie. If you are unsure whether or not the weed you are seeing is Creeping Charlie or something else, you can always contact us and our lawn care experts will help to correctly ID your weed growth and suggest treatment options.


Creeping Charlie

After you have confirmed that you are dealing with Creeping Charlie, you can then move on to inspection. During this phase, you will locate areas where Creeping Charlie is thriving and observe the conditions that are allowing it to thrive. This information will help you in knowing where to focus your herbicide application.

Where to Inspect

Creeping Charlie is a weed that grows in shady and moist areas. These weeds can easily spread anywhere through seed, the nodes of its roots etc. thus it is not an easy task to eradicate the weed. Look for overly shady areas of your yard to find where the weed is established.

What To Look For

Creeping Charlie grows low to the ground and is known to create thick mats where it is established which makes it stand out on a lawn. You should also take note of its tiny purplish-blue flowers that bloom from the plant.


While this guide is for getting rid of Creeping Charlie without the use of chemicals (which is covered under "Prevention"), in cases where the infestation is significant, you may have no choice but to use a herbicide to help you to eliminate the weed. 

When applying herbicides be sure to wear protective clothing or safety equipment that completely covers your arms and legs, as well as gloves, socks and shoes. To get rid of Creeping Charlie we suggest using a selective herbicide that contains dicamba such as 2 4-D Amine. This product is a good economical option and effective against many different broadleaf weeds while leaving desired grass types unharmed.

Step 1: Mix and Apply 2,4-D

Selective Herbicide for Creeping Charlie

Measure the square footage of the treatment area to determine how much 2,4-D you will need. 2,4-D Amine should be mixed with a gallon of water at the rate of 0.75 to 1 fl. oz. (1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons) per 1,000 square feet. Mixing 2 4-D with a surfactant like Nanotek Surfactant (at a rate of 1 fl. oz. per gallon of spray solution) will help the product to stick better to the weed and make the herbicide work more effectively.

For example, if you have a 2,000 sq. ft. area to treat, you will need to mix 1.5 to 2 fl. oz. in 2 gallons of water. Once you have made your measurements and calculated how much 2,4-D you need, mix the product and surfactant with the appropriate amount of water in a handheld or backpack sprayer. Shake the sprayer to ensure the solution is well-mixed and then you're ready to spray.

Creeping Charlie 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.

Step 2: Reapply As Needed

If a second application is needed, apply the herbicide in spot treatments. Repeated applications of a 2 4-D should be spaced according to label directions (normally every 7 to 10 days). Be careful applying in the heat and just spot treat the area so you don't burn your grass.


pulling weeds

When the Creeping Charlie infestation is minimal or manageable, you may not need to use chemicals at all to remove the weed. Here are some non-chemical remedies you can try to use to prevent or hinder a Creeping Charlie invasion from getting worse.

Choking the Creeping Charlie out with newspapers, cardboard or tarp

One non-chemical method to get rid of Creeping Charlie is smothering the infestation and blocking all sunlight from contacting the weed with the help of newspapers. Collect a large amount sheets of newspapers and place at least 10 layers of newspapers over the creeping Charlie, making sure they overlap each other. Continue stacking the newspaper in rows until the entire target area is covered they spray some water to make the surface of the weed start to rot. Do this for at least a week and the Creeping Charlie should die out.

Pulling out the weeds

Wear gloves and have appropriate tools to deal with creeping Charlie and start pulling out each and every weed you find. This will not be easy as the roots or nodes left behind will allow the ground ivy to grow back. You will have to be vigilant and on constant alert to pull out the sprouts of the Creeping Charlie. Use a hand cultivator tool to pull the weeds and roots out of the soil to pick out the remains of the Creeping Charlie, then cover the soil with 2 inches of wood mulch. This will suffocate the ground ivy and eradicate the creeping Charlie. 

Sunbathing for the Creeping Charlie

The Creeping Charlie grows in shady and moist areas so make sure your garden is as dry as possible. It should have a good drainage system to seep out the extra water from the soil. Trim the trees, branches, grass, and shrubs. Expose the garden to more sunlight. The ground ivy will slowly wither out as it not compatible with sunlight and dry areas.

Better Lawn Maintenance

Growth of Creeping Charlie is usually a sign of poor upkeep of the lawn. Make sure to fertilize the soil properly and landscape the plants and trees in a way that it gets more sunlight. Keep a lookout for any bare spots in your lawn and garden and put mulch over it or seed the area. Aerate the soil for proper air circulation allowing the soil to get oxygen and keep the soil dry at an acceptable level. Use a bagging lawnmower to mow areas covered with Creeping Charlie to hold all the roots and nodes that may allow the weeds to grow back.

Key Takeaways

What is Creeping Charlie?

  • Creeping Charlie is an invasive weed known to create thick mats on landscapes and enjoys growing in areas that have high moisture and shade. 

How To Get Rid of Creeping Charlie

  • Our top recommendation for treating Creeping Charlie is the use of a selective herbicide such as 2 4-D Amine. This product is selective and will not harm desired grasses, only the Creeping Charlie.
  • Organically, removing Creeping Charlie is best done either via handpulling and cultural methods of consistent fertilization, air circulation, watering and sunlight. This method is best when Creeping Charlie growth is minimal.

Preventing Creeping Charlie Reemergence

  • Prevent Creeping Charlie by improving lawn practices and using natural means of prevention such as exposing your yard to more sunlight and smothering or hand-pulling growths of the weed. 
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