How to Get Rid of the Lawn Invader Known as Creeping Charlie

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Dear Cheapskate: I have lived in my house for over 30 years and experienced many maintenance issues that could be solved. But this is a first — a horrible weed infestation called Creeping Charlie has taken over the lawn. I have tried weed killers, but nothing I’ve tried has worked to kill the entire weed down to the roots. I look at my neighbor’s lawn and see it growing there, too. Do you have a recommendation that would take care of Creeping Charlie without killing the grass? Thanks. — Beth

Dear Beth: Oh, my, I am laughing quietly as I read your letter. When I was a newlywed, my neighbor and I actually shared Creeping Charlie cuttings and grew them in pots to adorn our apartments. We thought we were prolific “gardeners” because our plants grew, well … like weeds!

Creeping Charlie is a pretty specimen because it’s easy to grow and produces little purple flowers. But any plant is considered a weed if it is growing where it is neither wanted nor enjoyed — in your lawn, for example! Mention Creeping Charlie to anyone who works tirelessly for a well-manicured lawn, and you’ll likely get a loud, agonizing groan. It’s that bad. But hang on. I have good news for you and what I hope will be helpful information.

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Creeping Charlie is a resilient and adaptive vine in the broadleaf weed category. Surprisingly, it is not affected by all broadleaf herbicides, which, as you know, is frustrating! There’s nothing worse than spending hard-earned money on a product recommended by garden store staff that doesn’t do the job — leaving Charlie’s underground vining rhizomes intact and the invasion alive and well.

Hand-pulling Creeping Charlie, making sure to get every smidgen of that rhizome (root) is one way to stop a very early invasion. And there is a lot of room for error there, which means using this as a punishment for misbehaved kids might not be such a great idea.

A serious problem, such as you are experiencing, requires an effective herbicide. Unfortunately, I have no homemade recipes to offer. It’s time to pull out the big guns.

The only herbicide I can confidently recommend to win this war is T-Zone Turf Herbicide (1.2 ounces per gallon of water). You can find this on Amazon, perhaps at your local home improvement center, or local garden store. T-Zone Turf Herbicide is a broadleaf herbicide, which means that when applied carefully and according to label instructions and warnings, it will kill Mr. Creepy but leave your lawn intact.

The chemicals in T-Zone Turf Herbicide can cause harm when they touch your skin or eyes, so it’s essential to wear protective gear like eye protection, gloves and full-coverage clothing. Read the warnings on the product to make sure you know what you are doing.

You will need a good sprayer that matches the size of your project. A backpack-type power sprayer would likely be a good investment for you and your neighbor to share. Your spraying technique will be important for getting good results.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep children and pets away from your lawn for some time after spraying.

Now, before you conclude this is all too complicated, too scary and just downright too much work, let me introduce you to Ryan Knorr, who has an excellent Creeping Charlie how-to video on his YouTube channel. Here is a link to that specific video:

I wish you well with waging war against this creepy lawn invader. And be sure to let me know how this works for you.

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