Milwaukee Landscaping Service Answers The Most Commonly Asked Question About Creeping Charlie

"How Do I Get Rid of Creeping Charlie?"

Creeping charlie in Milwaukee yardWith its small scalloped edge leaves and small purple flowers, Creeping Charlie is a pretty little plant at first glance. Its invasive growth, though, is a nightmare for anyone who loves a lush, green lawn. What starts out as a few small areas of the yard with creeping Charlie can quickly become a yard full of it.

While it is commonly regarded as a nuisance plant, it has many medicinal uses. European settlers brought it to this country for this very reason. Steeped in hot water, it makes an herbal tea high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Its essential oil has been used a tonic for colds and coughs. The Saxons used it as flavoring and a preservative in brewing beer. It has also been used as a substitute for animal rennet in cheese making. In many countries, it’s even used as a salad green.

So, it’s not entirely useless.

Growth Pattern of Creeping Charlie

Creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea) is a ground vine of the mint family and will thrive in both shaded and sunny areas. If left unchecked, it will form a dense ground cover and choke out the grass in a lawn. Each vine has nodes where leaves grow, and if they come into contact with soil these nodes will form roots. You can’t just pull it up because any rooted node you miss (and they’re easy to miss) will turn into a new plant.

Getting Rid of Creeping Charlie

Eradicating Creeping charlie is tricky business, and there’s a lot of conflicting information about what works. A lot depends on what treatments have been used in prior years, since the plant is capable of developing a resistance to many herbicides. If you’ve treated your lawn with something in the past, you don’t want to use the same herbicide the following year.

Although Creeping charlie is classified as a broadleaf weed, it is immune to broadleaf spectrum herbicides. One weed killer that has been proven effective—but only with repeat applications at the right time—is dicamba.  The thing is, dicamba has to be applied in early fall, when the plant is in its most active growth phase. This usually weakens it to the point it won’t survive through winter. It should be applied 3 days after mowing, and the lawn should not be mowed for another 3 days after treatment. As the plant grows more leaves during this time, it will absorb more of the herbicide.

Creeping Charlie Driving You Mad? Perhaps You Need Professional Help

There are other herbicides besides dicamba that have been effective in killing off Creeping charlie, but due to their toxicity they can only be sold to professionals. If you’re serious about stopping a Creeping charlie invasion, and don't want to spend a lot of time dabbling with different herbicides and DIY concoctions based on sketchy Internet lore, your best bet is to get a professional on the job.

Brennan Landscaping has treated many lawns for Creeping charlie, as well as other invasive plants. We have several approaches that have proven very successful at getting rid of this nuisance plant. We would be happy to provide a free estimate for our work.

One thing to keep in mind: a poorly kept up lawn is particularly susceptible to Creeping charlie. Regular aeration and fertilizer application in the fall and spring, proper mowing technique, and an in-ground irrigation system all help to keep a lawn healthy. Brennan Landscaping does all of this (and more) for both residential and commercial properties.

Contact Brennan Landscaping for a free estimate on lawn maintenance services for homes and businesses throughout greater Milwaukee.

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