“Creeping Charlie”: A Common Spring Weed

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Typically, in the High Country region of western North Carolina, before lawns become green and the mowers begin humming, many undesirable early Spring weeds decide to make their appearance. While some weeds can be overtaken by healthy lawn grasses which will soon follow, when others get established, they can be difficult to control. One of the more common weeds that tends to blanket and take over a yard fairly quickly is ‘creeping Charlie’, also known as ‘ground ivy’. It’s not actually an ivy at all, though. It belongs to the mint family, but is a perennial that can be frustrating to control.

creeping charlie

Creeping Charlie or ‘ground ivy’ can form a dense mat in the lawn.

Creeping Charlie generally starts out in edges or shady spots around the lawn. However, once established, each plant will send out shoots in several directions, forming a dense mat. While you can manually pull up these mats by hand as a quick fix, you need to be pretty diligent to gain control this way. Often, when folks realize that it’s a problem, this weed has spread farther than manually pulling can alleviate. Several herbicides are available that can be used at a regular interval to control this perennial. Right now is a perfect time to treat while the plant is in bloom. You can also manage it with an herbicide application in the fall before it goes dormant for the season. For more information and recommendations on how to control creeping Charlie or ground ivy, contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Watauga County at 828.264.3061.