Creeping Charlie, commonly referred to as ground ivy, is a perennial weed that grows low to the ground forming a mat-like ground cover. A member of the mint family, this weed has small scalloped leaves that resemble geranium leaves and produce a minty scent when crushed. It also bears a small funnel-shaped purple flower in the spring.
Part of the reason Creeping Charlie is difficult to control is the variety of ways it propagates. It spreads by seeding and by rooting at the nodes that stud its vines. It also has a rhizomatous method of reproduction, which means if you dig up the plant and miss just a fragment of rhizome, it will regrow.
The best method to prevent weeds is to foster healthy turf grass. Weeds are opportunists. Bare ground is their ally to proliferate. Thick, healthy turf grass inhibits their ability to propagate easily.
Although herbicides are effective throughout the growing season, early fall is the best time to apply broadleaf herbicides to control Creeping Charlie. That is when these weeds are beginning to transfer energy to the roots for the winter and are more susceptible to herbicides.
Often, this is a very difficult weed to control with only one application of herbicide. Multiple treatments may be required to gain control. Don’t get discouraged and give up too early.