How do I Deal with Creeping Charlie?
I answered this question today in our Ask a Question Section and it’s worth posting individually here:
Creeping Charlie, perennial, Glenchoma hederacea
Appearance: Low-growing aggressive creeping plant has thumbnail size scalloped leaves that look like tiny geraniums. In spring an abundance of tiny, lavender flowers appear on two- or three-inch spikes. The stems are square, with roots that dive into the soil at nodes. Minty scent
Reproduces: Seed, stolons
Creeping Charlie, with a range from the Northeastern U.S. to northern Florida, is one of the most pesky weeds in the lawn in much of the country. Proper diligence can get it out of the lawn, however.
Here is what the widespread presence of creeping Charlie generally says about the soil: Low nitrogen, high calcium, iron and sulfur, poor drainage, low bacteria. To create better soil condition, increase the overall fertility by adding compost and compost tea, as well as a liquid nitrogen fertilizer made from fish emulsion.
You can try to remove the plant with a mechanical dethatcher or bamboo rake and then overseed immediately so that the new grass seed outcompetes the creeping Charlie.
Some people just give up, however, with the rationale that this is an ideal lawn plant unless you’re trying to roll a golf ball. It’s low-growing and evergreen, and it’s even edible.
Many people apply boric acid (Borax from the laundry aisle) and this will slow the progression of the creeping Charlie, but you shouldn’t apply this to the soil more than once every couple of years. Here is the recipe from the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension:
Dissolve 10 oz. Twenty Mule Team Borax in 4 oz. (½ cup) warm water.
Dilute in 2.5 gallons of water.
This will cover 1,000 square feet. If you have a smaller area to treat, cut the “recipe” accordingly.