Controlling Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)???
Glenn Hardebeck, Turfgrass Research Agronomist, Department
of Agronomy, Purdue University
Ground Ivy is often lumped into the “Hard to Control Weed” category
with other weeds such as wild violet. While controlling ground
ivy is difficult, it is at least one rung on the ladder below that
of controlling wild violet. Controlling wild violet is difficult
due to its extensive underground root system, which enables violet
to spread by using rhizomes (thick underground spreading roots).
Ground ivy has no such underground root system. Instead, ground
ivy spreads on top of the ground by using stolons or runners much
like that of strawberries. What this means in terms of control
is that violets can regrow from the extensive root system while
ground ivy regrows from uncontrolled plants on the surface.
Control: Control begins by improving the turfgrass
stand through sound fertility practices and maintaining the lawn
at a reasonable mowing height (2.5” to 3.5”). (http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/publicat.htm)
Space that is unoccupied by turf will be occupied by weeds. Broadleaf weed
controls containing triclopyr by itself or combination products of 2,4-D,
MCPP, and dicamba can be used effectively to reduce ground ivy populations.
Spray applications are better than dry spreadable materials when applied
at the correct rate and uniformly. Multiple applications will likely be needed
so that those ivy plants that escape the first application cannot spread
back into the lawn.
Rotate and Repeat treatments: Apply either triclopyr or
the combination product in the spring at or just after the ground ivy flowers.
In mid to late September, rotate to the other chemical and reapply that same
chemical again 3-4 weeks later in October. The cooler weather may reduce
the short-term visual effect but the long-term control is actually better
in the fall. To avoid future ground ivy problems, it is important to maintain
a competitive turf and eliminate any encroaching ivy plants early by spot
A past Pic of the Week by Glenn Nice concerning ground ivy identification
can be found at http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/ppdl/weeklypics/Weekly_Picture4-15-02-1.html
Click image to enlarge
Ground Ivy flowering during early May.
Ground Ivy during spring of 2003.
Same spot early May 2004 after one spring treatment and
two fall treatments during 2003.
An example of a Three-way combination product containing
MCPP, 2,4-D and Dicamba.
An example of a product containing Triclopyr.