Control of Ground Ivy in Lawns

Ground ivy or “creeping Charlie” (Glechoma hederacea) is a common weed in many lawns.  Ground ivy is a low-growing, creeping, invasive perennial.  It spreads by seeds and aboveground stems (stolons) which root at their nodes.  The leaves of ground ivy are round or kidney-shaped with scalloped margins.  Stems are four-sided.  Flowers are small, bluish purple, and funnel-shaped.  Ground ivy thrives in damp, shady areas, but also grows well in sunny locations.  A member of the mint family, ground ivy produces a minty odor when cut or crushed. 

Control of ground ivy in lawns is difficult.  If the ground ivy is not completely destroyed, surviving portions will continue to grow and spread.  Broadleaf herbicide products containing triclopyr provide the best control of ground ivy.  A widely available product that contains triclopyr is 'Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer for Lawns.'  Fall (late September through mid-November) is the best time to control ground ivy.  (Spring applications are not as effective.)  Two broadleaf herbicide applications are necessary to effectively control ground ivy.  The first application should be made sometime from late September to mid-October.  The second application should be made approximately 4 weeks later. 

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