How To Stop Creeping Charlie From Spreading

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Caption: Shutterstock / Ragil nur azis

Creeping Charlie may look nice, but it can quickly devastate a lawn. It spreads so quickly and stops other plants from growing because of its toxins and aggressive nature. That’s why so many people want to know how to stop creeping Charlie from spreading.

You can stop creeping Charlie from spreading if you cover it with a tarp and blankets to smother it. This process takes up to a week, and you must pull out the parts that are rooted in the soil. Over seed your lawn each fall so the grass grows as thick as possible. That makes it hard for creeping Charlie to spread.

Water your lawn less frequently, but water it deeply each time to ensure the grass soaks up some water. Follow along as we explore how to stop creeping Charlie from spreading, so you can enjoy your lawn.

Does Creeping Charlie Kill Other Plants?

Creeping Charlie can kill other plants in your yard once it spreads far enough. This creeping plant features a toxin that can suppress and kill other plants. The toxin is also harmful to livestock, such as cows and horses.

It’s also harmful to household pets like dogs, so it’s important to keep your pets away from creeping Charlie. Creeping Charlie can eventually spread to neglected areas of your yard, and even your neighbor’s yard.

How To Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie

1. Herbicides

The easiest way to get rid of creeping Charlie and stop it from spreading is to use herbicides. Luckily, you can use simple weed killer sprays for minor creeping Charlie infestations. However, you must use highly concentrated herbicides to treat widespread creeping Charlie infestations.

The only downside to this method is that you run the risk of killing nearby plants. You can avoid this problem if you use selective herbicides. Selective herbicides only target harmful weeds, such as creeping Charlie.

2. Keep Your Grass Tall

While tall grass has its downsides, it also helps stop creeping Charlie from spreading. The soil can’t get enough sunlight for creeping Charlie to easily spread when the grass is tall. Granted, you only need to keep your grass tall until you get the creeping Charlie infestation under control.

Keep your grass at 3 ½” to 4” to stop creeping Charlie from spreading too far. People typically keep their grass a 2 ½” for a desirable look, but that makes it easy for creeping Charlie to spread.

3. Smother It

It may not always be easy, but you can get rid of creeping Charlie if you smother it. Keep in mind that your yard may look funny during this process, but it’s worth it for the results. First, find the area where creeping Charlie is most active, and prune the parts that are close to healthy plants.

Next, lay a tarp over the creeping Charlie and secure it on the ground with weights or sandbags. Make sure that the tarp doesn’t cover healthy plants. You can also use blankets, towels, and even newspapers for this process.

This process can take up to a week or even longer in extreme cases. The goal is to stop the creeping Charlie from getting sunlight, water, and nutrients that would otherwise help it spread. Remove the tarp, make sure the creeping Charlie is dead, and cut and pull everything that remains.

4. Strengthen Your Lawn

The healthier your lawn is, the less easy it is for creeping Charlie to take over. Overseeding isn’t always recommended, but it’s a great idea if your lawn is prone to weeds and creeping Charlie. This makes your lawn grow thicker, and it becomes much harder for creeper Charlie to spread.

Fertilize your lawn up to 4 times per year to keep it strong and healthy as well. Add mulch and landscape fabric around the borders of your lawn and flowerbeds. Both mulch and landscape fabric help smother creeping Charlie and stop it from harming nearby plants.

It also helps to adjust your watering schedule. Creeping Charlie and weeds thrive when you water a lawn a few times per week. Instead, water your lawn 1-2 times per week, but let the water go much deeper. That will ensure that the grass soaks up enough water instead of the weeds.

5. Prune And Pull It

This method requires patience and hard work, but you can stop creeping Charlie from spreading if you prune and pull it. The hardest part of this process is figuring out which parts of the plant are connected to the soil. Put on some gloves, roll up your sleeves, and carefully run your hands along the vines and tug on them.

You can tell which stems are rooted in the soil when you feel some resistance. Follow the trail to the soil and pull vines from the ground. Next, carefully prune the vines as needed and pull each rooted vine from the soil.

Check the soil to make sure that none of the creeping Charlie remains in the ground. This takes a while if the creeping Charlie has spread far and is deeply rooted. Leave nothing in the ground, or there is a strong chance that creeping Charlie will come back.

6. Alter Your Yard

While it’s easier said than done, you can help get rid of creeping Charlie if you alter your yard. Creeping Charlie does best in areas with lots of shade and moisture. You can stop it from spreading if you reduce these factors in your yard.

For example, it helps to trim trees and bushes that provide lots of shade in areas where creeping Charlie grows. It also helps to use soil that drains well, as water is less likely to pool in your yard. Creeping Charlie loves soggy soil, but that’s not a factor with soil that drains well.

Add peat moss to the soil to boost aeration and improve soil drainage. Otherwise, you can simply replace some sections of grass with turf, so creeping Charlie can’t grow and spread at all.

Summing It Up

Treat the creeping Charlie with post-emergent herbicides to kill it and stop it from spreading. You can also smother creeping Charlie for a week with blankets, tarps, towels, and newspapers. Trim the creeping Charlie and pull it completely from the ground, or else it may grow back.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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