How to Kill Creeping Charlie Weed But Not Grass?

This article’ll discuss multiple approaches to removing creeping charlie, including natural, mechanical, and chemical methods. We’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks of each system and provide step-by-step instructions on how to apply them to your lawn. Lastly, we’ll provide tips, precautions, and answers to frequently asked questions to help you throughout weed removal.

What is Creeping Charlie?

Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea, is an invasive, perennial weed that can quickly take over your lawn and garden if left unchecked. It has a fast-growth habit, small round or kidney-shaped leaves, and tiny violet flowers. This vigorous weed spreads by seeds and rhizomes, making it difficult to control.

Creeping Charlie is a broadleaf weed, but not all broadleaf herbicides are effective against it. The most successful treatment methods involve using professional-grade solutions such as triclopyr and dicamba. A combination of T-Zone creeping charlie at 1.2 ounces per gallon of water is beneficial in dealing with this weed species that thrive in unhealthy lawns.

How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie?

There are a lot of methods you can get rid of creeping Charlie. That I have discussed below:

Natural Methods – Hand-Pulling Creeping Charlie

  • Pros: Chemical-free, inexpensive, and straightforward.
  • Cons: Time-consuming and tedious. Not adequate for large infestations.

Regularly inspect your garden and hand-pull Creeping Charlie, especially at the onset of its growth. Remove entire plants, including the roots, to avoid regrowth.

Hand-pulling is a practical, eco-friendly way to remove creeping charlie. However, it can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially if the infestation is widespread.

Step-by-step process:

  1. Trim the leaves and stems: Cut any excess growth using pruners to make it easier to grab onto the weed.
  2. Soak the area: Water thoroughly with a garden hose to soften the soil and make it easier to pull the weed out.
  3. Loosen the soil: Use a spade or pitchfork to loosen the dirt around the creeping charlie.
  4. Remove the roots: Pull the weed out from the base, removing as many roots as possible.
  5. Inspect the area: Check the pulled area for any remaining roots and repeat steps 3-4 as needed.
  6. Dispose of the weeds: Place the removed creeping charlie in lawn waste bags to prevent reseeding.

Materials and tools needed:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruners
  • Garden hose
  • Spade or pitchfork
  • Lawn waste bags

Mechanical Methods – Smothering Creeping Charlie with Mulch or Tarp

  • Pros: Environmentally friendly and effective for small to medium-sized areas.
  • Cons: It may take several weeks to work and might harm other nearby plants.

Cover the infested area with a thick, light-blocking material, like black plastic or cardboard, and anchor it down to smother the weed and prevent photosynthesis. Additionally, put mulch on top for an extra layer of protection.

Smothering the weed with mulch or a tarp is a non-toxic approach that can effectively kill creeping charlie. However, it may also kill desirable plants nearby.

  1. Mow the area: Trim the affected area to weaken the creeping charlie.
  2. Cover the area: Place a tarp or several layers of newspaper or cardboard over the weed, making sure to overlap the edges to block out sunlight completely.
  3. Apply mulch: Place a 3-4 inch thick organic mulch on the covering.
  4. Wait and monitor: Keep the area covered for 4-6 weeks, checking periodically to ensure the creeping Charlie dies completely.
  5. Remove the covering: Once the weed is dead, remove the covering and replenish any lost mulch. Replant the area with desirable grass or plants.

Materials and tools needed:

  • Mulch or tarp
  • Mower
  • Garden gloves
  • Newspaper or cardboard (optional)

Chemical Methods For Killing Creeping Charlie – Using Herbicide

  • Pros: Effective and fast-acting.
  • Cons: Toxic to humans, pets, and beneficial plants if misused.

Selective herbicides like post-emergent broadleaf herbicides can be effective against Creeping Charlie. Look for products with active ingredients like Triclopyr, Dicamba, or 2,4-D—product recommendations: Ortho Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Killer.

Herbicides can effectively control or kill creeping Charlie, but choosing the right product and following the label instructions is essential. They may pose environmental risks and harm other plants if misused.

  1. Choose the right herbicide: Look for a selective broadleaf herbicide that targets creeping charlie and doesn’t harm the surrounding grass.
  2. Read the label: Follow all instructions on the product’s label for proper application, including how much to apply and which safety precautions to take.
  3. Apply herbicide: Spray or paint the herbicide directly on the leaves of each weed. Avoid applying it in windy conditions or near water sources.
  4. Wait and monitor: Allow enough time for the herbicide to work, typically 2-4 weeks. Check periodically to see if any new weeds have grown in the area.

Materials and tools needed

  1. Herbicide
  2. Spray bottle or paintbrush
  3. Garden gloves Goggles (optional)
  4. Safety mask (optional)

Biological control

  • Pros: Sustainable and non-toxic to beneficial insects.
  • Cons: It may not be readily available.

Some insects, like the Creeping Charlie specialist beetle, feed on this weed and help decrease its population. However, these insects might not be easily available in your area.

How to Prevent Creeping Charlie From Coming Back?

Creeping Charlie from returning and keep your plants healthy and thriving. This comprehensive guide will explore various natural and chemical methods to deal with this weed, including ways to patch up your soil, control light, and optimize water levels. Safety precautions for humans and animals will also be mentioned. So, let’s dig in and keep your garden clear and weed-free.

Improving Soil Quality, Light, and Water Levels


  • Test your soil and amend it to create an optimum pH level for your desired plants, making it less hospitable to Creeping Charlie. The weed prefers slightly acidic soil, so adding lime can raise the pH and discourage its growth.


  • Since Creeping Charlie spreads in shaded areas, trim back overhanging branches and other obstructions to ensure sunlight reaches the ground, making it a less attractive spot for weed growth.


  • Maintain proper watering habits, as overwatering or underwatering can stress desirable plants and make them more susceptible to weed invasion. Consider using drip irrigation systems to provide consistent and appropriate moisture to plants.

By following this guide and implementing these preventative measures, you’ll be well on your way to keeping Creeping Charlie from coming back to your garden. Remember to be persistent and vigilant; your garden will remain beautiful and weed-free.

Creeping Charlie’s Worth to Pollinators

While many homeowners may consider it an invasive weed, Creeping Charlie has excellent value to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Its purple-blue blooms are an essential source of nectar and pollen during the early spring when these insects emerge from hibernation.

So, before you reach for the weed killer to get rid of Creeping Charlie, consider leaving it to provide necessary sustenance for your local pollinators. In the meantime, if you’re looking for tips on how to make your grass green fast, try using a high-quality fertilizer and ensuring proper watering and mowing practices.


What kills creeping Charlie but not grass?

The most effective way to eliminate Creeping Charlie is using a postemergence broadleaf herbicide. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the label for proper application of the product. Homeowners should select a weed killer containing a salt of dicamba (3, 6-dichloro-anisic acid) or triclopyr for optimal results.

What is the best spray for creeping Charlie?

The best spray for Creeping Charlie is a post-emergence broadleaf herbicide. Look for products containing active ingredients like Triclopyr, Dicamba, or 2,4-D—product recommendations: Ortho Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Killer. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the label for proper application.

How do you get rid of creeping Charlie without chemicals?

The most effective way to get rid of Creeping Charlie without chemicals is by Soak the soil or use a tarp, as Creeping Charlie needs light and air to survive. Cover the area with a dark tarp or cardboard, weighted down with bricks, stones, or wood. Maintain the covering for 4-6 weeks until all signs of the weed are gone. Remove the covering and replenish any lost mulch. Replant the area with desirable grass or plants.


Getting rid of creeping charlie can be a challenge. You have to keep in mind the pros and cons of using chemical or biological methods. Chemical methods are effective but can be toxic to humans, pets, and beneficial plants if misused.

Biological control is sustainable and non-toxic, but it may not be readily available in your area. Additionally, you should also look into preventive measures such as improving soil quality, light and water levels to keep the weed from coming back.

Finally, consider Creeping Charlie a valuable food source for pollinators in early spring. With the right approach, you can keep your garden free of this pesky weed without harming beneficial plants and insects.

Leave a Comment