Like many gardeners, I frequently struggle to keep my growing space tidy. This includes staying current with weeding chores. While years of growing experience have helped me to learn several gardening techniques which assist in decreasing the number of weeds in my yard, I still frequently battle with several tough to remove species. As the summer season progresses, I often find that keeping weeds, like ground ivy, away from plants can feel like a full time job.
What is Creeping Charlie?
Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea, is a perennial weed that is often found in shaded lawns. This is especially true in yards which have previously been neglected, or which have been left uncared for for quite some time. When I converted my backyard into a usable garden space, the removal of weeds and grass was an immense task. Since my garden is shaded by trees for a large portion of the day, it is no surprise that this sprawling plant has not only remained but has become quite a nuisance.
First appearing in spring, this type of ground ivy is easily identified by its unusual leaves, which have scalloped edges. Plants are able to propagate themselves through the dispersal of seeds and by rooting at nodes, as they crawl across the ground. The latter has proven to be most problematic, as the weed is able to easily choke out young seedlings or small vegetable garden transplants. Some sources suggest allelopathy as another possible issue related to this non-native plant.
Controlling Ground Ivy in the Garden
In my own garden, I have found that a combination of mowing and removing new growth manually has worked well in decreasing the spread of the plant. Though mowing is not possible within my garden rows, effectively managing the perimeter of the growing space has greatly helped to keep new weeds from moving into the cultivated rows.
Ideally, I like to weed the garden on a weekly basis. This helps to ensure that I am able to pull and remove ground ivy stems before they have had the chance to take root in the soil. When I’m finished, it is essential that I dispose of the plant material by removing it from the growing space, as even small pieces of the plant are able to take root and begin growing again. Though some landscapers have found success with the use of herbicides, I will likely continue to explore more organic means of ground ivy control in my own garden.