Weed of the Month: Ground Ivy
Posted: November 8, 2012
Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), also known as creeping Charlie, is a perennial plant that grows low to the ground.
Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), also known as creeping Charlie, is a perennial plant that grows low to the ground. It is an extremely difficult weed to manage in turfgrass because of this characteristic. Ground ivy has a square stem like all members of the mint family. It establishes roots at each stem node as it spreads along the ground, has a mint-like odor when pulled or mowed, and the foliage stays green throughout the winter. Small, purple flowers are produced in spring. Ground ivy can grow under a variety of conditions, but prefers shady, damp locations. It is often confused with henbit, but henbit does not grow low to the ground, or root at stem nodes. Henbit is also a winter annual and does not have a square stem.
Ground ivy is a weed in both turfgrass and ornamental landscape beds. Hand removal may be an option in beds when the infestation is low. Try to ensure that all vegetative parts are removed because ground ivy will propagate from pieces left behind. Improving the growing conditions for the turf can slow the spread of ground ivy: raise the mowing height to 2.5 to 3 inches, maintain proper fertilization levels, improve drainage, and decrease shade.
There are no pre-emergent herbicides for ground ivy management. Post-emergent herbicides include 2,4-D alone, but 2,4-D in combinations with dicamba and MCPP/MCPA is more effective. Herbicides that contain the active ingredient triclopyr are also a good option. The optimum time for herbicide applications is late summer into early fall.