Creeping charlie, Glechoma hederacea (also known as ground ivy, catsfoot, alehoof) was introduced in North America from Europe in the 17th century as a groundcover. Now listed as an invasive weed in many states, it’s part of the Lamiaceae or mint family, known for fragrance, square-shaped stems and aggressive growth habits.
Scalloped, opposite leaves appear early in spring, with bilaterally symmetrical flowers emerging April-June. It spreads through stolons, long, thin offshoot plant stems or runners which grow outward above ground. Creeping charlie reproduces by seed and rhizome–underground modified stems that spread horizontally. Unchecked it can quickly become a matted carpet, crowding out grass, other weeds and native plants.
Invasive of the week June 10-2020-creeping charlie
Creeping Charlie flowers
Creeping Charlie stem
How creeping Charlie spreads
Digging and hand-pulling may work to eliminate creeping charlie… eventually. This is a strategy of tenacity, diligently teasing out the roots and repeating for multiple seasons, as root pieces will re-grow. All weeded parts should be disposed of in the trash instead of compost. Some sources recommend watering an area before weeding, then lifting with a garden fork or other rake-like tool. Chemical control using a broadleaf herbicide listed for creeping charlie is also an option.
Other recommendations from our staff for clearing a larger area include sheet composting (a.k.a. lasagna composting: placing layers of organic material on top of newspaper or cardboard), and hugelkultur, or “mound culture.” Used in permaculture practices, it’s akin to replicating a forest ecosystem by creating a mound of layered compost-suitable materials, beginning with woody debris at the bottom. This technique is also useful for restoring problem areas in the yard or garden.
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Sources: “How to Kill Creeping Charlie”