This spring and summer, the lawn and especially around the seedums have been taken over by a vine; the leaves are clustered, about 4 inches apart, the leaves are heart-shaped, and have a scalloped edge to them. Actually after the first two leaves mature, two more will appear in the cluster. Seems to be more of a problem when there is a lot of rain like this year. Is there any way to begin to rid the lawn of the problem without doing harm to the plants and grass?
The Gardener’s Answer
Jim: From what you have described, it sounds like you are dealing with ground ivy (Glechoma headracea). This perennial weed is commonly referred to as creeping Charlie. It does not look like what we typically think of as ivy. It has square stems and the foliage has a mint-like scent to it. It will grow in most conditions but it thrives in shady locations where the soil is consistently moist. With all the rain we have had this season this weed is happier for it. It can be quite vigorous so control is important. Fortunately, it is easy to hand pull. It spreads by seed and aboveground runners. Each stem can grow to be 2 feet long. This may not be feasible in the lawn but around your sedums or in any small space it would be the easiest and safest solution. As for your lawn, using a broadleaf herbicide containing 2,4-D will be effective. Fall is a good time to control broadleaf weeds. This is the time of year they are getting ready for the winter and they are transporting carbohydrates from the foliage to the roots so as the herbicide is applied it will be transported to the roots. Killing the roots is the only way to make sure the weed will not return. It may take a couple applications to get the job done and with any herbicide make sure to use only as directed. Check with your local garden center to see what they carry. Be careful when spot spraying that it does not reach any plant material that you would like to keep.