Weather Related Delays and Closings
Winter Weather Alerts

Creeping Charlie Almost Everywhere in Iowa This Spring

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

AMES, Iowa -- Some unique weather conditions in Iowa have caused a weed to go wild this spring. Commonly known as ‘Creeping Charlie,’ has turned many lawns a bright purple color, with the bright purple flowers of the weed.

The weed, commonly known as Creeping Charlie, has littered many laws with bright purple flowers of the weed.

One man who is dealing with this weed is Richard Jauron, an Extension Horticulture Specialist at Iowa State University. For the past 30 years, he has manned the ISU “hotline” taking calls on trees, shrubs and grass from homeowners across the state.

“This spring is quite unusual and quite heavy. It was noticeable almost everywhere,” said Jauron. “We had a lot of rain last fall, then we had a mild winter, those conditions favored ground ivy.”

Creeping Charlie is also referred to as Ground-Ivy, or the scientific name Glechoma hederacea.

"The most effective broadleaf herbicide products are those that contain one or more of the following compounds: 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, and triclopyr,” wrote Jauron in an article for Iowa State Extension.

Jauron added that the plant should be taken out before it goes to seed or it will be back next season.

“Ground Ivy is very hard to control, you need to get it when you see that first small infestation," said Jauron. "You can use broadleaf herbicides, but the spring applications are not effective, they’re not going to do it you have to do it in the fall, it takes two applications about a month apart."

At Brekke’s Town and Country Store east of Ames, owner Mel Brekke said this is the worst outbreak of the weed he has seen in years. His store has been offering a product for several years called Weed Free Zone, which he says can kill off Creeping Charlie in seven to 14 days.

Brekke says he gets great reviews on the product from his customers and has people even coming from Ankeny looking for the product. The Ames business owner said Weed Free One contains Tri-mec, plus something called Cartentrazone, which helps penetrate into the weed's roots.

Brekke gets questions as to how fast the Creeping Charlie can be killed. He says it starts to die within 24 hours, and can take 7-14 days before the plant is dead.

"Another question is can we use it in the spring, or do we wait to fall, the answer is no, it is so bad out there now, we do not want to wait for fall," said Brekke. "If we did it, then it will just literally take over you whole lawn and you won’t have a lawn left by fall."