The Q&A Archives: Creeping Charlie and bittersweet vine

Question: I moved in to this house last year with a neglected yard. I've been working hard this year to bring it back. Cutting back the bittersweet vines so they stop choking out the trees and trying to pull up the creeping charlie. I tried using Weed-B-Gon Max on the creeping charlie a couple of weeks ago but it did NOTHING and the bittersweet keeps popping up in the flower and raspberry beds that were already there. Any suggestions on how to stop these weeds?

Answer: Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) can be a real pest. Many gardeners have had good luck eradicating the plant by mixing 10 ounces 20-Mule Team Borax in 2-1/2 gallons of water and applying the mixture to the weeds. The boron doesn't affect turfgrass, but overwhelms the roots of creeping Charlie. Cool weather reduces its effectiveness so apply in May or June when the weather starts to warm. The University of Minnesota and Iowa State University have tested this recipe and report good results. In a flower bed, it might not work - the roots of your plants may also be affected. So, hand pulling and then covering the bare soil with weed barrier will at least keep it from sprouting among your perennials. Bittersweet vine is just as difficult to control and most herbicides simply won't stop it. Cutting it back and then painting the just cut stubs with glyphosate (Round Up) will at least slow it's progress. Digging out the roots is another method of control. And, as with creeping charlie, if you can cover the bare soil (weed barrier, or several thicknesses of newspaper covered with organic matter) should stop new sprouts from emerging.

Best wishes in reclaiming your landscape!

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