The Q&A Archives: Creeping Charlie Infestation

Question: How do I get rid of Creeping Charlie in the middle of all of my beautiful phlox without killing the phlox? That area of the garden is overrun with creeping charlie and I can not keep up by pulling it out.

Answer: Is your phlox the creeping kind, too? I'm afraid there's no herbicide that would kill one and not the other! You may need to renovate the bed: remove all the phlox and unwind any creeping charlie tendrils from the plants; sift through the soil toremove any charlies that remain; put down a landscape fabric mulch and install edging around the bed as a barrier to future establishement. If you want allow your phlox to spread, insetead of mulch, use WithOutWeeds from Gardens Alive (5100 Schenley Pl.,Lawrenceburg IN 47025; ph# 812/537-8650), which inhibits seed germination while fertilizing the established plantings - and it's all natural! Just nip any charlies that start to creep into your phlox bed. If charlie is well established in your lawn, use this home remedy to control it: mix 10 ounces of 20-Mule Team Borax (available at your grocery store in the laundry soap section) in 2-1/2 gallons of water and applying the mixture to their lawn. The boron doesn't affect the grass, but overwhelms the roots of charlie. Cool weather reduces its effectiveness, so apply in May when the weather starts to warm. The University of Minnesota and Iowa State University have tested this recipe and report good results. And hopefully, you can wave charlie bye-bye!

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