School IPM Best Practices

Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie), Glechoma hederacea

ground ivy plants

John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org.

IPM Steps to Reduce Ground Ivy

1. Sample for Pest

Confirm the presence of ground ivy before you treat.

Where to find it while inspecting: Generally will be found in shady, moist areas in turf. Tends to colonize an area once established.

2. Proper ID

Is it ground ivy?

Size and Appearance: Low-growing, fan-shaped leaves with scalloped edges, ~1" diameter on square stems. Flowers are funnel shaped and blue-violet in groups of 2–3 near the tip of the stem. Is often found in widespread mats in turf.

3. Learn the Pest Biology

ground ivy flowers

Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org.

What is the life cycle of ground ivy?

Life Cycle: Spreads primarily by stolon but also by seeds.

Preferred Habitat: Ground ivy thrives in moist, shaded spots but will tolerate sun.

4. Determine Threshold

How much ground ivy is too much?

Threshold: Low—remove new plants promptly to avoid colonization.

5. Choose Tactics

Creating a healthy soil condition and understanding turfgrass’s needs is the first step in reducing turf pests. What are the best management practices for ground ivy?

Best Management Practices: Hand removal is the safest method of control and will require repeated attempts due to stolons. Reducing moisture and shade will slow the growth but not eradicate an infestation. Letting turfgrass grow taller will help it shade out germinating weed seeds. Give your turfgrass optimal conditions to outcompete ground ivy: maintain proper soil pH: 6.0 to 6.8 (test every 3–5 years). Fertilize at the proper time for turfgrass root development, primarily fall (late spring at times when turf is weak and thin), irrigate if needed, mow at proper height (removing no more than 1/2 of the blade), amend poor soil, choose proper turfgrass seed for your conditions, buy quality seed, overseed thin spots in fall or early spring, remove thatch.

Treatment Methods: If herbicide is used, the suggested application time is in the spring after ground ivy has started to flower. Efforts to reduce excess soil moisture will go far in reducing regrowth.

6. Evaluate

Was the tactic successful? Record the date pests were first noted, and the tactic you used, and its success. Use one of our RECORD KEEPING tools.

For More Information:

Ohio State University Extension: Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide: Ground Ivy

UMass Amherst: Agriculture and Landscape Program: Ground Ivy in Lawns


When a pesticide application is necessary, all necessary and required precautions are taken to minimize risk to people and the environment and to minimize risk of pesticide resistance or pest resurgence. Pesticide use in your school may be prohibited or regulated by local policies or state and federal regulations. Risk reduction methods can include, but are not limited to, spot-treatment, the use of gel or paste bait formulations placed in inaccessible locations, injection into a crack or crevice, and other methods that reduce potential exposure.