Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Charlie don't surf

Having lost most of the front lawn to creeping charlie last year, we are determined to fight back this year. Turns out the U. of M. Extension is one of the nation's great resources for gardening--from industrial agriculture on down to urban weed plots.

It was there that we learned the only traditional remedy against Glechoma hederacea is Borax. Furthermore, it also turns out to be a bad idea. Studies from the Extension office suggest that if Borax is effective at killing creeping charlie, it is also effective at killing grass. In other words, unless you get the dose just right, you have a better than even chance of killing the patient with the medicine.

No, this is going to be a ground war. The best weapon against creeping charlie--ground ivy, creeping jenny--is the human hand. It's actually kind of sadistic and fun to find charlie's little runners that have created a vast net across the lawn. Follow the thread, hear the little stems pop, watch the pile of glossy green leaves grow on the sidewalk. It's easy to pull up, and with regular flyovers, we're told that we'll have regained our turf by mid-July.

Enjoy the smell of creeping charlie in the morning--it's a distant relative of mint, and redolent of warm summer days, iced tea, and long rides on the lawn tractor.

U of M Extension, http://www.extension.umn.edu/