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Weeds are popular for a simple, yet annoying reason. It is the fact that they are adamant and stubborn to control.
How they manage to thrive even in really unfavorable conditions, keeps gardeners and farmers consistently busy trying to devise means to get rid of them.
Their propensity to spread is another annoying fact about weeds. It is such that whole vegetations, carefully mowed and dressed by a hardworking gardener, filled with beautiful plants, could get choked up by some unwanted plant- weed in months.
This is the case for the ground ivy also called creeping charlie.
The creeping Charlie plant goes by several names, some of which include: ground ivy, gill-over-the-ground, alehoof, tunhoof, coltsfoot, field-balm, and runaway robin.
The status of the creeping Charlie as a weed is a controversial one. The reason is that the creeping Charlie is an edible plant and is grown by some people for ornamental purposes.
But, Its status as a weed is validated on the premise that it is difficult to control and has an invasive nature, growing so much in areas where it is not wanted.
It is a perennial that grows on various plant clusters and survives under very intense conditions. It is propagated both asexually and sexually and has a quick germination period.
As a mower-resistant weed, there are only a few things that can help control the growth and spread of the ground ivy on lawns. One of such control agents is called Borax.
Borax is also known as sodium tetraborate decahydrate. It is an herbicide effective for the control of ground ivy on lawns, gardens, and plant fields.
It is a chemical compound comprising sodium, boron, and oxygen. Borax is highly toxic and can kill grasses as well as weeds if applied wrongly.
In this article, we will be showing you how to get rid of the ground ivy or creeping Charlie weed using the right mixture of borax.
If you have your lawn and gardens being choked up by ground ivies, this article is just the right guide to help you get rid of them all and create the much-needed space your grasses have always craved for.
This article uses the words “creeping Charlie” and “ground ivy” interchangeably to refer to the weed being discussed.
How to Get Rid of Creeping Charlie with Borax
Borax is made up of sodium, oxygen, and boron. These chemical elements in the Borax herbicide are put in there for the multiple functions the borax performs.
Borax is used as a cleaning agent, a bug removal agent, a mildew preventive, and a preservative for cut flowers.
Applied in different quantities, the borax herbicide can perform a lot of functions.
Its weed-killing function is facilitated by the presence of boron in a concentrated amount.
Boron is a chemical element that exists in crystalline and amorphous states. Every soil contains Boron in minute amounts that help plant growth and survival.
But plants do not like excess boron. This is because excess of it leads to boron toxicity in the soil.
Boron toxicity leads to yellowing or browning of leaves, then leads to wilting and eventually death of the plant.
This is what the boron in borax does to the ground ivy weed.
The question now becomes, if the application of borax on the ground ivy, causes boron toxicity which kills the ground ivy, what about the plants that grow alongside the ivy?
As in the already existing plants in the lawn where the ground ivy grows like a weed.
The answer to this question is in the fact that certain quantities of borax applied to the lawn, will only be toxic to the ground ivy and not to the grasses in the lawn.
But an over-application of the Borax on the lawn could lead to the destruction of both weeds and plants.
Below, is a guide on how to effectively apply Borax to your lawn to get rid of the creeping Charlie weed, without harming the other plants on the lawn;
1. Scoop 10 oz. of borax into a big bowl and mix with 3 gallons of water
2. Stir well and mix until the crystalline state is dissolved completely in the water
3. Apply this water and borax solution completely on hundred square feet of a lawn growing the ground ivy weeds
4. Observe the lawn for about two weeks and check to see that the ground ivies are drying up.
Does Borax Kill Creeping Charlie in Lawns
A lawn is an area of short grasses regularly mown and kept neat.
The problem with lawns is that people tend to depend on mowing as a way of keeping weeds in check.
But, mowers are effective for most weeds except the creeping Charlie weed.
The best that happens is shredding of some of the plant’s vines and production of minty aromatic smells, after which the creeping Charlie springs up again, slowly choking the grasses out of the lawn.
Borax is an effective means of killing creeping Charlie in lawns because they are chemicals that kill the plant and its regenerative vines.
It destroys the weed roots and makes the soil uninhabitable for the ground ivy.
So, yes, Borax kills creeping Charlie on lawns. Not only on lawns; everywhere the creeping Charlie is found.
How Long Does Borax Stay In Soil
We advise that the application of borax on soil growing both plants and creeping Charlie should be done sparingly.
This is because borax accumulates in the soil over time and can affect soil acidity. A single application of borax could stay in the soil for as much as three years.
This keeps building up in the soil until the soil is too toxic to grow healthy plants.
We also advise that after the first application of the borax, some time should be spared before the next application to properly observe the effect of the borax on the ground ivy.
Sometimes, the effects of borax on the ground ivy could be delayed, this is usually due to the resistant nature of the weed.
Do not be tempted to increase the amount of borax as well as the frequency of application.
If you do, you risk losing both the whole lawn and the ability of the soil to yield in the future.
How Do I Know That Borax is Working
The following are signs to look out for in your lawn or garden to ascertain whether your application of borax is affecting the creeping Charlie weeds:
1. Yellowing of the leaves of the ground ivy. In some cases, the leaves turn brown and look like it is sunburned.
2. The stems of the ground ivy which is usually in the form of vines, grow weak and begin to untwine.
It is such that they can easily be dragged and cut by simple hand movements.
3. Leaf tips of the creeping Charlie start to turn brown and eventually spreads to the whole plant.
How Do You Get Rid Of Creeping Charlie Naturally?
The ground ivy can be gotten rid of without necessarily employing the use of borax or other herbicides.
They can be eliminated using the natural weeding technique. Not with hoes or cutlasses, but with hands.
This is because the creeping Charlie has vines that intertwine with the plant that weeding with hoes could get the other needed plants destroyed.
Hence the only natural means of getting rid of creeping Charlie weeds is by hand weeding.
This method is usually slow and sometimes injurious to the skin.
At full bloom, the creeping ivy has rough sharp edges that could prick the skin and hands of those who try to pull them out.
These rough edges usually go weak during spring making it the most recommended time of the year for hand weeding the creeping Charlie.
Important Precautions When Using Borax
As you have read above, Borax is a harmful herbicide and chemical. The wrong usage could be harmful to the farmer and his crops.
This is why we have thought it wise to state a few precautions for using Borax.
Strict adherence to these guidelines will ensure that nothing goes wrong with you and your lawn while you use borax in getting rid of creeping Charlie weeds.
Precautionary measures when using borax are:
1. Moderate application
2. Apply distilled water to the soil
Moderate Application: do not apply the borax excessively on the field.
Ensure to dilute it in a good amount of water. You do not want to eliminate the weeds and grasses together.
Apply distilled water to the soil: When the weeds are dead and the field is free of every creeping Charlie weed, you should frequently water the plants with distilled water rather than water from taps.
This is because the soil already contains some level of boron and tap water also contains some amount of boron.
Chances are that the boron concentration in the soil would quickly be heightened and start to kill plants.
Applying distilled water helps to dilute the soil and prevents the risk of boron toxicity.
We have established the following verified facts:
- Creeping Charlie weeds can be ornamental but are mostly weeds because of their invasive nature
- Creeping Charlie goes by several names but our favorite is ground ivy because the weed resembles an ivy plant.
- Borax is a herbicide made up of sodium, boron, and oxygen.
- In Borax, the toxic element needed to control the ground ivy is boron
- Boron is an essential element in plants but can get toxic to a plant’s growth if they are excess in the soil.
- Boron application to the soil eventually accumulates and might become harmful to the soil
- Applying boron to the soil should follow precautionary measures.
Ground ivy, creeping Charlie, and all the other names they go by, can be grown as an ornamental plant and eaten for food.
The only problem with them is the difficulty of control. This is why Borax remains a recommended control chemical.
We advise that great care be taken when using the borax.