benali
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Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

I decided to reduce how much lawn grass I have in my yard -- it's lots of effort to mow, plus mowing causes lots of noise and air pollution from the silly lawnmower. I figure, why not go with a native groundcover as a replacement?

The back part of my yard has a lot of creeping charlie growing there naturally. Charlie is the member of the mint family that tolerates cutting by lawnmowers and grows where there's not quite enough sun for a full flush lawn

Creeping charlie photos -- http://www.google.com/search?q=creeping ... 80&bih=900.

I figure, why not let the creeping charlie take over that part of the lawn?

So what I'm wondering is how I go about this. I thinking that I will not mow that area, then as it gets taller, I'll try pulling out the remaining grass.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

Personally, I wouldn't worry about pulling the grass. Given time and favorable conditions, the creeping charlie will crowd it out. Conditions that help it along are shade, moist soil, and low fertility. So keep your area dampish, don't fertilize. You will also weaken the grass if you keep it mowed pretty short. The creeping charlie is right near the ground. So just set your mower height just above the c.c. Mowing half or more of the grass blade down when you mow, weakens the grass and gives the c.c. more of a competitive edge.
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imafan26
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

My grass is slowly dying and being taken over by more weeds. I would like to reduce the lawn further but HOA requires 50% grass.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

Re: "So what I'm wondering is how I go about this. I thinking that I will not mow that area, then as it gets taller, I'll try pulling out the remaining grass."

Let me clarify a little more. Along with making the conditions more favorable for the c.c. and less favorable to grass, by keeping it damp and not fertilizing, I think you do want to mow, but less frequently. When you are trying to help the grass, they say not to cut off more than 1/3 of the blade of grass at a time, so set the mower high and mow frequently. So to weaken the grass, you would let it get a bit tallish and then mow short, just above the c.c. level. Then wait awhile, let the grass start growing out and do it again. That way you are taking off a lot more of the grass blade at a time and that weakens the grass, giving the c.c. a competitive advantage.
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benali
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

RBG, Thanks for the tips. That's very clever about how to mow the grass. I'll try it, I bet it'll work. Cool idea.

I wouldn't be surprised if my problem ends up being how to keep the C.C. from taking over the entire lawn, instead of just a section of it. I may place stones around the C.C. section to kind of articulate where it should be, then make sure I keep the lawn grass outside of that area healthy.

Imafan26, HOA's! They seem to come up with so many rules they don't really need to create, and often they have unintended consequences. Even if you have to maintain a lawn, I hope you're able to do other kinds of planting and gardening you might enjoy. Cheers.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

Yes indeed, the problem will be to keep the c.c. from taking over the rest of the lawn. To start with you want to do the opposite of everything I said. Your best defense is to keep the grass as healthy as possible.

So keep it sunny, very well drained, fertile. Mow frequently, with the mower set high and only take a little bit of grass off at a time.

The rocks might show you where the lawn area is, but won't stop the creeping charlie. For that you would need some kind of pound in edging that is 6" high above grouond and also goes down 6" in to the soil. That will at least slow it down.
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benali
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I've Decided: I'm going to let Creeping Charlie creep!

Ok, I've decided ... I'm going to let Creeping Charlie creep.

I've left a back section of my lawn, measuring about 5' by 25', without cutting it with the lawnmower. This area varies between 100% to 80% C.C. (the rest is lawn grass). So I'll weed this area and pull out any remaining grass. And I'll let C.C. take it over, without mowing it anymore.

I'll probably put some edging around the area. This won't keep C.C. from spreading out further into the lawn, but it will give the area a nice delineated look -- on one side, C.C. growing as a 6" groundcover, with its pretty little flowers in season. On the other side, lawn grass mixed with C.C., but well-cut by the lawnmower, so you really can't tell C.C. is in there unless you look close.

Advantages -- less mowing, noise and pollution. Gardening with a native species that really, really wants to grow in my yard anyway.

Disadvantages -- none that I know of ... well see.

If this experiment succeeds, I'll post some pictures next year in spring or early summer.

Thanks for your advice on this project, RBG, I'm sure I speak for many when I say we appreciate your comments on this forum!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

Creeping charlie was not actually native to America, but it has been here a long time and has thoroughly naturalized. It was intentionally brought over by the earliest European settlers as a medicinal herb. Tea made from it is very high in Vitamin C and so helps prevent scurvy, which was a real problem back then. Used topically, it makes a good poultice for bruises. It has been used to help against coughs and headaches. It is in the mint family and can be used fresh in salads, if you appreciate a slightly bitter taste.
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Re: Goodbye lawn grass, hello creeping charlie

imafan26 wrote:My grass is slowly dying and being taken over by more weeds. I would like to reduce the lawn further but HOA requires 50% grass.
Good Lord - do I HATE HOA's. In fact, when my husband & I were house/farm hunting, our first & non-negotiable requirement was NO HOA!!!!! It's my money, my life, my land, my house. I bought it, & no one is going to tell me what I can or cannot do with it (apart from anything that might be injurious to others). Especially along the lines of paint colors, fencing, plantings, etc., etc. Sorry, but HOA's are nothing but evil power trips.
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