How to get rid of creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny, also known as moneywort or Lysimachia nummularia, is a fast-growing and vigorous groundcover.

The perennial plant grows with bright, small yellow flowers, with blooms that do not last long.

Although some homeowners grow it at home as an indoor hanging plant or groundcover, it is an aggressive and invasive species that can smother good plants and take over your vegetable garden.

It is reassuring to know that you can get rid of creeping Jenny naturally or by applying herbicides. You must eliminate it immediately when you see it growing in your yard, lawn, or garden. Otherwise, getting rid of it will be challenging since it will spread out aggressively and choke any plants in its path.

You can remove the plant using different methods, including digging it out, starving it of sunlight, or mulching. Other effective ways include chemicals and organic removal methods.

In extreme cases, it can take you two seasons to completely eliminate creeping jenny.

How to get rid of creeping Jenny

You can get rid of creeping Jenny using the following methods:

1. Pulling out the roots

Pulling out the plant’s roots is one of the most effective ways of removing creeping Jenny. But pulling out requires some care.

In other words, it may seem convenient to reach down and grab a handful of the plant and give it a sharp tug. However, you risk snapping the weed in two.

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As a result, the bottom half and the roots will still be in the ground. Therefore, take your time to pull out the weed.

Consider grabbing each creeping Jenny plant individually at the base and pulling it slowly and steadily. That will ease the roots from the soil and allow you to remove the entire root system.

Creeping Jenny
Image by: Flickr/Corey Raymond

2. Digging out the plant

You can use different weeding tools, such as the claw rake or a sharp blade hoe, to remove creeping Jenny naturally. Once you have the right tool, do the following:

  • First, position it behind the base of the plant.
  • Then, dig in and scoop out the plant.

Understand that the effectiveness of removing creeping Jenny through digging will depend on the weeding tool.

Ideally, a hoe with a sharpened blade is the best to remove the weed in multiples.

You can also use sharp prongs by driving them deep into the soil and pressing a foot pedal. The prongs will grip the plant’s toots securely and pull them out.

Alternatively, use hand shovels to dig out large weed roots or try an angled hand hoe to get rid of the plant in tight spots or in-between beneficial plants.

3. Smothering the plant

Smothering or suffocating creeping Jenny helps to prevent its re-growth. You can use a tarp, cardboard, plastic sheeting, or organic mulch to prevent light from reaching the plant, ultimately killing it.

Here is how to do it:

  • Put down a heavy layer of cardboard, plastic sheeting, tarp, or newspapers over the plant.
  • If possible, overlap the materials to prevent creeping Jenny from growing through visible cracks.
  • Anchor the material in place using stones, bark chips, or mulch.
  • Leave the treatment in place for a growing season.
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Since creeping Jenny is hard to eliminate, leave the covering for a year. The best organic mulches to consider are chopped leaves, compost, grass clippings, pine needles, shredded bark, and wood chips.

The covering will hinder sunlight from reaching the plant and discourage its growth. As a result, expect creeping Jenny to die within three to five months.

4. Use vinegar to kill creeping Jenny

Vinegar is acidic and non-selective. It will kill any plant it touches. You can use vinegar to kill creeping Jenny by combining it with dishwashing soap.

Here is how:

  • Mix one gallon of white vinegar with four teaspoons of dishwashing soap.
  • Pour the mixture into a garden sprayer.
  • Spray the solution on the creeping Jenny on a hot, sunny day. Ensure to cover the plant’s leaves and bases.

You can kill the plant with malt, distilled, or white vinegar. The dishwashing soap is crucial because it will help the vinegar stick to creeping Jenny and allow the acid to kill its cell structure.

What spray kills creeping Jenny?

If you prefer chemical treatment, use a herbicide spray containing 2, 4-D to eliminate the plant. Alternatively, you can use a herbicide that combines trifluralin or glyphosate.

Is creeping Jenny hard to get rid of?

Creeping Jenny is a perennial weed that is harder to manage once established. When the plant passes its seedling stage, it develops into rhizomes and extensive root systems that help reproduction.

Therefore, you require several treatments to eliminate it permanently, especially if you pull it out by hand.

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Are creeping Jenny and creeping Charlie the same?

Creeping Jenny and creeping Charlie are not the same plants. The plants are similar but grow differently.

For example, creeping Jenny is a groundcover plant, while creeping Charlie is a low-growing weed. Creeping Charlie tends to invade gardens and lawns.

However, creeping Jenny can be an ornamental plant. Also, creeping Charlie has steps that grow up to 30 inches, while creeping Jenny reaches a height of 15 inches after maturity.

creeping jenny
Image by: Flickr/Rita L

Does creeping Jenny come back every year?

Creeping Jenny is a perennial plant that will survive a cold winter and return in the spring. Thus, the plant will re-grow every year if not disturbed.

How long does it take creeping Jenny to spread?

Creeping Jenny takes roots in areas where the weather is mild and regular water is available. However, it takes at least a month or two for creeping Jenny seedlings to appear.

The plant will then establish within three or four months. Also, if the plant appears in your garden in early spring, you will see its blossoms in summer.

Wrapping up

Creeping Jenny is a fast-growing, perennial, and vigorous groundcover that grows with bright, small yellow flowers.

Unfortunately, it is an invasive plant that can smother good plants and take over your vegetable garden, lawn, or yard.

You can get rid of it through suffocating, digging it out, hand pulling, or using a combination of vinegar and dishwashing soap.

Although you can use chemicals to eliminate the plant, organic methods are also effective.

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