Triclopyr or Dicamba for Creeping Charlie?: ChemGuru Tips

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Last Updated on February 23, 2023 by Griselda M.

Which is better – triclopyr or dicamba for creeping charlie control? Either Triclopyr or Dicamba can be used as selective broad-leaf herbicides, allowing you to remove weeds from lawns. Herbicides always come with a certain amount of risk attached, and this article will allow you to navigate this risk to choose either or, or neither of these products to maintain your lawn.

When it comes to controlling weeds we have a few options. Removing the weeds is one option. Introducing biological controls to eliminate the weed is another, and finally using a plant poison – a herbicide – is in my opinion an option of last resort. I have over the years had to use these chemicals, and most of the time, in hindsight I now regret contaminating my soil and land with these agents.

There are however times when I guess we need to use these tools and armed with a bit of information about the products, you can make an informed decision as to what you wish to do. Killing creeping charlie is such a situation – this weed currently has no biological controls, and it is also nearly impossible to remove by mechanical means. It is a pest.

What Exactly is Triclopyr?

Triclopyr is a systemic herbicide that targets broad-leaf plants. This means that it is a herbicide that is absorbed into the plant, and if the plant is not grass, it will kill it. Technically it does not affect conifers as well. The plant is a metabolic disruptor. It exists in several formats, including a triethanolamine salt (Garlon IIIA) and a Tricopyr butoxy ethyl ester format (Garlon IV). If it is packaged with different delivery molecules it is also called Pathfinder II.

Hi-Yield (35261) Triclopyr Ester (8oz)

Triclopyr Or Dicamba

Triclopyr formulations are slow-acting and this means that the plant won’t be killed immediately but slowly. Usually, it can take a few weeks after application before the plant dies.

Triclopyr is available in different formulations and includes water-soluble preparations, oil-soluble formulations, as well as ready to use oil-based concentrations.

Follow the instructions on the label to ensure you do not kill your trees nearby with spray mist and other problems. This product can drift in the wind and cause problems.

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Dicamba is another type of systematic herbicide that targets primarily broad-leaf plants. It also kills conifers. This means that it can be used to control weeds in grass and grass crops.

Once dicamba herbicide is applied, it is absorbed through the leaves and roots of the target weeds. Then it is translocated all through the plant where it disrupts metabolism causing senescence and death. 


Broadleaf Herbicide with Triclopyr or Dicamba

Triclopyr or dicamba are effective herbicides that can be used for the control of different broadleaf weeds and this includes the right of way, forestry, railways, industrial areas, rangeland, and home lawns. It can also be used in permanent grass pastures, turf, rice, as well as plantation crops such as palm oil.

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Triclopyr or Dicamba for Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie which is also referred to as ground ivy is a member of the mint family that is a type of perennial invasive weed. It is usually referred to as ground ivy because of its appearance as well as growth habit or style. This weed can become a nightmare to some homeowners trying to achieve a nice clean lawn.

Although some gardeners or homeowners have come to accept and tolerate this weed because it attracts and provides food for pollinators. But the treatment or control of this type of weed requires an effective method.

Creeping Charlie is a perennial weed hence the proper timing of application of the right herbicide is one of the keys to successful control. The use of a good dicamba herbicide can destroy creeping Charlie in your garden, lawns, edges, and driveways. However, Triclopyr is one of the most effective options for the control or treatment of creeping Charlie.

For treatment of small areas where creeping charlie is growing in your lawn grasses, you can go for a selective herbicide such as 2,4-D, dicamba, or triclopyr, or you can even use a combination of these herbicides.

As a systematic herbicide, the best period to apply these herbicides (either triclopyr or dicamba) is autumn. During this period, creeping Charlie actively relocates nutrients from the leaves and shoots to the roots – in this way, it will relocate herbicide to its deep roots and kill these. Alternatively, applications in spring can also work, as the plant is maximally active at this point.

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Products with Triclopyr or Dicamba

Some examples of triclopyr or dicamba products include:

  • Speed zone weed killer
  • Monterey LG 5600 Spurge Powder Herbicide
  • Trimec Classic Broadleaf herbicide
  • PBI Gordon Q4 Plus herbicide
  • Pathfinder II
  • Southern Ag weed killer
  • T-Zone Turf herbicide

What is the Best Triclopyr Herbicide?

If you do have to use a herbicide preparation containing Triclopyr I would recommend Garlon 4 Ultra Triclopyr. I have used this product in the past to kill Eucalyptus tree stumps. Eucalyptus is one of the most impossible plants to kill, and this product worked. As you can tell I am not a huge fan of herbicides, but I was actually impressed with how this worked on the dreaded stumps. It really worked.

Is Triclopyr Safe for Lawns?

Generally, it is regarded as safe, and the EPA concurs. This does not mean that this will be the opinion forever – many things that were regarded as safe are now not. Time teaches. If you do need to kill broadleaf weeds in your lawn, I would suggest doubling up on caution – after spraying keep kids off the lawn for a week or so. Just in case. We do not really know 100% the effects of spraying complicated compounds on our living spaces.

What is High-Yield Triclopyr Ester?

The original Triclopyr product was its Triethanolamine salt – the next reincarnation of this herbicide was as a fatty acid ester, which is the High-Yield Triclopyr Ester. An example of a commercial formulation is Tricopyr butoxy ethyl ester format (Garlon IV).

This has slightly better penetration into the plants and is a more effective herbicide in many ways. The risk with the ester formulation is that it is more volatile and prone to drifting – so you could be spraying your lawn and inadvertently killing your rose bush nearby. The Triethanolamine salt is far more direct and does not volatilize as easily.

Does Roundup Kill Creeping Charlie?

Roundup is a herbicide that contains glyphosate. This is a relatively controversial chemical and currently is under review as to the EPA decision on its health status. A growing body of rigorously conducted scientific studies appears to link this chemical to various cancers, health problems, developmental issues in children, major environmental impacts, soil disturbances, and a list that goes on a lot further than this.

Roundup kills pretty much everything it touches. This is a very indiscriminate broad-spectrum herbicide. If you wish to completely delete all plants in a patch of turf, and then replant grass, you could look at this as an option. I have made the mistake of using this herbicide a few times when controlling grass on my verges and if you spray it in windy conditions it drifts and you find you have wafts of dead plants all over. It is a very effective herbicide!

Precautions to Note While Using These Herbicides

Follow the instructions on the label (or insert, or behind the label) to make sure you use the correct application rate for the weeds you are targeting.

Despite the low toxicity of Triclopyr on skin contact, it is still advisable to wear gloves and naturally a mask with pesticide removal cartridges and eye protection.

Precautions To Note While Using These Herbicides

Dicamba herbicides should also be used with caution. Although low in toxicity when inhaled, it is recommended that a mask be used. Mild symptoms when inhaled include dizziness, nose irritation, and coughing.

Dicamba can cause skin irritation. Dicamba is also moderately toxic if it contacts your eyes, hence wearing a mask is necessary.

Conclusion on Triclopyr or Dicamba?

Triclopyr or dicamba are both effective herbicides for tackling difficult broad-leaf plant species. Applied according to the instructions on the labels, and using the correct personal protection, they theoretically expose you to quite a low risk. Be overly cautious however, use full protective clothing (gloves, respirator, goggles) and remove and wash all clothes after application of the products. Keep kids off treated grass for a week after application.


Tricolpyr Or Dicamba Weed Killer?

So, when it comes to choosing between tricolpyr or dicamba weed killer we would recommend choosing any of them depending on the type of weed you want to get rid of. However, you may want to favor tricolpyr more when it comes to dealing with tough invasive weed such as creeping Charlie.

Read more about Dicamba Creeping Charlie – The Use Of Herbicides To Avoid Weeds – 5 Best Tips

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