Ground ivy is a creeping winter perennial. The leaves are round to kidney shaped with round toothed edges. The leaves are opposite on long petiole attached to square stems that root at the nodes. It is usually found in moist shaded areas, but also tolerates sun very well. Ground ivy will form dense mats which can take over areas of turfgrass. The flowers of ground ivy are blue to lavender and grow in clusters. It usually flowers in the spring. The flowers are funnel shaped and are located at the leaf axis or near the tip of the stem. Ground ivy spreads by stolons and sometimes by seed. Ground ivy closely resembles common mallow. Ground ivy is more common in the East, but can be found throughout the United States.
Ground ivy is a highly aggressive plant species which will quickly invade turf areas from adjacent properties or ornamental planting areas. Management attempts based on physical removal of ground ivy plants require constant vigilance and careful attention. The stem runners can be several feet long, and the failure to remove all plants along the entire length will result in re-infestation. Additionally, all planted ornamental beds must be cleaned out as well to avoid ground ivy spreading from these areas. If an adjacent property is not properly maintained and is infested with ground ivy, property perimeters will require constant attention. Maintenance of dense stands of turfgrass with good insect and disease control and a sound fertility program will help prevent major infestations.
Ground ivy in turf areas which must be maintained to high specification will require the application of a post-emergence broadleaf herbicide, generally in sequential applications every three to four weeks, but at least in the spring and fall. Optimum control will be obtained on ground ivy that is actively growing and in the 2-leaf to flower growth stage.