Crabgrass can be an ugly blot on the face of to an otherwise beautiful lawn. However, proper lawn care and the use of a pre-emergence herbicide can help your lawn look its best!
Crabgrass is a warm-season annual grass that grows close to the ground. As it spreads, it makes roots wherever the stems touch the soil. That said, this weed relies primarily on seed for its spread throughout the lawn and just one plant can produce as many as 53,000 seeds!
Warm season plants produce seeds that germinate in spring. Crabgrass seeds begin to germinate when soil temperatures go above 55 degrees F for several consecutive days. The key to controlling this nasty weed is to apply a pre-emergence herbicide about two weeks prior to the expected date of its emergence. For continued warm season weed control, a second application should be made about two months after the first.
Be sure to water in pre-emergence herbicide applications. Typically a half-inch of irrigation water is necessary to dissolve the granules and uniformly coat the soil which prevents new weeds. Refer to the label for specific instructions for each product. Be aware that even after activation, low levels of soil moisture can adversely affect crabgrass control. If weed seeds germinate in dry conditions, they may not absorb enough herbicide to kill the plants.
Applying pre-emergence herbicides evenly is an important factor in successful crabgrass control. If a prepackaged granular product is used and the label states the amount of area it will cover, measure the turf area to accurately obtain the square footage. Furthermore, aerating or dethatching the lawn after the pre-emergence herbicide application may significantly disturb the herbicide barrier.
Providing the proper conditions for your grass can go a long way to help reduce crabgrass in the lawn. Crabgrass thrives in infertile and sandy soils. So improving soil fertility will help the grass in your lawn better compete with the crabgrass.
There are a number of steps you can take that will improve your lawn’s battle against crabgrass. Mow the grass at the correct height and never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at one time. Water the lawn deeply and infrequently. If possible, water the lawn weekly during drought conditions. It should be noted that light, frequent irrigation may encourage weed seed germination, even if a pre-emergence herbicide has been applied. Fescue should be over seeded in the fall to maintain a thick stand.
Any seeding of the lawn should be delayed by six to 16 weeks following the pre-emergence herbicide application and depending upon the product used. This is to prevent damage or death of the grass seedlings. For newly seeded lawns, always wait until the new lawn is established before applying a pre-emergence herbicide. Do not apply pre-emergence herbicides to the soil before laying sod, or to new sod, as the herbicide may affect root growth. Check the product label for specific information on timing.
Many effective products are on the market for crabgrass prevention. Always read the label to determine if an herbicide will control the weed and also if it will be safe on your type of grass. Remember that good cultural practices will go a long way in producing a healthy lawn.
For answers to your crabgrass questions, please visit us and speak to our landscape specialists. They will give you the answers you need and guide you to the products that will best suit your needs!
Step 1 of the GreenView Lawn Program is a great solution to your crabgrass problems! Not only will you prevent crabgrass now, you will be feeding your lawn with the GreenSmart technology offered by GreenView!