What is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is an opportunistic Annual Grass that begins to sprouts in the late spring anywhere that there is bare soil, water, and sunlight. Crabgrass continues to grow all summer and doesn’t really become ugly until late summer when it spreads seeds. After spreading seeds, Crabgrass is killed by the cold winter…but the seeds remain for next year. On a good quality lawn care program you are gradually building your lawns resistance to crabgrass. The longer you use our fertilizers, the better able your lawn will be to resist weeds.
Crabgrass is not actually bad for your lawn. It won’t crowd out your desired grasses…even though it looks like it does. The only problem with Crabgrass is that it looks bad in the late summer. If it doesn’t bother you, it isn’t doing any harm to your lawn.
Why do you have Crabgrass?
There are a few reasons lawns get Crabgrass…here are some helpful solutions:
Crabgrass is opportunistic, it will fill in any areas that are bare soil and receive sunlight. This often occurs around the edges of the driveway, sidewalk and tree lawn. Solution: Seed any damaged areas in the fall and again in the early spring to try to prevent bare areas and prevent Crabgrass from germinating.
Crabgrass loves compacted soil. Aerating in fall will help reduce the compaction in the soil. Seeding bare areas in spring and fall will also help.
University Studies show that mowing your grass tall (3.5 – 4 inches) will prevent more crabgrass than any chemical on the market. The tall grass shades the soil surface and helps prevent crabgrass from receiving the light it needs to grow. So start mowing high in April and continue that until October when you can start lowering your cutting height.
Too Much Water / Not Enough Water
Your soil is full of crabgrass seeds just waiting to germinate. Daily watering helps Crabgrass seeds sprout. For best results don’t water more than 2 times per week…applying enough water to fill up a tuna can in each session.
Crabgrass is all about the Weather
Some years are just perfect weather for Crabgrass. An especially rainy spring will help crabgrass germinate and hot summer will help it take off while other grasses go dormant. While you can’t fight Mother Nature, you can maintain a thick lawn…and mow it high!
Unfortunately there isn’t that much you can do about Crabgrass once you get it. The best solution is to thicken your lawn later in the summer by seeding to help prevent crabgrass from returning next year. Here are your options:
If it is manageable, pulling out crabgrass by hand or with a Speedy Weedy, (weed pulling tool) which is perfect for Crabgrass. If your lawn has a lot of Crabgrass, you may need to live with it this year, but work toward preventing it next year. Here’s how:
There are chemicals that sometimes work to kill Crabgrass. However, they’re not completely effective. If the crabgrass is already big and ugly, the chemicals will just turn it purple and uglier. Your best bet is to let Mother Nature take her course and kill it with cold weather.
A thick healthy lawn is the best defense against Crabgrass. Seeding in the late summer will add tougher modern grasses that can compete well with Crabgrass. Aeration and Seeding is great if the problem is throughout your lawn. If it’s just patches, rough up the dirt and seed in the fall and/or spring.
Don’t forget to mow high starting next spring to help keep all those seeds from being able to sprout!
Next spring and summer remember to do most of your watering in 2 sessions per week to reduce germination…not 20 minutes every day (which will help the Crabgrass germinate).
The most efficient way to control weeds and crabgrass is to have a thick lawn that crowds them out. You should consider having your lawn aerated and seeded this fall.