If there is one weed that creates more homeowner frustration than a dandelion, it has to be crabgrass!
No matter whether you live in the north or south, east or west, one or more of the many crabgrass varieties is actively growing and causing headaches in your town.
Crabgrass is an often-misunderstood weed. It is an annual plant, which means, as soil temperatures exceed 55 degrees for several days in Spring, it germinates from over-wintering seed. The more it grows and spreads, the uglier each plant becomes until, if not controlled, it can take over an entire lawn.
Left untreated, crabgrass flourishes in the summer heat and matures in early fall, dropping up to 100,000 seeds before turning purple and dying at first frost. And each one of those 100,000 seeds is potentially, a new crabgrass headache, waiting to germinate next spring.
Fortunately, crabgrass can be controlled. While cultural practices may not provide the complete solution, they should be used to minimize any invasion.
First, mow tall. When grass is mowed at over three inches, the blades form a shading canopy, keeping sunlight off crabgrass seeds resting on top of the soil. In addition, providing adequate irrigation, in lieu of rainfall, helps keep your lawn dense and healthy. This will also help to deter new crabgrass growth.
When cultural practices are not enough, apply a pre-emergent barrier in the spring, before crabgrass germinates. This application should be made before soil temperatures exceed 55 degrees. Your local university extension service will be able to provide treatment date ranges in your location.
Even the pre-emergent barrier may not be enough. At times, heavy spring rains, lawn traffic and maintenance can break up the chemical preventive barrier, allowing some crabgrass plants to break through. When this occurs, the simplest solution is to spot treat emerging plants with a hand spray container, available at any garden center.
For more details on crabgrass management, click the link below.