Crabgrass (annual grass)
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. If you are on our Natural Foundation 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 recieve 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.
Salty Soil - Tree Lawn
Crabgrass loves salt. If you live in an area with salted roads, your tree lawn is at a high risk for crabgrass. Solution: Liquid Aeration in Spring and fall will help reduce the amount of salt in the soil. Seeding bare areas in spring and fall will also help.
Mowing too Short
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 recieving 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. If you really like the look of nice short lawn, you might consider seeding with our green clover which will shade the soil and prevent weeds even if its mowed short.
Watering too Frequently
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.
Good Weather Conditions for Crabgrass
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!
What can you do if you have Crabgrass?
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:
Spot chemical spray
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.
Thicken your lawn and minimize bare patches
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. Super 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.
Use Good Nature fertilizers
If you are on our Natural Foundation Program, you are gradually building your lawns resistance to Crabgrass. The longer you use our fertilizers the better able to resist weeds your lawn will be.
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).