In our service area, crabgrass is one of the toughest weeds to control. Like a lot of the pesky weeds we see, this one looks just like it sounds. Crabgrass gets its name because it grows and stretches from a central root very low to the ground. The multiple leaves sprawl out like crab legs, and it seizes the opportunity to grow most prolifically in the late spring when conditions are optimal. Crabgrass seeks bare soil, sunlight and water, but will also grow in hot, dry conditions. The weeds spread enthusiastically all summer long, and by late summer seeds dominate the soil. Although the actual weed dies off in the fall, any remaining weeds can distribute enough seeds to re-germinate in the spring.
Crabgrass doesn’t harm your grass, but it can become a constant, year-round problem when not eradicated properly. The best method for eliminating crabgrass is a pre-emergent herbicide. This should be applied in the spring before the crabgrass begins to sprout. The herbicide works by establishing a chemical barrier at the surface of the soil. Once the crabgrass seeds start germination, they absorb the chemical and die before they can further develop. However, getting rid of crabgrass is only one step towards eliminating this stubborn weed from your lawn. Once the problem is under control, there are some recommended maintenance steps to making your lawn less crabgrass-prone…
Adjust Mower Height—Longer grass shades the area where crabgrass would otherwise grow. Setting the mower to a higher height will discourage crabgrass growth. This is why deep, thick lawns tend to be crabgrass-free.
Watering Techniques—Frequent, short watering sessions don’t thoroughly saturate the soil which gives crabgrass a place to thrive. Less frequent, deep watering that penetrates the soil at least 4 inches is best to warding off crabgrass.
Frequent Seeding—Crabgrass seeks out bare spots in a lawn, like along sidewalks, driveways and anywhere else grass seldom grows. By seeding these bare areas in the fall help to prevent crabgrass from germinating the next growing season.
Apply Mulch—Healthy soil combats crabgrass. As soon as patches of crabgrass are removed, mulch the area. Since crabgrass will grow year after year, keeping weed-prone areas mulched provides a barrier making it harder for seeds to germinate.
The best strategy to tackling crabgrass is a combination of pre-emergent herbicides and regular lawn care maintenance. To learn more about ProLawn’s organic approach to eliminating and preventing crabgrass, contact us today.