Crabgrass is an opportunistic Annual Grass that germinates in the late spring. Crabgrass continues to grow all summer and doesn’t really become ugly until late summer when it spreads seeds. When our cool season grasses become weakened by summer stress, Crabgrass will thrive and spread. If left unchecked season after season seeds that are dropped each season will multiply and spread.
Two species of crabgrass are found throughout the semi-tropical and temperate zones of the U.S. – smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischamum) and hairy crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis). Both are annual grasses that emerge in early to mid-spring and are killed by the first frost in fall. Crabgrass flowers throughout the summer and is a prolific seed producer. Crabgrass has one significant weakness in that the seed requires light to germinate. Consequently, a dense turf cover effectively resists invasion by crabgrass. But, anything that weakens the turf during the spring and summer, such as disease, insect damage, traffic or winter kill increases the likelihood of a crabgrass invasion. Often, cultural practices such as aeration and de-thatching increase the crabgrass problem by exposing the seed to favorable conditions-sunlight, moisture and high temperatures.
Crabgrass control requires a sound turf maintenance program together with a planned herbicide program. A dense turf is the best protection against invasion by crabgrass. Cultural practices that promote a dense, healthy turf include regular mowing and watering together with timely fertilization, aeration and de-thatching. Pest management including insect and disease control is also essential to preventing crabgrass invasions.
Since crabgrass germinates from April through September in most areas of the country (slightly shorter periods in other areas). All of these products should be applied about 2 weeks prior to the expected date of emergence of crabgrass. Since this date varies from North to South and from year to year, a specific date must be developed by turf managers from past experiences, climatic conditions and, perhaps, biological indicators.
We provide Crabgrass control before germination and when it’s actively growing.
What this means is that we have invested in the best products with minimal impact on the environment to provide you the best control possible. Our professional grade products allow us to apply it even after it germinates and still control and prevent Crabgrass. Not to mention it prevents other broad leaf weeds as well. Our normal treatment is applied in the spring and will prevent it all summer long. This is especially beneficial when your lawn has been compromised by grubs. Applying this in the spring will keep crabgrass out of the areas of damage allowing the lawn to grow normally. When September arrives you can then overseed the damaged areas and not have to deal with the crabgrass during seeding.
Things to know about Crabgrass
- It’s an annual – This means it drops seeds in the fall and new plants germinate from seeds the following year when temperatures are warm enough.
- Crabgrass weakens cool season turfgrass by steeling nutrients and water that are intended for our desirable grasses. Allowing crabgrass to flourish in your lawn will eventually weaken your lawn so much that the weed will take over. The same thing happens in vegetable and flower gardens.
- Crabgrass is a warm season grass. When soil temperatures are warm enough (above 70 degrees) Crabgrass seeds will sprout. Many people think it’s just their lawn filling in. It’s hard to tell the difference when Crabgrass plants are young. When the season progresses and the plants mature they get large and unsightly.
- A mature Crabgrass plant can produce upwards of 150,000 seeds each year. No wonder its everywhere!
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