Crabgrass is a weed that has a tendency to take over lawns if left unattended. If this weed seems to be popping up in your lawn and trespassing on your property, take a stand this Spring. Being able to stop crabgrass is going to be a challenge that will require patience and resilience as it is all about timing and persistence.
Crabgrass is on a schedule. When it dies in the fall is can spread thousands of seeds that are able to survive the winter and germinate in the early spring. Thus, getting to those seeds early is the key to getting rid of the infestation since summer is the best time for it to grow. Start in the early spring with a pre-emergence herbicide, there are even grass fertilizers that have crabgrass preventatives in it. It is recommended to do the fertilizer and pre-emergence together, as a thicker grass will help choke out the crabgrass. Try Scotts Turf Builder Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food.
If you see some crabgrass beginning to sprout, pull it. When the weed is just beginning to sprout the root system is not very deep into the soil. Crabgrass sprouts are a light green. But, be careful before you start plucking and pulling. Crabgrass is tricky; when it begins to grow it will start to spread seeds quickly. If there are just a few leaves it will be fine, but if there are tines that fork out leave it alone! Those tines have lots of seeds that will fall into the hole that you ripped the parent plant from and start a whole new crop of crabgrass. It is best to just leave the weed be for the summer and get it next spring before it starts growing again.
If you used the preemergence herbicide and there are some mature plants coming into your turf then you need to spray them with some crabgrass killer. Use a hand pump sprayer and hose to spray those pests away. To speed up the process you should water the area that you just sprayed. This will cause the root system to drink in the poison quickly and the crabgrass will die faster. A side effect of spraying can be browning grass. If this does happen water the area some more, this will dilute the spray and help get some fresh water to the grass roots. Try Fusilade II Turf and Ornamental Herbicide.
If you seem to be losing the battle against the crabgrass you can always start again. Put your mower blade to the lowest setting, mow over the area, and begin removing all of the plant life with a straight edge shovel. Reseed the area and water it well. The trick with seeding is to seed or treat. You should not do both as you risk killing off the new grass. When the grass is growing well treat it the next spring with some of the preemergence herbicide and move on from there.
Crabgrass is a tricky weed that has a fast growing life, reseeds quickly, and can take over a yard. Make sure that you gauge your time well and put crabgrass treatment on the top of your spring to do list. Getting to it fast will increase your chances of winning the battle. If time is not on your side the spray can certainly help your odds. Either way, getting rid of crabgrass is important for the health of your lawn and is certainly a challenge that is achievable.
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