Crabgrass is one of the most common and most annoying weeds that home and business owners face here in Washington. You spend a lot of time and effort trying to make your lawn perfect but these pesky weeds just keep coming back.
Crabgrass is a summer annual, meaning these weeds have a life of just one year. They germinate in the spring, grow throughout the summer, then die in the winter. During their life-cycle, they can produce a large number of seeds to ensure you’ll be fighting them again next year. Crabgrass seeds can lay dormant in your yard for years so fighting them is an uphill battle.
That’s where pre-emergent crabgrass control comes in. Pre-emergent crabgrass control kills seedlings as they start to germinate but knowing when to apply is important for effective results. Crabgrass seedlings begin to germinate when soil temperatures reach 62 degrees. Pre-emergence should be applied before germination begins. So when soil temperatures are in the low to mid-50s it’s time to apply. An easy way to check if the time is right is if shrubs are in bloom and trees are starting to bud.
If crabgrass has already had the chance to establish itself then pre-emergent herbicides will not be an option.
Post-emergence or post-emergent herbicides simply kill the crabgrass plants. Post-emergent herbicides should only be applied to visible weeds. The amount you should use depends on the type of grass you have in your yard so consult the directions carefully before using.
Apply post-emergence on a calm sunny day with no rain in the forecast. If it rains before the herbicide has had a chance to be absorbed into the plant it will wash off and be ineffective. It’s best to apply in the morning after the dew has dried to give the herbicide enough time to absorb into the weeds.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy lawn is the best line of defense against crabgrass. When your turf is thick and robust, crabgrass can’t take hold. Be sure to follow a watering schedule and fertilize regularly.
Crabgrass needs plenty of light and warm soils to germinate, so if you keep your grass longer it will create shade near the surface. Cutting too short will allow crabgrass to germinate and crowd out your turf grass.
Remember, herbicides that kill crabgrass also kill Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue. Therefore, if you treat your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide, you cannot seed. And if you seed early, you cannot apply a pre-emergent herbicide. The trick is to control crabgrass in the spring and seed in the late summer. If you follow these techniques you will be able to turn your lawn into the lawn of your dreams and never have to worry about crabgrass again.
Preventing crabgrass is a year-long chore that requires vigilance, patience, and dedication. It might take a full year or more to get the crabgrass problem under control. If you are looking for faster results then call the pros at Colonial Lawn & Garden. They have the skills and experience to eliminate crabgrass and prevent it from coming back.