How To Prevent Crabgrass In The Spring
It is far easier to stop crabgrass in the spring before it becomes a nuisance in the summer. Crabgrass seeds can start to germinate in the spring once the soil reaches 55 °F, so crabgrass preventers, like Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food, should be applied in early to mid-spring before the crabgrass starts to develop. If youre also dealing with broadleaf weeds, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action instead. Not only does it prevent crabgrass for 4 months and feed your lawn, but it also kills weeds like dandelion and clover. Just seeded your lawn? Opt for Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action Built For Seeding instead. It protects new grass from crabgrass and other weeds while helping it get established more quickly and grow thicker.
How To Prevent Crabgrass In The Lawn
The key with crab grass is to prevent it every year. Its very easy to come back and take over, so its not worth the risk. Having a thick, tall, healthy lawn will prevent it as well but you cant get there if crabgrass is taking over every summer. So especially if your lawn is thin or short cut, apply a crabgrass preventer every spring.
How To Remove Crabgrass From Your Lawn
There are a few effective ways to get rid of crabgrass. Crabgrass will die on its own in the fall, usually after first frost. However, if you don’t remove it before it disperses its seeds, you will have to deal with the pesky weed again the following year. The best way to get rid of crabgrass is to remove the weedy clumps as you see them.
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Bare Spots And Thin Lawn
If your lawn seems very thin and neglected or has suffered from drought, it may need rejuvenation. This assumes youll provide good follow-up lawn care afterwards in terms of mowing, irrigation, and fertilizing. See our lawn care tips.
Here are several options:
What Is Crabgrass And Why Not Just Let It Grow
Crabgrass and other unwanted weeds steal valuable moisture and nutrients from the soil, taking them away from plants you value such as lawn grasses, flowers and vegetables. Crabgrass can also make a lawn look unkempt. As an annual grass sown from seed, when the plants die in the fall, they leave gaping holes throughout the lawn during the winter.
The first step in managing and repelling any intruder is to identify the enemy. Once you learn what crabgrass looks like, its important to learn several methods of controlling this weedy grass. Biological control of crabgrass is easier than youd think, but there are also several crabgrass control products available at your local nursery and garden center that kill unwanted crabgrass or prevent it from sprouting in the first place.
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Further Tips To Consider
These tips will come in handy when using this organic weed treatment.
- Remember to spot-treat the areas with crabgrass, otherwise, you might end up harming your lawn if you spread sodium bicarbonate all over it.
- Different lawn grasses have varying resistances. For example, Bermuda grass is fairly resistant. So, if your lawn has crabgrass weeds among Bermudagrass, you can use baking soda to kill it.
How To Fix My Ugly Lawn And How Long Will It Take
An ugly lawn can be very frustrating. You might feel as though youve tried to give your lawn what it needs but you still see weeds popping up or bare spots where no grass is growing. Or maybe you know youve neglected your lawn for a season or two and now it just seems beyond repair.
You may not be sure whats involved with fixing an ugly lawn.
For one, you may not be sure how much time it will take to fix your lawn. And without any lawn care expertise of your own, you might feel concerned that youll make the wrong choices and prolong the process.
It may all feel a bit overwhelming. You just want to restore your lawn with as few headaches as possible.
Thats why youre looking to understand the best methods to achieve your goals. Youd like a realistic timeline of how much time it will take, as well as what actually needs to be done to get started on improving your lawn.
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Use Fertilizer With Crabgrass Preventer Added To It
- Use a fertilizer with crabgrass preventer added to it to save time. These combination products are readily available in the spring and cost about $20 for a 5,000-sq.-ft. bag at garden centers.
- Apply the crabgrass preventer/fertilizer combo just before it rains to work the fertilizer and the herbicide into the soil. The fertilizer will help thicken the turf. Thicker turf helps to squeeze out crabgrass plants missed by the herbicide.
- Be sure to apply the product at the right time, between the second and third mowings of the year, when the soil reaches about 52 degrees F. Apply too early and micro-organisms and natural processes in the soil break down the herbicide. By the time its needed, much of the product has lost its potency. Apply too late and youve missed the early stage of germination when the herbicide works.
Best Lawn Maintenance Practices
A healthy lawn growing on healthy soil does an exceptional job of resisting a crabgrass infestation. The time, effort and expense of getting rid of crab grass could instead be put into building a resistant lawn environment.
When cutting your lawn, dont mow too low! Taller grass will shade the soil and make it less hospitable for many weed seeds to develop. Most grasses do well at a mowing height of 2 to 3, and some varieties even higher.
Crabgrass responds favorably to nitrogen applications. Meaning, if you are growing for cattle forage, throw the fertilizer on. But restrict fertilizer applications on the typical home lawn when your goal is getting rid of crab grass. Find some valuable guidelines in a series of articles on Fertilizers.
Abundant moisture makes a prime germination setting for weeds.Avoid daily watering of lawns that keeps the soil constantly moist on top. Deep irrigation done less frequently will promote deeper roots, healthier grass, and fewer weeds.
Do you currently employ a lawn service company? Ask if they rinse/blow off their mower at previous job sites. You dont want them bringing weed seeds from a problem lawn.
If you are considering bringing on some professional help, for a project like this or regular maintenance, get more tips like this and be completely informed. You deserve to get the full value from your expenditure.
As this lawn care site develops, you will discover all you need to build, renovate, or maintain a healthy lawn.
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Q: Does Crabgrass Die In The Winter
A: Well-established crabgrass has tolerance to light frost, but generally wont take constant frost-and-thaw cycles. It wont survive hard frosts and freezes. If you live in the southern half of the US, it might survive year-round. Northern dwellers will see their crabgrass die off during cold months, making use of pre-treatments easier.
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Controlling Crabgrass In The Spring
An effective way to eliminate crabgrass is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide before the crabgrass seed in your lawn can germinate. Timing when you apply the pre-emergent herbicide is very important. If done too early, while it is still too cold, crabgrass will most likely grow anyway. If applied too late, you may not see much benefit either. You should consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide when soil temperatures in your area approach 55 degrees F.
Many resources exist to help determine when this occurs, such as the growing degree day tracker from Michigan State University. This tracker can be helpful if you live in the Great Lakes region of the United States.
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How To Prevent Crabgrass In Garden And Lawn
Most professionals recommend using pre-emergent herbicides to prevent crabgrass from growing again. However, its full of chemicals and toxins that are dangerous to the soil and you.
Its possible to find organic herbicides, but they might not be effective. Overall, its better to use natural prevention methods to avoid health issues and damage to the lawn.
Everyone knows that prevention is easier than curing something once it happens. That definitely applies here. The best thing you can do is to have a healthy, thick turf.
Thats going to prevent crabgrass from germinating and establishing itself. With that, it cant spread out to the rest of the lawn.
Typically, crabgrass thrives in dry, poor soil. Therefore, you should make sure that you keep it watered sufficiently and give it extra nutrients that the grass needs.
Here are a few other tips to consider:
- Aerate the lawn once every year. This adds more oxygen to the soil to help the grass grow and establish roots.
- Dethatch the lawn if you see buildup. You want more grass than anything else.
- Use an organic fertilizer or compost. Spread it around with a rotary spreader or a rake. You can do this twice a year to grow a thick lawn and reduce weeds.
- Make sure that you over-seed the bare patches of earth in early spring/fall. Bare spots can quickly fill with crabgrass or other weeds.
Problem: Crabgrass Invasion Solution: A Multi
Youre smart to tackle this pesky weed. Besides being an eyesore, crabgrass typically dies off at the first frost, promoting soil erosion. Applying corn gluten meal, a natural alternative to chemical herbicide, in early spring can help contain the problem. Follow with a spring fertilizer. As the mowing season begins, dont cut the grass too short, since this can open the door again for crabgrass. Set the deck on your mower or tractor to around 3½ inches. Most decks have notches, not inches, so getting the height just right can take some trial and error.
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Recognize And Remove Crabgrass Early
- Pull out crabgrass as soon as you spot it. Young plants leave only a small hole in your turf, which desirable grass types will quickly fill.
- Look for light green grass blades thickening up your Kentucky Blue once your lawn’s been growing for a couple months. Before you think your lawn is having an exceptional season, think again: It’s likely to be young crabgrass.
- Carefully pull out the young crabgrass shoots. Pulling at this early stage is a surprisingly effective way to get rid of crabgrass. Young crabgrass plants perfect for pulling have two to four sets of leaves but no splayed seed heads. But if the weed has pushed up three or four rows of leaves, inspect it carefully before you snatch it.
Is It Better To Pull Weeds Or Hoe Them
Pulling weeds is far more effective than cutting them with a string trimmer, hoe, or lawn mower. If you pull a weed out entirely, including the roots, then the weed will be killed and will not grow back. If you cut a weed instead of pulling it, the roots of the weed will try to send up new shoots over and over.
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How To Treat Crabgrass Problems
- Written byDoityourself Staff on Aug 18, 2009To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by Kathy Bosin on Jun 20, 2012
Crabgrass is a seasonal weed that can grow prolifically in a lawn. It is one of the most common weeds found in lawns and is difficult to eliminate because of its abundant seeds that become embedded in the soil when homeowners attempt to pull the grass out of the ground.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor Kathy Bosen adds, “Unless you have a huge yard and a big crabgrass problem, hand weeding can be a simple and safe solution. Dig the crabgrass out before seeds emerge, and fill in the spots with fresh grass seed. Maintaining a healthy yard is the best way to prevent crabgrass.”
Crabgrass is easy to identify in a lawn because of its distinctive crab appearance. Blades of the grass grow in spiky clumps and can grow as tall as 3 feet or more. The weed often grows in mats and has broad spiked leaf blades. The smooth variety grows in smaller patches, has shorter spiky leaf blades and usually only grows about 15 inches in height.Crabgrass is usually a lighter green color than the surrounding grass and can be found where the lawn has been overly mowed, where is a bare spot and in overly moist areas.
Treating the Problem
Crabgrass Control Through Seed Control
During the warm months, getting rid of crab grass problems in the future should be your goal. Try to prevent the formation and spread of crabgrass seeds.Before mowing, use a lawn rake to disturb the crabgrass from its prostrate position.
Like running a comb through your hair the wrong way, use the rake to cause the seed branches to stand up above the grass.
This might be a tedious chore, but can eliminate 2 or 3 times as many seed heads as a regular mowing over hidden stalks.
After raking, mow the lawn as soon as possible. Be sure to use a grass catcher. Normally, a mulching mower that returns clippings to the soil is a good idea. That wont help when your goal is getting rid of crab grass seeds.
Can you put these clippings, with seeds, into a compost pile? Only if you actively work the pile, turning it regularly to generate enough heat to kill the seeds. If you add to your garden beds any compost with the seeds not killed, guess what? Crabgrass seeds can remain alive for years in the soil, and germinate even at depths of 2 – 3.
Your best bet at this time may be to recycle your clippings through the local yard waste collection. This is not a technique to pursue long term. Just utilize this practice at the beginning of your crabgrass war, until you have killed or removed the weeds.
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Is Sewage Causing Damp Spots In Your Yard
The most obvious sign that sewage is whats causing damp spots in your yard? It smells like sewage. You might also smell mold or mildew. Your other senses can help, too you may be able to hear a sewer line leak.
One of the most telling signs is particularly interesting for folks as passionate about lawn care as us: your lawn might look particularly lush in the wet areas. Thats because of all the extra fertilizer your lawn is getting from well, you get the idea.
Will The Uneven Areas Remain Level
Answer: Assuming you solved the problem that caused the unevenness to develop in the first place, theres no reason your leveled lawn should not remain that way for many years to come. That being said, unless your installing artificial turf, any type of natural grass is subject to erosion, drought, or disease, which if left untreated could kill the grass. In that event, your likely to face uneven lawn conditions in those areas.
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The Drain Field Is Failing
There are a lot of different things that can cause your drain field to fail. An excess of rainfall can oversaturate the soil. The drain field may also have been improperly installed.
Lets talk about lawn care and drain fields. When youre looking for advice on how to lay sod, youll often be told you want to add new soil. You want to be especially careful doing this in your drain field. The level of soil in drain fields is measured very carefully in order to absorb and filter wastewater. If you add too much, your septic tank may not work properly.
You basically want to be careful any time youre doing lawn care in your drain field. You can generally aerate without any problems drain lines can be as few as 6 inches below the surface, but most aerators only go about 3 inches deep. Digging, on the other hand, can quickly lead to drain line damage, which in turn leads to leaks.
All this is to say, that if youve been doing yard work around your drain field, a damaged drain line or the wrong level of soil could both create wet spots.
Why Overseed In The Fall
Its fine to overseed in spring, although many people wait too long and end up seeding in the summer when its much more difficult to get new grass to grow. However, if youre in the habit of applying a crabgrass prevention herbicide, you can forget about spring seeding. Most pre-emergent herbicides inhibit all seed germination for up to 12 weeksand that puts you right in the middle of summer. Instead, its best to overseed right after aerating the lawn, which is ideally done in the fall.
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