So we are all a little bit stressed out about crabrass right now. Maybe you are a homeowner who has a serious infestation or maybe you are a lawn care pro dealing with those homeowners with serious infestations. Let's be honest, it's not fun to be on either side but a couple of tips may help you get through this crisis.
1. It's not really a crisis! RELAX! Crabgrass is an annual weed and will go away with cooler temps. It's temporary!
2. Mow High! Crowd it out!
3. Water Deeply! If you aren't going to irrigate often and deeply don't at all. Crabgrass roots are shallow and they will absorb every last bit of water if the system is only going to run for 15 minutes per zone. Well watered crabgrass is strong crabgrass.
4. Don't Fertilize! Remember those shallow roots from point number three? Yeah, same goes with fertilizer. If your lawn is stresssed out enough that there is a crabgrass explosion it doesn't want fertilizer anyway. Use a soil conditioner or organic amendment.
5. See number 1.
More Information about Crabgrass if you want to torture yourself!
Two species of crabgrass, hairy and smooth, are commonly found in our area. Smooth crabgrass predominates in turf grass stands. Both species are summer annuals and have wide (1/4- to 1/2-inch), sparsely hairy, pale-green leaves that taper to a sharp point. Leaves of hairy crabgrass are hairier than smooth crabgrass. Seed heads are divided spikes that project like fingers from the stem, producing thousands of seeds in late summer. Seeds germinate in spring when soil temperatures reach 55° to 58° F for several consecutive days. Crabgrass plants die after the first frost in early Fall.
Crabgrass is the enemy of everything lawn care and it remains one of the most difficult to control issues that we contend with every single year. Crabgrass is such an issue that every single lawn care program provided by every single lawn care company or do it yourselfer dedicates an entire treatment to the prevention of crabgrass and guess what? It is a total inexact science. Pre-emergent crabgrass control is the first step in dealing with eliminating crabgrass and it must be applied in a timely manner. A common phrase heard about crabgrass pre-emergent is that it must be applied on the day the forsythia blooms and this is somewhat true. Crabgrass will germinate based on soil temperatures and this is about the same time the forsythia begins to bloom.