Many people assume that there’s no need to start treating their lawn until “spring” when the trees and flowers are blooming in April. Warmer spring temperatures bring your lawn out of dormancy and begins an active growth cycle. Unfortunately, that means crabgrass will be germinating and growing too! Pre-emergent crabgrass weed control applications are an important step in annual lawn management. However, choosing the right timing for the application can be tricky, and bad timing will only result in a waste of time and money.
For the best results, pre-emergent should be applied BEFORE crabgrass is visible above ground. Just like those pretty spring flowers, new crabgrass will begin to appear in mid-spring and by then, it’s too late. The key to crabgrass control is making sure the seeds cannot germinate. If you wait until after crabgrass is present and growing, pre-emergent won’t work and you’re in for an uphill battle to keep control of your lawn without doing damage. In our growing region, a lawn without pre-emergent treatment can expect crabgrass to spread quickly during the warm summer months. Between midsummer and early fall, each plant will produce thousands of seeds. While the first frost will kill existing crabgrass plants, the seeds remain dormant through the winter, waiting to ruin your lawn next spring. Unwanted grasses and weeds simply cannot thrive in robust grass; besides a regular fertilization and weed control regimen to keep your turf happy and healthy, keep these tips in mind for success in the spring and summer:
• Mow at frequent intervals to keep the grass at a consistent height- we recommend 3.75 to 4 inches for tall fescue. Crabgrass seeds require plenty of light to germinate, so keeping the turf thick and tall will keep any weed seeds at the soil surface in the dark. Mow too short, and weed/crabgrass seeds will grow, well… like weeds. Also, be sure to keep your mower blades sharp so that they CUT blades of grass, instead of tearing. You can bag clippings if you like, but we recommend mulch mowing and leaving the clippings in the lawn- they help restore nutrients to the soil as they decompose, and can help to block sunlight from those pesky weed seeds lurking on the soil surface!
•In an established lawn, water deeply once or twice a week this spring and summer, instead of daily. Watering on an irregular schedule and only when needed promotes deeper root growth that’s essential to healthy turf grass. Remember, the goal is a few gulps, not several sips. The only time you’ll want to water frequently, is if your lawn is newly-seeded or sodded: then, you’d water in shallow, more frequent intervals just until the grass gets established before weaning it back to once or twice a week. Not sure how much is enough? We recommend at least one inch of water a week, once the rainy part of spring is over. Because every sprinkler system flows differently, the easiest way to measure an inch of water on the lawn is to set a clean, empty tuna can on the lawn and run your system. When the can is full to the brim- that’s one inch of water. Write down how long you had the system running to water that amount, then you can program your system for the same amount of time, once (or twice) a week!
If you’re concerned about crabgrass ruining your lawn, call us! The first two rounds of our Basic Program of fertilization & weed control include crabgrass pre-emergent.
Our service areas:
Virginia Beach Lawn Care
Chesapeake Lawn Care
Norfolk Lawn Care
Keep your Lawn Healthy with Dreamlawns Weed Control
There you are looking at your lush green grass and suddenly you see something growing that doesn’t belong. Crabgrass is on of the most misidentified lawn weeds and a big challenge for weed control. Crabgrass grows close to the ground and gets its name from stems that grow out low, like crab legs and has a blue-green or yellow-green color to it.
When the soil warms up in Spring this makes for an excellent germination time for crabgrass which is an annual weed. Temperatures between 55 and 60 are it’s favorite! Once crabgrass sprouts it becomes very difficult to control because the seeding phase is quick and can drop up to 5,000 seed onto your lawn. And if you happened to have trimmed your lawn too low, it gives the soil an even better chance to warm up and makes it that much easier for crabgrass to root and take over your lawn.
Crabgrass, besides having an unfavorable appearance can also cause major damage to your lawn as well. It can weaken lawn grass making it easier for the crabgrass to reproduce.
Don’t let crabgrass choke the beauty and life out of your lawn. Call Dreamlawns for a FREE Estimate! Ask about $25 off your first application.
If you plan now and apply crabgrass controller you can have a beautiful lawn that’s almost entirely free of this common, ugly but unwanted weed.
When to Apply the Crabgrass Controller
The time to apply Crabgrass Controller is now! This is very important! If you don’t apply the crabgrass controller early in the season, many seeds will already have sprouted and your prevention efforts are weakened or even doomed. This is the biggest mistake people make in controlling crabgrass. Another application is suggested for later in the year (around June) to prevent crabgrass seeds form sprouting You should also think about putting down another application later in the year to prevent later crabgrass seeds from sprouting.
What is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass may seem like a plant that never dies but it’s actually an “annual plant, so it doesn’t survive the winter & instead dies off each year with new plants sprouting from seeds.
Crabgrass has low spreading stems that are very thin and broad flat leaves that spread out from the center. Crabgrass is one of the most common weed with two main species in the U.S. If you see Crabgrass it’s likely your lawn needs some attention.
Crabgrass is a Symptom of a Potentially Bigger Problem
A healthy lawn with dense grass can actually choke out crabgrass and prevent it from sprouting and taking root, but even a healthy lawn can have a few bare spots that leave a place for crabgrass to take root. But if you have more than a few plants, it’s time to get serious if you value a nice-looking lawn. We won’t go into all the things you should keep in mind for lawn care, but the biggest mistake we see is cutting the lawn too short. We favor keeping lawns cut to 3″ – 3.5″ in the spring and fall and 4″ – 4.5” in the summer, but find that most people cut their lawns much shorter. And by the way, a lawn that’s left longer actually grows slower than a short lawn, so you don’t have to cut it quite as often. If you aren’t cutting your grass too short, large amounts of crabgrass are a sign of lawn problems that require your attention, but we don’t have space to discuss those in this article
Use a “Pre-Emergent” Controller
Back to what you need to do this spring… The important thing to remember is that crabgrass can sprout before grass seed, and that it can keep sprouting for many weeks. Crabgrass starts to sprout when the soil temperature is only 54 degrees, while most desirable grasses require temperatures in the low ’60s. This means that if seeds for lawn grass and crabgrass are both sitting in that bare spot in your lawn, the crabgrass gets a head start of at least a week or two, and sometimes longer. This is why you need to act early in the year to control crabgrass, by applying a “pre-emergent” controller.
The term pre-emergent simply means that it is used before the plant fully emerges, or starts to take root, instead of killing the plant once it starts to grow. A single crabgrass plant can produce over 150,000 seeds, so stopping the seed from properly sprouting is one of the only ways to control a large amount of crabgrass.
Remember we don’t mow we grow, but we have plenty of reputable lawn mowing companies we can refer you to and if you need help with eliminating Crabgrass from your lawn give us a call or go online and sign up for our