It Doesn’t Have to Be an Uphill Battle
There’s no doubt about it…crabgrass is a worthy opponent in the quest to keep your lawn looking its best. This very common turfgrass invader can seriously detract from the beauty and health of your lawn if left untreated. With proper treatments and good lawn care habits, though, crabgrass can be kept under control. The trick is to take care of the problem before the seeds get a chance to sprout.
About the enemy
Crabgrass is light green in color with a coarse texture. Its shoots grow vertically at first, then spread horizontally. Stem bases are pink or purple, and one mature plant is capable of producing thousands of seeds.
These seeds can grow in adverse environments, and seem to favor those conditions that are roughest on your lawn. Even in hot, dry weather and compacted soil, crabgrass seeds have no trouble germinating. In fact, you may notice more crabgrass near sidewalks, driveways and other paved areas that tend to retain a lot of heat.
Stopping crabgrass before it starts
Pre-emergent herbicides are very effective against crabgrass when applied correctly. These preventative treatments form a barrier in the top inch of your soil through which crabgrass seeds have a harder time sprouting, and they can protect your lawn from crabgrass invasions throughout the entire growing season.
Since mature crabgrass plants produce so many seeds, they’ll always be present in your lawn. New seeds are often tracked into your yard on the bottoms of shoes or blown in from your neighbor’s lawn. Even if some seeds don’t sprout this year, there will still be more around to give germination a try next year. This is why annual treatment is so important.
What else can be done?
The thicker your turf, the less room there will be for crabgrass to grow. Proper mowing, watering and fertilizing, along with annual applications of pre-emergent herbicide, will give your lawn a fighting chance in the war on crabgrass.