Tips on Controlling Crabgrass

When it comes to controlling crabgrass, the keys are prevention and early intervention. By controlling crabgrass in the Spring, you can prevent a bigger crabgrass problem from arising in the summer.  Here are some handy tips on what this tenacious weed is all about, how to prevent and control it. 

What is Crabgrass?

Aptly named because it “crawls” across turf at a low level and thrives in the heat, crabgrass spreads across lawns from a central root. It thrives in hot, dry conditions and can quickly grow to become a problem during the summer months.  And, if not completely eliminated by Fall, a single crabgrass weed can create thousands of seeds that will be primed and ready to germinate next Spring.

How to Prevent Crabgrass

Thick, full lawns leave less room for crabgrass to get established. Rather than applying a little bit of water to your lawn frequently (meaning the water only penetrates 1-2 inches into the soil), water your lawn more deeply at less frequent intervals (penetrating 4-6 inches into the soil).  This will encourage your turfgrass to establish stronger, deeper root systems and leave less room for crabgrass and other invasive plants. 

Another way to prevent crabgrass from flourishing is mowing at the proper height. Cutting the grass too short allows more sunlight to reach the soil and allows more room for weeds to get established.  Mowing at a slightly higher blade level creates a more lush lawn and shades the soil, making it harder for the seeds to germinate. 

Topdressing and overseeding are also good ways to create and maintain a lush, healthy lawn and leave less room for invasive weeds.

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass

Unfortunately, no lawn is completely immune to crabgrass. Seeds can be spread by uncontrollable forces, such as wind and birds. And because each crabgrass plant is capable of producing thousands of seeds, it has exponential growth possibilities.   So what should you do if you spot crabgrass in your lawn?

If you see a little crabgrass, go ahead and pull it out – taking care to remove the shallow root system. If it’s more crabgrass than can be pulled by hand, pre-emergent or post-emergent chemicals may be necessary.  The type of chemical application depends on the season, soil temperature, weather forecast and other factors and should be applied with care.  

For clients who participate in our turf care program, please notify us of any crabgrass infestation so we can act quickly to eliminate the weed before it gains a foothold in your turf.

Ensuring that you have a healthy lawn is our top priority, let’s work together to keep crabgrass out of your beautiful landscape.