Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Crabgrass Makes Me Crabby

It's everywhere this year. 

The turf's two-toned. 

I've pulled up so many weedy clumps that it's started growing under my nails!  In the morning, or following a fresh rain, these green weeds stand up in my lawn like Rastafarian sprouts. 

What's up with crabgrass this year?  Is the lawn yet another victim of global warming?  Is climate change causing crabgrass to take over the yard? 

Probably not, but it's still annoying when the unruly clumps threaten to choke out the legitimate occupants of the front yard.  The cause is likely a combination of heavy moisture and interim bald spots, in our case caused by repair folks trekking  across the lawn in
early spring.

The good news is that crabgrass is an (uninvited) annual plant and will fully die once winter sets in.  Once  it's visible, it's  too late.  So, wait until next spring to prevent a reoccurrence.

The most effective chemical treatment is a pre-emergent application in the spring.  The best time to apply is just as the yellow forsythia blooms fall to the ground.

Later, when the clumps have already reared their ugly tasseled heads, deadening spray is the only answer--but it will leave large brown patches in the lawn and could be toxic to children and pets.

If the clumps have already turned up, dig out those which are the most visible or offensive and keep the rest cut back with the mower in order to avoid reseeding.  Then apply the pre-emergent in the spring. 

Crabgrass seeds take root when the lawn develops dirt patches, so the denser the lawn, the less likely there will be an incursion.  To avoid the use of chemicals, good cultural practices that increase lawn density are best--over seeding, core aeration to reduce compaction and dethatching work best.  Adjust the height of the mower to prevent bare patches. 

Start a to-do list for next spring, and deal with it then.  In the meantime, squinting helps. 

Related Blogs:

Turf Times ~~ How to Grow Grass From Seed

Why's My Dog Eating Grass?

Snow Mold ~~ What's That White Stuff On My Lawn?