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Manage Crabgrass with Proper Lawn Care

Spring is the time to prevent crabgrass problems in the lawn. The best defense against this and other lawn weeds is proper care.  Grow your grass tall.  Keeping it 3 to 3 ½ inches tall encourages deep roots that are more drought-tolerant and better able to fend off pests and outcompete the weeds.

Proper watering and fertilization will further reduce weed problems.  Even one fertilization a year, can greatly improve your lawn’s health and reduce weed problems.

If crabgrass was a problem last summer, you may want to use a pre-emergent crabgrass killer.  Apply it just before the seeds sprout about when the vanhouette, often called bridal wreath, spirea bloom.  I prefer corn gluten products that are gentler on the environment and safe for kids and pets.   This eco-friendly product will reduce lawn weeds by as much as 50 percent after three years of spring and fall applications.

Read and follow the label directions carefully before using and seeding your lawn.  Most pre-emergent weed killers will prevent the lawn seed grass from germinating and some broadleaf weed killers may damage young grass seedlings.

A bit more information:  Quackgrass is a perennial weed grass often mistaken for crabgrass.  This wide leafed grass is present in the lawn year round.  Crabgrass, on the other hand, appears in summer then sets seed in fall before the plant dies. Try pulling the weed grass out of the lawn or garden.  If there is a long white rhizome (most people call a root) attached it is quackgrass.  Pre-emergent weed killers will not kill the quackgrass plants.  And, anything that kills the quack grass will also kill your lawn grass and garden plants.  Keep your lawn healthy and vigorous to crowd out this weed. Severely infested lawns may need to be totally reworked.  Kill the lawn, grass, weeds and all, improve the soil and then seed or sod.

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