The New England Crab Grass Battle
If you spend time on and take pride in your thick green lawn, or if you are tired of looking out over a thin, unhealthy lawn, you will agree that crab grass is a nuisance. It is aggressive and will spread rapidly if left untreated. So, what is the best course of action to make certain your lawn comes in as crab-grass free as possible this year and beyond?
First, you should understand a little about crab grass. A single crab grass plant can product up to about 150,000 seeds, therefore, they spread extremely fast. You have two opportunities to address the problem; before these seeds germinate in the Spring, and, if they do, before the plant goes to seed in the Fall. Crab grass can tolerate long periods of high heat and dry conditions, ironically when your lawn is at its weakest and in the areas adjacent to your hardscapes (driveways, walkways, stoned areas, etc.) that require special attention as they tend to emit heat and create conditions that are more favorable for crab grass growth.
Like most lawn issues, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let us start by attacking the seeds before they germinate in the Spring.
Know your lawn. A thick, healthy sod with some shade and a few patches of crabgrass will require a much less aggressive treatment than a thin lawn that receives a heavy dose of sun throughout the day.
A thin lawn is a prime candidate for a pre-emergent treatment. Usually, a single treatment in March or early April will stop the germination of the crab grass seeds. Learning the line between a heavy treatment and too much is important to understand as well. You do not want to suppress the healthy grass seeds from their Fall germination process. The right balance will allow a lawn that needs more attention to still benefit from a good aeration and Spring seeding.
Post emergent herbicides.
If you have hot spots or are working with a thinner, less healthy law that receives uninhibited sunlight and the problem has been persistent for more than a couple of seasons, a one-step program most likely will not fix your lawn’s woes. The crab grass that does sprout will require attention as well, especially near your hardscapes and other hot spots. It is important to address these areas in July and August, You want to spray before these areas of crab grass go to seed for the Fall, with a post emergent spray.
The healthier your lawn, the less work it will require. A thick, healthy lawn can naturally make the conditions unfavorable and suppress the growth of new weeds. Specifically, during the Spring and in the early summer months, while the crab grass seeds are starting to germinate, keeping your lawn slightly longer will create stress by reducing the amount of light these weeds receive. Irrigation or healthy watering habits will keep your lawn stronger and reducing the impact of these weeds during the dry soil season. Make certain you are giving special attention to your lawn areas adjacent to your hardscapes.
*This article was written under the “Ask Tuckahoe Turf” which provides helpful suggestions or tips for the homeowner or residential lawn. If you feel your lawn is beyond repair or if you would like a beautiful, thick, and healthy lawn this season, contact Tuckahoe Turf right away! 800-556-6985 Tuckahoe Turf Farms has been growing turf for the professional for over 40 years!