Lawn Care: How To Kill Crabgrass

lawn careDo you have crabgrass on your lawn? It’s not uncommon. This unsightly weed is pervasive and could be taking over your yard right now. Here are some lawn care tips you need to know.

Crabgrass is a summer annual grassy perennial weed that germinates from seeds in the spring, and then lives its entire life cycle in the summer before dying off. Overwintering seeds experience spring’s warm arrival, and the annual cycle continues.

Crabgrass Identification

Crabgrass has sharp, pointed, and light-green leaves that are prone to spreading aggressively.

These are the three most common varieties of crabgrass:

  • Smooth (Digitaria ischaemum)
  • Southern (Digitaria Ciaris)
  • Large or hairy (Digitaria sangialis)

They are all pale green and have five flat blades. They thrive in moist, fertile environments in warm weather, especially full sun.

Crabgrass Seeds

Crabgrass seeds can be overwintered as seeds. They germinate once soil and air temperatures reach 55 degrees. Additional seeds may germinate later, up to June. Crabgrass is easily propagated by its prolific seed production. One plant can produce up to 150,000 seeds. They spread easily by wind.

These invasive weeds are very low to ground so mower blades won’t reach them but will stir the seed heads and scatter seeds, accelerating their propagation. If left unmanaged, crabgrass will quickly grow and spread along lawns and cracks in the pavement. Crabgrass won’t survive the first frost but the seeds will continue the cycle when the warm weather returns.

Crabgrass Prevention

Seeds are available for those who have had problems with crabgrass in the past. Pre-emergent herbicides are the most effective and popular way to get rid of crabgrass. Pre-emergents stop crabgrass seedlings from maturing and solve the problem before it starts.

These are some tips for applying the crabgrass prevention:

When it comes to lawn care in Myrtle Beach, you should apply it a few weeks prior to the last frost date in the area. According to the label on pre-emergent, water after application.

To achieve good control, two applications may be necessary. You can submit a second application within 45-60 days of the first one, depending on the label on your pre-emergent.

Pre-emergent herbicides can still be used once crabgrass has been established. However, other strategies should be used to stop the spread of seeds from mature plants.

Pendimethalin and prodiamine are the pre-emergent herbicides. Although corn gluten is an organic option to synthetic herbicides in pre-emergent form, but it isn’t nearly as effective.

Lawn Care Tips: Maintain a Healthy Lawn

The best way to deter crabgrass is with a thick, lush bed of grass.

It is part of the basic ecology. Other grasses would be prevented from entering the area by plant competition with the desirable grass.

Crabgrass thrives when it is exposed to sunlight. Crabgrass thrives in sunlight. A lawn that is too short or has bare patches will make it easy to grow. These low-profile weeds will be outcompeted by a healthy lawn that is taller and free from bare patches, thus reducing their spread.

Proper mowing and regular aeration are key to maintaining a healthy lawn. For the right height for your grass type, consult your local extension agent.

Crabgrass growth can also be controlled by proper watering. Consistent watering will encourage the germination of crabgrass. What you should do instead is to water the turf of occasionally and deeply, letting dry completely between each watering.

What to do if crabgrass is already established in your yard?

Getting Rid of Crabgrass

Post-Emergent Herbicides

You can apply post-emergent herbicides at any time during the growing seasons. They disrupt the cellular processes of the plant. They destroy existing plants and not those that are yet to be developed. After applying a post-emergent herbicide, grass seed can be safely sown. Some post-emergent herbicides may delay germination. For more information on timing your planting, please refer to the label.

You should make sure you choose the right post-emergent herbicide for your turf and area. Smaller plants will benefit from post-emergent herbicides. Sometimes it may take several applications to control larger plants.

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Call Conner’s Lawn Care Service now if you need help in maintaining  your lawn and make sure it’s in tip top condition.

Conner’s Lawn Care Service
Myrtle Beach, SC