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Crabgrass Creep!

As your grass starts to come back and green up after a long, tough winter, you may also notice it’s starting to look a little weedy and wonder “What’s happening to my nice green lawn and where did this other stuff come from?” The answer is that crabgrass is making its creepy comeback. Let’s go over some basic crabgrass facts and learn how to prevent and solve this weedy problem.


1. When does crabgrass start germinating and begin to grow?

  • Crabgrass begins to germinate when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees at a 1 inch depth for three consecutive days. In our region that means around the end of April, early May in a typical year.

2. What are the different types of crabgrass?

  • The first is smooth crabgrass- Smooth crabgrass is a low-growing, summer annual that spreads by seed and from rootings of the joints that lie on the soil. It dies with the first frost in the fall. Unmowed, it will grow upright to about 6 inches, but even if you mow it as short as 1/4 inch, it still can produce seed!
  • Second is large crabgrass- It spreads it’s seed the same way as smooth crabgrass, however it can grow up to 2 feet if left un-mowed! Large crabgrass doesn’t tolerate shorter mowing as well as smooth crabgrass does, and as a result, it is not as common to appear in lawns as smooth crabgrass.

3. How long do they live?

  • Crabgrasses are killed by early frosts in the fall.

Fighting crabgrass can be challenging, but here are 6 steps you can follow to help develop a lawn that is more resistant to crabgrass.

Large Crabgrass

Large Crabgrass

1. Plant high quality grass seed of recommended cultivars or types of grass (we can help you with this!).

2. Plant cool-season grasses between late August and early October – avoid planting grass in the spring or summer as the weather may not cooperate and stress the new grass.

3. Soil fertility testing should be performed every 2 to 3 years (crabgrasses  thrive in acidic soil)

4. Reduce soil acidity with lime as recommended by a soil test.

5. Mow lawns at the recommended height which is between 2.5 to 3.5 inches for common grasses in our area such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrasses and fescue.

6. Water your lawn when it begins to wilt (i.e., you can see your foot print when you step on it and/or it develops a blue-gray color). Water deeply by wetting the soil to a 4- to 6-inch depth. Frequent, light watering actually encourages crabgrass encroachment, plus discourages deep rooting and environmental stress tolerance of lawn grasses.

Smooth Crabgrass

Smooth Crabgrass

Not all lawns are positioned for immediate success to help resist crabgrass, so herbicides provide you with another option. The use of pre-emergent herbicides to prevent the germination of crabgrass allows you to use less of the product, supporting environmental stewardship. We recommend speaking to an expert when dealing with the application of the herbicide to ensure you’re using the most effective minimum amount.

Here at Farmside, our Lawn Care department is dedicated to this very issue. We offer a full application service that focuses on a customized and personalized application plan for your lawn. If you have any questions please call us at 973-875-7200.

Read the original article here.