Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Crabgrass is a major problem found in lawns all across the United States. If you had Crabgrass this past year there is a good chance it will come roaring back since the many seeds that Crabgrass plants dropped in your lawn last summer will most likely germinate this year. Crabgrass is a very persistent, grassy weed in lawns that needs proper management to control. By interrupting the germination of these existing Crabgrass seeds this spring, we can eliminate most crabgrass plants in your lawn this summer.
In order to prevent Crabgrass from appearing in your lawn you need to take the proper steps to prevent it this spring. There are some factors that need to be considered in order to achieve the maximum success. Crabgrass does not grow in the shade but prefers full sun and hot, wet weather. Different soil types can affect your Crabgrass control too. Since the various Crabgrass controls create an invisible barrier in the soil, any raking or disturbing of the topsoil after application can allow Crabgrass to break through. Excessive rainfall during the spring months can lessen the control aspects of these Crabgrass preventers.
A pre-emergent should be applied on lawns usually between March 15th and June 1st. Crabgrass starts to germinate when the soil temperature reaches about 55 degrees. A soil thermometer can help you monitor when is the best time to apply Crabgrass preventers, like Jonathan Green’s Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer, on your lawn. You do not want to apply this step too early if it is cold in early spring. Another indicator of when to apply your Crabgrass preventer is when the forsythia blooms.
Most Crabgrass preventers are applied in combination with a fertilizer, for example Jonathan Green’s Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer. This allows you to accomplish two jobs at one time, which are, preventing Crabgrass, and giving your lawn the important first feeding of the year. Feeding the desirable grass to thicken your lawn is just as important as preventing Crabgrass from becoming established. There is newer technology available today to prevent Crabgrass. Dimension (dithiopyr), which is featured in Jonathan Green’s Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer, is a clear and odorless, non-staining material unlike older “yellow” based Crabgrass preventers. Dimension (dithiopyr) works both before and after Crabgrass germinates and only uses about 1 teaspoon of product per 5,000 sq. ft. lawn.
If you are planning on seeding this Spring, you need to use a Crabgrass preventer that allows you to apply seed at the same time without injuring the new seedlings. Be sure that Tupersan (siduron) is the listed Crabgrass preventer on the label, like in Jonathan Green’s Crabgrass Preventer plus New Seeding Lawn Fertilizer. Frequently these products are available in combination with a ‘new seeding’ or ‘starter’ fertilizer to get the new grass off to a good start.
Proper mowing of your lawn is an important part of controlling Crabgrass. Mowing heights of 2-1/2” to 3-1/2” will keep the desirable lawn grasses growing strong. If you cut your lawn below these heights it tends to stress the good turf grass and allows Crabgrass to take over, since there is less competition. Bare spots and thins lawns are ideal for Crabgrass to thrive, so keep these areas seeded and fertilized properly.
With the proper maintenance techniques, the pressure from Crabgrass will be less and become easier to control. Remember, pre-emergence Crabgrass controls do not control dandelions. To control broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, try Jonathan Green’s Weed and Feed. Some broadleaf weeds can be suppressed with Crabgrass controls; however, do not expect to control dandelions with Crabgrass preventers. Be sure to follow all label directions on the bag. Consult with you local lawn and garden dealer for specific needs in your area.Back