The unusually warm winter had its perks, but it will likely cause one problem in lawns across the area; namely, CRABGRASS. Usually, we do not see the first seeds of crabgrass germinate until late March or early April when soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees. However, our managers have already spotted crabgrass in lawns of homeowners that have requested estimates from us.
So what is crabgrass? This weed gets its name because it grows from a central root low across the ground, resembling a crab. It is a warm season annual weed that reproduces quickly in hot, dry conditions. Unfortunately, even a cold winter cannot kill this weed. Before the actual weed dies in the fall it distributes thousands of seeds which germinate in the spring. That is why it is so important to maintain a healthy lawn and have a prevention plan.
Prevention and Maintenance
· Set a higher mowing height. This allows the grasses to shade and prevent the germination of crabgrass seeds.
· Water lawns deeply and less frequently to strengthen grass and discourage weeds. Water the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches. This usually requires the equivalent of 1/2-1 inch of rainfall.
· Have a lawn care program that includes at least two applications of pre-emergent in the spring to kill crabgrass seedlings as they germinate (Note: If you choose spread seed in your lawn during the spring you cannot use pre-emergent as it will kill the seed. Instead use Tupersan which will not damage grass seed).
· Fertilize your grass with slow releasing fertilizers and, better yet, compro. Remember, maintaining a healthy lawn is the best way to prevent all types of weeds.
Kane Landscapes’ 6-step lawn care program includes the pre-emergent applications, fertilizer, and spot treatments necessary to supress weeds and maintain a healthy lawn. Please contact us if you would like us to design a lawn care program to keep your lawn healthy all year long.