Crabgrass: The dreaded weed


Does this photo look familiar?  The dreaded weed of all lawn owners…..crabgrass

Crabgrass is one of the most prevalent grassy weeds found in New York lawns. Like most weeds, crabgrass can be an indicator of other problems with the growing conditions in your lawn. These conditions must be corrected to achieve long-term crabgrass control.  Crabgrass thrives in full sunlight and high temperatures and can easily out compete common cool-season grasses under these conditions. Crabgrass is in a group of plants known as summer annuals. These plants have a life of less than one year. Summer annuals germinate in the spring, grow through the summer and die with the first hard frost. These plants produce a tremendous amount of seed in the mid- to late summer when the day length starts to shorten. These seeds ensure next year’s crop of weeds but can also remain dormant in the soil for several years before germinating. It is likely that if you have crabgrass in your lawn, it will be there next year, too. “One year’s seeding equals seven years weeding,” as weed scientists like to say.

Crab grass

Cultural Control

Weed management in turf grass stands can be accomplished in various ways. Traditional methods include cultural management and mechanical and chemical controls.  Mowing at the proper height and frequency helps maintain a healthy lawn and shade out weeds from germinating.  Other cultural practices, such as judicious fertilization, can further reduce weed competition by increasing turf grass vigor. Open and weak turf grass areas promote crabgrass infestations because of higher soil temperatures, which enhance germination and decrease competition. The best defense against weed invasion is a dense, healthy turf grass stand. This is particularly effective for annual weeds such as crabgrass that establish from seed every year. A thick turf canopy can effectively shade the soil and reduce the number of seedlings that are able to establish.

Grasshopper Gardens offers several remedies for crabgrass, including pre- and post-emergent treatments. Our consultant can customize a lawn fertilization program that will promote a dense, healthy lawn to reduce the occurrence of crabgrass.