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Crabgrass: What It Is, and How to Stop It

Posted on May 1, 2014 by Lawn Doctor

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Crabgrass is as feisty a weed as the crab is an animal, which helps explain the name. In addition, the leaves on crabgrass even look like crab legs. If you want to have a great lawn, you need to get rid of and stop crabgrass as early as possible. Not only is it unsightly, but it can take needed nutrients from your lawn, thus sapping your lawn’s health.

Crabgrass, a grassy weed from the Digitaria family (the leaves can look like the digits on a hand), is a common lawn pest. There are two main types of crabgrass in the United States – large or hairy crabgrass, and smooth crabgrass.  And just one crabgrass plant can produce up to 150,000 seeds, thus potentially causing a huge problem if not stopped in his tracks. Here are some tips on how to stop crabgrass:

Be on the lookout for it

Prevention is the best approach to reduce crabgrass in a lawn.  Apply pre-emergent crabgrass preventer in the spring before soil temperatures reach 65 degrees.  If a few plants do pop up they will die in the fall. Crabgrass seeds in the soil can germinate for up to three years, so it is important to apply pre-emergent every year.

Pull weeds, but be careful

If you see a small amount of crabgrass weeds, it is okay to pull the weeds out, but keep in mind to get the entire plant. Leaving even a small part of it, or dispersing the seeds, will only lead to more grassy weeds.

Apply a pre-emergent weed control product

The best way to stop crabgrass is to apply some sort of pre-emergent weed control product to your lawn in the spring, before the crabgrass germinates. This pre-emergent product does what the name says – it stops the product from growing, before it germinates and emerges from the soil. Your Lawn Doctor lawn care service professional can apply the product for you.

Use proper mowing techniques

Mowing your lawn regularly and closely, at the recommended level for the type of grass on your lawn, can cut the crabgrass down. Check with your local extension service, or ask your Lawn Doctor professional, at which setting you should run the mower at, and what length you should keep the lawn.

Don’t forget regular watering and fertilization

The more lush and strong your lawn is, the less likely crabgrass will get a foothold on your lawn. Make sure your lawn is never thirsty, and is fertilized regularly, in order to grow to its potential. In addition, check your lawn pH to make sure it is at a healthy level.

Do not do “edging” along driveways and sidewalks

Edging, the practice of removing turf and soil near driveways and walkways, helps give crabgrass an edge when it comes to invading lawns. If you have a crabgrass problem, stop the edging.

Talk with your Lawn Doctor lawn care expert

Your Lawn Doctor professional can help you fight crabgrass, and get a healthy lawn. Why not reach out and ask your Lawn Doctor lawn care professional to treat the problem? You can have a lush lawn again in no time, without the pests.

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