What is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is an annual grass that sprouts in late spring. It is very common for Cedar Rapids area lawns and can be a real problem to get rid of once you have it. Preventing crabgrass growth is important to maintaining a healthy lawn care program.
Crabgrass thrives in bare spots that receive plenty of sun and water. Crabgrass continues to grow all summer until it goes to seed in late summer. It is killed off by cold weather, but by this time the seeds have already spread and will be worse the following year.
There are various reasons for why your lawn may be growing crab grass as well as some helpful remedies.
Mowing the Grass Too Short
Mowing your grass too short will allow more sunlight to the soil which is what crabgrass needs to grow. Since tall grass shades the soil, keeping grass height between 3 and 4 inches tall from April to September will help keep crabgrass from growing. Once the summer heat is gone, you can return to mowing the grass short in preparation for winter.
Crabgrass will fill bare areas that are exposed to constant sunlight. You might see this along edges of driveways and sidewalks. You should seed any bare patches in early spring to prevent crabgrass from invading.
Crabgrass loves water. Daily watering helps crabgrass germinate and sprout. If you irrigate your lawn, do not water more than two times per week. Watering too often not only weakens your lawn, but it also makes it more susceptible to crabgrass growth.
A rainy spring will help crabgrass germinate and sprout, while summer heat makes it take off. Crabgrass will be very noticeable when the good grass goes dormant during late summer. You can’t control what the weather does, but keeping good mower height and seeding bare spots will help prevent crabgrass problems.
Crabgrass can be really difficult to get rid of once you have it. Here are some options for combating crabgrass:
Seeding. The best thing you can do is overseed your lawn in late summer so that the grass is thicker the next year and prevents crabgrass from growing.
Hand Pulling & Spraying. In minor problem areas, you can trying hand pulling crabgrass or spraying with a chemical. However, this is not very effective and you’ll find that you still have crabgrass the following year.
Lawn Fertilization. Keeping on a regular lawn fertilization will help to maintain healthy lawn conditions and prevent crabgrass from having room to grow. It will also help new seed grow up strong and resilient.
As part of our lawn fertilization program, we apply a crabgrass preventative in late spring. Contact us to set up your lawn fertilization package and maintain a healthy lawn year round.