Crabgrass ruins gorgeous lawns
Every homeowner dreads crabgrass, the persistent pest to lush, healthy lawns. Known for its veracity and quick growth cycle, crabgrass is better known in other parts of the world as “finger grass” and even “fonio.” By whatever name, no serious gardener wants to see crabgrass sprouting up in his lawn.
Native to Asia, crabgrass grows well anywhere the weather is warm and humid, most notably the southern half of the United States. The plant (there are 300+ species of crabgrass) actually grows all over the world where conditions are right and not everywhere sees it as a blight. In fact, some groups in Africa have been known to grind up crabgrass seeds and toast them for food!
In American lawns, crabgrass usually presents as a pom-pom like shape, sprouting like a flower from the ground. Different species grow differently but nearly all have long germination periods and can persist even after they’ve been addressed.
What to do if you have crabgrass
There are a few things to look for to help you identify crabgrass. The leaves can get very long, up to a foot in some places, and each blade is sharp and thin. Some species can have purple root systems that make them easy to identify as crabgrass.
The trouble with crabgrass is, once you’ve noticed the sprouts it’s often hard to get rid of. Many homeowners decide to bring in professional assistance to eliminate a crabgrass infestation but there are a few methods to try at home if you want to take care of the problem yourself:
- Crowd the Crabgrass Out: The best way to prevent a crabgrass problem is to plant a thick, lush enough lawn that there’s no room for the species to grow. If you’re having trouble maintaining a healthy lawn, call in a professional.
- Apply Pre-Emergent Sprays: If you suspect you may have a crabgrass issue waiting to bloom, apply over-the-counter herbicides (pellets or spray form) in the winter or very early spring. If you have crabgrass germinating under your soil, this should take care of it.
- Cut the Crabgrass: Once sprouted, if you notice crabgrass blooms simply cut them short. When your lawn goes dormant for the winter, apply herbicides and notice a reduced crabgrass crop next year.
- Pull Out Offenders: If you have only a light crabgrass issue, you may be able to pull out the blooms yourself. Be sure you get the full root system and dispose of the grass properly.
Still have a crabgrass issue? If you live anywhere in the Southeastern US or even the Midwest or Southwest, crabgrass is likely a fact of life. Bringing in professional can help ensure your lawn stays as healthy as possible all year round and that any creeping problems are addressed before they become big issues.
Homeowners beware: crabgrass only gets worse each year if left untreated. If your infestation is bad enough you may be left with no choice but to re-sod your entire yard. Bringing in a professional as soon as you notice crabgrass is highly advised.