Keeping crabgrass at bay
Crabgrass is an interesting plant. If planted intentionally, it can be a fine lawn covering in many parts of the country. In other areas it sneaks into lawns and grows as a weed. When this happens, it slowly steals nutrients that are intended for the grass that you’ve planted, leaving it brittle and dry. Before you know it, crabgass will take over and your lawn will fail. Thankfully, there are several methods for keeping crabgrass at bay.
Should you plant crabgrass in your lawn?
Since crabgrass can act as a weed, it is safe to say that it is one of the easier types of grass to grow. If it will grow successfully in your area, it may be a good choice for intentional lawn covering. One of the best ways to prevent crabgrass from showing up in your lawn as a weed is to plant it yourself. Here are some factors that need to be present in your area in order for crabgrass to produce a quality lawn:
A sunny lawn: Crabgrass grows great in lawns with direct sun exposure. If you plant a grass that prefers shade in a sunny lawn, there is a good chance that crabgrass will eventually take over. For this reason, crabgrass is a great choice for homeowners with large amounts of direct sun exposure.
High saline content: In coastal areas or regions where roads are frequently salted, your soil may have a high saline content. It can be difficult to grow grass in these areas, but crabgrass grows great in salty soil.
Frequent mowing: If you prefer a short blade height in your lawn, crabgrass can be an excellent choice. All types of grass have a high minimum length, meaning that you will have to wait until significant growth has occurred before you can mow. Crabgrass survives even the most frequent amount of mowing, so if you prefer to mow your lawn often you should consider planting crabgrass.
Frequent rainfall: Over-watering will kill most grass, but crabgrass is not one of these varieties. Crabgrass grows great with frequent watering or rainfall, and crabgrass seeds will sprout quickly following frequent rainfall. If you live in a very damp area, the chances are high that you will eventually see crabgrass sprouting in your lawn.
Getting rid of crabgrass
If crabgrass is not the type of grass seed that you want to grow in your lawn, there are many steps that you can take to prevent it from becoming a problem. As with most weeds, pre-emergent herbicides are the best way to prevent crabgrass from becoming a problem. These chemical agents attack the seeds before the they have the chance to sprout, meaning the crabgrass will never grow in your lawn. Timing is essential when applying these herbicides, and doing so just a few days too late will make the application completely ineffective. Make sure to research the proper timing before applying pre-emergent herbicides in your lawn.
If you miss the opportunity to apply pre-emergent chemicals to your lawn, not all hope is lost. Post-emergent herbicides are also available, and you can spray them directly onto any weed including crabgrass. These products are much more harsh than pre-emergent varieties, so you’ll need to use caution when spraying them throughout your lawn. If you accidentally spray these chemicals on your grass, it will die just as quickly as the weeds you are trying to eliminate.
If you prefer to avoid chemicals completely, manual removal is your only option. While it is the most tedious weed-removal tactic, it can be effective in keeping crabgrass at bay. Just keep an eye out for weeds that are popping up in your lawn, and as soon as you spot them pull them up using your hands. You’ll want to hold firmly at the base of the plant to ensure that roots are removed as well. If you fail to remove the roots during manual removal, crabgrass will reappear in no time.