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Lawn Care Blog

How Does Crabgrass Preventer Work?

crabgrass-preventer.jpgRemember last summer, all of those unappealing tufts of grassy weed that interrupted the flow of your beautiful, rolling lawn? That spiky looking grass spotted throughout your lawn is called crabgrass. Crabgrass ruins all of the time and hard work you put into your lawn to make it so beautiful.

Getting rid of crabgrass can be done simply with some elbow grease and crabgrass preventer. Putting down a crabgrass prevention treatment in the late spring will keep most of those pesky weeds from popping up during the summer. However, there are also alternative ways that you can prevent crabgrass and other weeds from blemishing your lawn. If worse comes to worst and the prevention measures do not work, there are even treatments that can strike down actively growing weeds. Let’s make your lawn beautiful and keep it that way with some crabgrass prevention!

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is a lawn weed that thrives in the summer heat. It is a grassy weed that grows from one stem with smooth or hairy grass looking blades. Crabgrass is able to grow in bare spots in your lawn as long as they have a supply of water and sunlight. This is an annual weed, which means that it spreads by seed, as opposed to spreading through roots. Around the end of the summer, the crabgrass seeds and spreads to other areas around your lawn, this is why it is important to take care of crabgrass as soon as possible.

Crabgrass Does Not Follow A Calendar

People may think that early spring is the best time to jump onto using crabgrass preventer, but unfortunately crabgrass does not have a calendar. The seed germinates when the temperature is just right. We know, here in Ohio, that could be as early as April or as late as May! Once the daily soil temperatures reach around 57 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the seed begins to germinate. So maybe crabgrass keeps a thermometer instead of a calendar?

Pre-emergent Preventer

The most common way to rid of crabgrass is pre-emergent herbicides. The time for applying varies, because like stated before, the soil temperature has to be just right before pre-emergent should be used. Pre-emergents are meant to stop the crabgrass before it emerges from the soil. If you apply the pre-emergent too early, the crabgrass will not be controlled throughout the whole season. This is why it is important to wait until the crabgrass begins to germinate to put down the pre-emergent.

Be sure to space out your crabgrass preventer and seeding. Herbicides will kill the new seeds and not allow the new grass to grow. It is possible to combine two treatments, and apply fertilizer and pre-emergent at the same time to save you time on your lawn care.

Post-emergent Preventer

Unfortunately, there are always those pesky weeds that survive the pre-emergent herbicide treatment from the late spring. Touch up your lawn throughout the summer with post-emergent. Applying postemergence herbicides to weeds that pop up on your lawn will take care of the crabgrass. Jump on any crabgrass growth you see ASAP. Weeds that are actively growing are easier to kill than those that are more mature. Check your lawn for new weeds during mowing to ensure you catch the actively growing weeds early.

Other Crabgrass Preventatives

There are other ways that you can prevent crabgrass and other weeds while also benefiting your lawn in multiple ways. A healthy and thick lawn will block weeds from growing.

  • Seeding

Crabgrass likes to grow in bare spots in your lawn. Seeding and overseeding will fill in the bare spots and thicken the thatch of your lawn making it hard for weeds to penetrate to the soil. Remember, if you put down seed, do not treat the new seeds with a pre emergent herbicide. This will prevent the new grass from growing.

  • Fertilizing

Make sure that the lawn has the nutrients it needs to fight off the weeds and crabgrass. One way make sure your grass is strong is with regular fertilization. Fertilizer gives your lawn the food that it needs to be as healthy as possible. If your grass is lacking nutrients, it will be weak and easily invaded by unwanted weeds.

  • Lawn Aeration

If your lawn is usually the neighborhood football field or you have a lot of foot traffic, your lawn may be in need of core aeration. Lawn aeration can help with weed prevention and relieve soil compaction. When soil is compacted, the grass roots do not get enough air and water. This may be another cause of a weak lawn.

  • Water and Mow

A strong growing lawn leaves little room for crabgrass invasions. Mowing your grass at about 3 inches allows for higher water retention and shade to the grassroots. Mow frequently to keep the grass at 3 inches high. Water regularly so your grass does not go dry and thirsty. You cannot dry out the crabgrass as it is self sustaining, so be sure to keep the grass watered so it can block out the crabgrass and other weeds.

Need Help?

Does lawn work sound dreadful, but you are dreaming of that beautiful lawn? Work all day and don’t have time to tend to the lawn? Hey, it is understandable! The good news is that you can always hire a professional lawn care company to spread your crabgrass preventer and do all of the other helpful treatments that will help prevent weeds and give you a beautiful lawn.

Lawn care companies will take care of the pre emergent and they will also come out and visit your lawn to do some crabgrass touch ups. If you are worried about the money, you will often find that hiring a lawn service will cost you about the same as purchasing materials and treating your own lawn.

If you have dogs or kids, you may want choose EPA regulated lawn care to keep your family members safe. Many professional lawn care companies, like Weed Pro, offer EPA regulated treatments, but it is a good idea to ask before you get started working with them. All in all, a good lawn care service will take care of you and your lawn.

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