Even if you don't claim to be an expert at identifying weed species, most people know that those big dead patches in the lawn are crabgrass. Those unsightly, crabgrass patches are becoming even, more noticable in my neighborhood, due to spring, greening of turf. Everytime I see a crabgrass patch, I think of a local client that called our Extension office repeatedly with questions on how to control crabgrass. He had officially declared crabgrass, "Arch Enemy #1", and he was going to do everything in his power to defeat it! I know he is not alone in his fight with crabgrass!
The reason I chose this topic today is because crabgrass seeds will begin to germinate during the spring and early summer when soil temperatures start reaching 60 degrees F for five consecutive days. I think Central Illinois soils are approaching these conditions very soon. Also, according to David Robson,"Pre-emergence chemicals should be applied one to two weeks prior to the time when soil temperatures reach 50 degrees F for three consecutive days. For this reason, in a typical year crabgrass applications should be applied by April 1 for best control in central Illinois. Add a week or two as you move farther north, and subtract a week or two going south." So, get ready!!!!!! Last year, there were alot of issues with pre-emergence chemical control of crabgrass, because of the wet spring conditions!
Some helpful tips for controlling crabgrass (outlined in helpful Extension website links below):
- Your mowing height should be over 2 inches!
- Light, frequent waterings may help your lawn, but it also promotes growth of crabgrass!
- If applying a pre-emergence herbicide, timing is critical when controlling crabgrass!
If you get frustrated with your crabrgrass control fight, remember this:
CRABGRASS IS AN ANNUAL PLANT, SO IT WILL DIE WHEN TEMPERATURE DROP IN THE FALL! But, you must plan your attack the following spring : )
Here are some University of Illinois Extension links that may help you with our fight against crabgrass:
GOOD LUCK, my friends!