Crabgrass Prevention St Louis, MO
Crabgrass is one of the most common weeds found in lawns, and fighting this pesky weed is no easy task. Knowing exactly when to fight crabgrass is the best line of defense.
Crabgrass is easily identified because it often grows low to the ground, spreading outwards resembling a crab. Since it is an annual plant, it grows each year from germinating seeds. Crabgrass completes its life cycle by the end of the fall, producing seeds, and then dies. The main reason crabgrass is a problem is the amount of seeds it produces, as much as 150,000 seeds per plant! About half of those seeds may germinate the following year; the remaining seeds can lie dormant for 10+ years. If these weeds are left untreated, weak lawns can end up largely infested with crabgrass.
The best crabgrass control is prevention of either seed formation or seed germination. When spring soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, the first crabgrass seeds will begin to germinate. From mid-summer to fall, the crabgrass plants begin producing new seed. The most common defense used to control crabgrass seed germination are pre-emergent herbicides. Pre-emergent herbicides form an invisible barrier across the soil surface that stops emerging crabgrass from sprouting through. These are often combined with lawn fertilizers, so they can be applied simultaneously.
The first defense towards crabgrass prevention is maintaining a healthy lawn. A healthy, fertilized lawn is a natural preventative to weed growth because a dense grass root system prevents weed growth. Providing good irrigation during the season is also very helpful, grass can use up to an inch of water a week. Grass requires a deep soil penetrating watering that allows for a deep root system. Light, surface waterings often result in roots near the surface. These shallow roots subject them to stress in warmer times, thus making your lawn more prone to weeds. The last tip is mowing. Mowing at two and a half to three inches allows your lawn to stay healthy and not burn out in the summer months.
Timing of pre-emergent herbicides is crucial, as they act on the germinating seeds, it must be applied before these seeds begin germinating. In addition, if the pre-emergent is applied too early, the treatment will lose effectiveness toward the end of the season. Soils generally reach a germination temperature in early May, or when the outside air temperature averages 70 degrees. The crabgrass seeds are capable of germinating with soil temperatures reaching into the 90’s. The application of the pre-emergent must be perfectly timed to properly control this weed over the entire season.
If you are creating a new lawn from seeds, or reseeding bare spots, pre-emergent herbicides will stop desirable lawn seeds just as they do those of crabgrass. If you apply early, you may need to reapply a pre-emergent in six to eight weeks. Green T Lawn Care specialists can accurately assess your lawn to determine the best timing of these applications, saving you time and money. Fighting crabgrass can be a difficult task – but Green can make it easy on your lawn!