As Old Man Winter starts to slowly move his way out of the Frederick area and spring starts to move in, a lot of changes take place within our lawns. One of these is the immediate growth of annoying, opportunistic weeds. Sticking out like a sore thumb on a carpet of lush grass, these lawn invaders like to poke their ugly heads out and irritate us for as long as they can. And with our cold winters and hot, humid summers, we have our fair share. Some of the most common weeds we deal with in Frederick include:
- Common Chickweed
- Hairy Bittercress
- Black Medic
- Shepherd’s Purse
And one of the most challenging and stressful weeds of all is crabgrass. Even the most healthy lawns can see their share of crabgrass which can quickly grow out of control if not tamed. So how do we prevent and stop this obnoxious weed from invading our lawns? Read on. American Lawn and Tree Specialists are here to help you understand crabgrass, when it begins to emerge, why it’s such a challenge, and how you can best prevent and eliminate it.
How To Identify Crabgrass in Your Lawn
Believe it or not, crabgrass is actually identified as a grass type. Unfortunately, it’s also unsightly and has a coarse texture, and is not at all soft to walk on like your typical turfgrass. It sort of looks like a crab with wide, flat blades and extended legs. It produces long clusters of tiny white flowers. It grows low to the ground, often popping up through cracks in the sidewalks along your driveway. This low growth allows it to avoid being destroyed by the mower blade.
Why Is Crabgrass Such a Nuisance?
Crabgrass is an opportunistic weed that thrives on the sunlight, water, and nutrients it steals from your grass and other vegetation. It crowds out the good grasses growing in bare patches and anywhere it can seek out the weakest areas of your lawn. It’s typically a lighter green than your grass, making it stick out like a stain on a white carpet. With its tough exterior, crabgrass, it’s hard to break apart and can even stand up to heavy foot traffic. And while it is a summer annual that dies once winter comes around, before it dies, it spreads seeds throughout your lawn that find their way deep into the soil. Here, they lay dormant over winter and resurface when spring arrives again.
How Can I Prevent Crabgrass From Growing in the First Place?
While crabgrass can be challenging, there are a few ways to help prevent it. One is ensuring your turf is healthy and strong at all times. We suggest investing in a lawn care program such as the one we at American Lawn and Tree Specialists offer to ensure the health and maintenance of your Frederick lawn. Utilizing a program that provides an accurate amount of fertilizer applied at precisely the right times will ensure your turf is robust and better able to ward off disease, pests, and obnoxious weeds. Other ways you can help prevent crabgrass from overtaking your Frederick lawn include:
- Water once a week deeply.
- Mow properly. Because crabgrass seeds do not germinate in cool conditions, taller grass will help shade the soil and keep it cool. Of course, height adjustments also depend on the type of turfgrass species you have, so when in doubt, call a professional.
- When seeding a new lawn, do so in later summer.
- Use a pre-emergent herbicide.
Use of Pre-Emergents Weed Control for Crabgrass
Crabgrass begins to rear its ugly head in late winter/early spring. Seeds dropped from the previous summer and fall that laid dormant all winter will start to sprout when the soil temperature has warmed up to between 55 and 60 degrees for at least one week. While it can vary from year to year, here in Frederick, Maryland, that is typically in May.
Pre-emergent herbicides can help prevent crabgrass if applied before it starts to grow. Unfortunately, this can be challenging to predict, and if the window of opportunity is missed, it will not work. It’s best to hire a lawn care professional for the proper use and prevent further damage to your lawn. If planning to use a pre-emergent on your own, never apply to grass that is already wet or when the forecast calls for rain. And never seed your lawn at the same time.
Say No to Crabgrass and Other Weeds With Weed Control
American Lawn and Tree Specialists have been providing weed control solutions and lawn care throughout the Frederick area for over 23 years.
Where We Service
American Lawn and Tree Specialists currently works in: