As the weather slowly begins to warm up each spring, crabgrass begins to appear in and around your yard. Given the opportunity, this pernicious weed will take over your entire lawn, making it essential to stop it in its tracks. What then can you do to keep your Plainfield-area yard safe from nuisance crabgrass? Keep reading to find out!
What is Crabgrass?
Before we get started, let’s take a minute to familiarize ourselves with our subject. Crabgrass is a common annual lawn weed found all over North America. It can easily be identified by its many stems or “legs,” which grow close to the ground and sprawl outward from one central point. Crabgrass seeds, which can lie dormant by the thousands in your soil, tend to germinate when the surrounding temperature exceeds 55 degrees. Once germinated, it can spread quickly, siphoning critical water, nutrients, and space away from desirable turfgrass and causing it to die.
How Do I Prevent Crabgrass?
While crabgrass is one tough customer and a particular thorn in the side of lawn enthusiasts everywhere, some careful maintenance can prevent it from growing on your lawn in the first place. Some of our favorite crabgrass prevention methods include:
Mowing to the Proper Height
Every grass variety has a height it likes to be kept. To use a local example, Kentucky bluegrass, the most popular turfgrass species in Illinois, prefers to be mowed to be between 3 and 3 ½ inches tall. At that height, your lawn can grow into a dense, luscious patch that requires minimal maintenance and resists weeds. And it’s that particular quality that can keep your lawn crabgrass-free. Just contact your lawn care provider to get the necessary information on your lawn’s grass type.
Applying High-Quality Seasonal Fertilizers
Along that same line of thought, a well-nourished lawn can fight off crabgrass and other weeds remarkably well. When fortified with the necessary nutrients during each season, your grass will be a stronger plant from root to stem that can outcompete less desirable plants. Additionally, a regular fertilizing regimen from a respected lawn care provider will encourage healthy, year-round growth, never allowing weeds like crabgrass to germinate at all!
Crabgrass prefers hot and dry conditions. It follows logically that an appropriately watered lawn will not be conducive to a crabgrass infestation. Just as with proper mowing height, though, every turfgrass species has different hydration needs, so be sure to understand these before running your sprinklers. Too little water and crabgrass will move right in. Too much water, though, and you may expose your lawn to disease and fungus, which can have even worse consequences for your grass.
Fixing Lawn Damage
As an annual plant, crabgrass naturally dies in the fall and winter. This, however, along with natural turfgrass, die off, and any other seasonal plant reduction can leave exposed patches in your lawn. Come spring, these are the first places that new crabgrass plants and other weeds will occupy. This same idea applies to lawn injuries such as divots, animal burrowing, or pest damage. Regardless of the cause, using quality seed and fertilizer along with careful watering will help repair damaged spots before crabgrass has a chance to make itself at home.
How Can I Get Rid of Crabgrass?
If after all of this, you still notice unwanted crabgrass growth on your lawn, don’t despair. It is, after all, a tough, persistent, and stubborn weed. Encouragingly, there are a few reliable crabgrass removal methods that we like to recommend to our clients, including:
- Smothering it with a brick, stone, or any other heavy object to prevent it from growing and spreading any further. Once the crabgrass is dead, quickly remove it and reseed the area.
- Applying vinegar of at least 5% acidity to the stems until they’re fully soaked and repeating the process for several days. This method has the added bonus of being carefully targeted and thus not damaging surrounding grasses.
- Pouring boiling water directly onto the plant and the immediately surrounding area. While this will kill crabgrass, roots, and all, it can damage healthy and desirable plants as well so be careful and always work slowly.
- Pull or dig up young plants. This will prevent further spread but is most effective early in the season before crabgrass has had an opportunity to establish its root system or, much worse, lay down its seeds.
- Use a good-quality chemical herbicide that is formulated specifically to target crabgrass while minimizing collateral damage to surrounding plants.
Get Professional Organic Lawn Care Without All The Harsh Chemicals by Pure Prairie Organics
If all of that sounds like a lot of work, or you’d rather avoid chemicals altogether, we don’t blame you. Instead of letting crabgrass take over your lawn, though, give the organic lawn care service from Pure Prairie Organics a try! Our organic approach to taking care of your grass minimizes the use of dangerous and environmentally unsafe chemicals while still giving you the results that you deserve. So the next time you notice unsightly and aggressive crabgrass shoving its way onto your lawn, give us a call, and we’ll take it from there. You can reach out to us online for an instant quote or give us a call at 630-780-7939.