Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crabgrass Menace

# weed control Crabgrass is up and affecting lawns. Lighter green foliage that does not blend well with the darker greens of desirable lawn grasses is one reason people feel crabgrass is a weed. Here we see crabgrass sprouting in a lawn.

Crabgrass likes warm soil. Most often it is found along the edges of the lawn -especially where the grass abuts concrete or asphalt walks or driveways. The hard surfaces hold the heat and transfer the warmth to the soil nearby. Coupled with the fact that the lawn tends to be weaker at the edges, makes these spots ideal for crabgrass to grow.

In this lawn, one may think that crabgrass is the problem. In reality, the crabgrass growing here is a symptom of a weak lawn. This patch of crabgrass is in a sunny, open location. Yes, that is the type of situation that crabgrass likes. But, I believe crabgrass is here because the lawn is weak. I don't believe the lawn is poor because of the crabgrass.

Sure enough, there were a number of chinch bug nymphs crawling through this area.(not the best photo, but they don't stop to pose, no matter how politely you ask). Not a lot yet, but much of the damage was from last year. This year the nymphs are just starting. My point is that this area was damaged by chinch bugs in the past, which weakened the lawn, which allowed the crabgrass to invade.

To reduce the risk of crabgrass, do protect your lawn from pests. Then do those things to keep your lawn healthy and dense- regular quality fertilizations, overseeding as needed. Also proper mowing and watering. For crabgrass, a mowing height of 3" is important. The longer grass blades will shade the soil and keep it cooler. This will favour desirable turfgrasses and discourage crabgrass.
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