Want to Keep Crabgrass Out of Your Lawn This Summer?
For many West Michigan property owners, crabgrass is among the most common, unsightly, and frustrating weeds to deal with on an annual basis.
Just one crabgrass plant can spread over 150 thousand seeds over the course of a single growing season. If you don’t take steps to stop them, they can slowly take over your lawn, expanding outward by a foot or more per year and leaving bare patches in their wake.
One thing that makes crabgrass different from many other weeds is that it’s more a symptom of an unhealthy lawn than a direct cause, and for that reason biological control (via a crabgrass preventer/pre-emergent) tends to be a better countermeasure than “post-emergent” herbicides.
But in order for these biological controls to work, timing is critical. If you miss either the fall or spring window, there’s little you can do to stop the crabgrass for another growing season. Then, applying a post-emergent herbicide directly to the crabgrass plant is your best option.
The Science Behind Stopping Crabgrass
In order to understand how to prevent crabgrass, you need to understand its lifecycle.
The best way to stop crabgrass is to apply a crabgrass pre-emergent, also known as a preventer, to stop existing seeds from germinating as soon as possible once the soil reaches optimum growing temperature.
The majority of crabgrass seeds start to germinate (that is, grow) once the soil temperature (at a depth of 2-3 inches) reaches above 55 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 days in a row, 24 hours per day. If there is any dip in temperature during those 3 days, the timing starts over. If the 3 days are achieved, you generally have a 2-week period to apply the crabgrass pre-emergent.
A healthy crabgrass plant will spread its seeds pretty much the entire time it’s above ground, and those seeds can lay dormant in the ground all winter long (or in some cases for several years) before germinating again in spring.
What’s The Next Step?
Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 situation makes this a little trickier to deal with, as landscapers like Bosch’s are currently unable to provide services to their customers, and many home and garden centers (especially those within larger big box retailers) may be closed. Fortunately, this is a DIY-able project for most homeowners with very limited equipment, which can still be purchased online, or possibly from smaller local retailers still offering curbside pickup.
If you’re an existing Bosch’s customer with lawn maintenance services, the good news is that our team already used pre-emergent on your lawn last fall. That should make this summer’s crabgrass problem much easier to deal with.
For any new customers, our program will be starting as soon as we are allowed to go back to work and the pre-emergent will be the first to be applied.
Kicking Out Crabgrass for Good
As we said earlier, crabgrass is more of a symptom of an unhealthy lawn than a cause. What this means is that, once you’ve gotten rid of your crabgrass using pre-emergent herbicides, the best way to keep it from returning is by ensuring that your lawn remains properly fertilized, watered, and cared for each year.
That’s definitely something Bosch’s can help you with, once we’re able to return to full operation after COVID-19. We are checking our messages regularly throughout the temporary shutdown, so please do contact us with any questions or requests for service and we will get back to you as soon as we can!