Crabgrass is one of the most prevalent and persistent weeds found in Mid-Michigan lawns. As a matter of fact, the Midland-Saginaw-Bay City area has the dubious distinction of holding the #2 ranking in the country (behind only Denver) for crabgrass!
Crabgrass is a summer annual that re-establishes from seed every spring. These plants produce a tremendous amount of seeds in the mid- to late summer, which not only ensures next year’s crop of weeds, but can also remain dormant in the soil for up to 20 before germinating! That’s why crabgrass is so persistent from year to year.
In our area crabgrass begins to appear in late June/ early July when the soil is warm enough for the seeds to germinate. It thrives in full sunlight and high temperatures and can easily choke out desirable cool-season grasses. It then dies back with the first frost.
As is the case with many weeds such as dandelions, crabgrass can be an indicator of other problems with the growing conditions of your lawn. For example, areas of grub damage often become overrun with crabgrass because of the elevated soil temperature there and the exposure of dormant seeds.
With crabgrass, the best time to treat for it is in the early spring with a pre-emergent that prevents the dormant seeds from germinating. To insure maximum effectiveness of pre-emergents, it’s also important to avoid disturbing the soil below a depth of ½ inch and exposing dormant seeds that can germinate. This is why aerating, power-raking and de-thatching are best done in the fall.
At Reder Landscaping we use the techniques of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to produce dense healthy lawns that are resistant to weeds like crabgrass in the first place. IPM is an approach to lawn care that involves the use of environmentally-friendly, common sense methods to maintain a healthy lawn with minimal use of chemical controls.
In the case of crabgrass, a simple practice like mowing the grass high enough to shade the soil to keep the temperature down and prevent seed germination is very effective. This combined with other techniques like proper watering, soil aeration, controlling grubs, and the responsible use of pre-emergent treatments will keep your lawn free of crabgrass.
If you’ve been losing the battle with crabgrass and are ready for a beautiful, healthy “Reder Lawn” that is safe for your pets and family, contact us today.