How Does Crabgrass Affect My Lawn?

Everyone dreads getting crabgrass in their lawn, but do you know why this weed is such a nuisance? Part of the problem with this species is that many homeowners don’t spot it in their lawns until it has become widespread. Crabgrass can be difficult to identify, as it closely resembles many grass species. If you notice wide green blades with a dividing line down the center, horizontal stems and dense patches of growth, there is a good chance crabgrass exists in your lawn.

In addition to its elusive growth patterns, crabgrass is a weed that continually grows throughout the warmer months of the year and doesn’t stop until the species is removed from the lawn. Once soil temperatures reach 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, crabgrass begins to germinate and sprout up wherever it can. It competes for space with grass, and it’s aggressive enough to take over thinner patches of a lawn.

As crabgrass matures, it releases new seeds throughout the lawn — up to 150,000 per plant. These seeds sink into the soil and remain dormant until the following spring, when they will begin the growing cycle once more. Our team provides crabgrass control in the Minneapolis area to ensure this lawn annoyance goes away once and for all.

How Can I Prevent Crabgrass?

The most effective way to prevent crabgrass is to promote healthy grass growth in a lawn. When turfgrasses grow thick and evenly throughout the lawn, crabgrass cannot germinate in late spring and early summer. To prevent crabgrass from establishing a foothold, our team provides your grass with just enough water to thrive, but not so much that crabgrass grows alongside it. The frequency and timing of this maintenance largely depends on the species and age of grass in your lawn. In general, more established lawns require less frequent watering, with larger quantities of water per application. This will help the grass grow deeper roots that squeeze out crabgrass.

Proper mowing is another one of our most effective tactics, as it can prevent crabgrass issues in a lawn. As with watering levels, the mower settings we use for your lawn depend on the species we’re dealing with. We utilize these mowing strategies to help prevent crabgrass germination:

  • Because crabgrass thrives when sunlight reaches the soil, we never remove more than a third of the length of grass blades in a lawn
  • We set the mower to the upper height range of the recommended mowing settings for your grass type
  • We mow frequently to keep your law at an even height, which makes spotting crabgrass easier

Beyond these best practices for your lawn, using a pre-emergent herbicide will inhibit the ability for crabgrass seeds to develop into full-grown weeds. To stop germination before it starts, it’s important to pay attention to soil temperature. Once the soil has experienced three straight days of temperatures 60 degrees or higher, crabgrass seeds may begin to grow. Applying a pre-emergent formula during this time gets to the root of the problem before it grows.

How Do I Get Rid of Crabgrass?

Once there are physical signs of crabgrass in your lawn, using a pre-emergent herbicide will not be effective. In these situations, our experts turn to post-emergent herbicides to take care of the weeds. Unlike pre-emergents which are evenly spread throughout a lawn, post-emergent herbicides only need to settle where crabgrass is actually growing.

Weather conditions play a large role in the the effectiveness of post-emergent herbicides. Our lawn experts pay close attention to the weather forecast, because applying post-emergent herbicide just before rainfall can lead to situations where the herbicide is washed away. The temperature can also reduce the effectiveness of post-emergent herbicides. Extreme heat and cold temperatures hinder crabgrass absorption, so it’s best to apply the herbicide when temperatures range from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our team also takes note of moisture in the soil prior to application, because moist soil tends to absorb the product more effectively than completely dry conditions. If things are looking arid, we’ll water the lawn before applying the herbicide. There is a fine balance between too much and not enough when applying herbicide, so we keep a close eye on the results of our application to ensure it will be effective in the following days.

Why Organic Lawn Care?

Pre- and post-emergent herbicides come in many varieties, and some types of products contain harmful chemicals that will do more than just damage your lawn — they’ll harm the environment around it. Controlling crabgrass doesn’t require a destructive approach, and our lawn experts only use products that minimize any impact on the surrounding soil, water and air. This approach to crabgrass services in the Minneapolis area is safer for the environment as well as your family.

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