What is crabgrass?
If you made a list of "top 10 worst lawn weeds", crabgrass would surely be towards the top! It starts appearing in late April in the Maryland area. Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that will grow through the summer and produce seeds that will germinate the following Spring. All crabgrass will be killed with the cold fall weather.
How to control crabgrass:
- Keep your lawn well-fertilized. Crabgrass only grows in areas that are already damaged. A healthy lawn is the best defense against crabgrass.
- Overseed in the fall. This will allow grass to grow back in areas that have been damaged by weeds and drought. The grass will be thick by the time Spring rolls around and will help to stop crabgrass.
- Apply a Spring pre-emergent fertilizer (Click here). This forms a barrier for several months that prevents new seeds from germinating. If you also want to overseed in the Spring, you need to use a special (and more expensive) pre-emergent that will not harm new turfgrass seedlings (Click here).
- Lastly, make sure to water your lawn in the event of a drought... Crabgrass is a tropical plant and actually grows fairly well in dry conditions. Occasional watering in the summer will keep your lawn grass healthy and thick enough to choke out crabgrass.
- If you see crabgrass growing in your yard, you can spray a herbicide to control it... It is important that you do this quickly as crabgrass is most sensitive to the chemical when it is still very young. Make sure that you use a chemical that has crabgrass listed on its label. Not all weed killer is effective on crabgrass.