It’s that time of year when your battle with weeds kicks into full gear. Crabgrass is a headache to many Atlanta homeowners as they try to stop it from taking over their lawn and garden. Identifying the causes of crabgrass can help you keep this weed at bay.
What is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is a creeping grass that sprouts in the spring and summer and is abundant in warm, temperate climates like in the Macon and Warner Robins area. While it may be in the grass family, it’s not the kind of grass you want in your lawn. It’s an annual, opportunistic, grassy weed with shallow roots. It’s yellow-green and has wide, short leaves that grow horizontal, branching out in a starfish design. As it develops, the weed begins to grow upward to a few inches high with tiny hairs on either side of its leaves. Crabgrass is an an annual weed and dies in the winter, leaving bare spots in your lawn, but its seeds stick around to sprout again the following spring.
What Problems Does Crabgrass Cause?
The main issue people have with crabgrass is that it looks bad and is hard to control. While excessive weed growth indicates an unhealthy lawn, this weed will not cause major issues with the surrounding turf. Although it may look unpleasant, it doesn’t crowd out your desired turf grass. This weed just causes lawns to have bald spots throughout after it dies in the winter.
Why is Crabgrass Growing in my Lawn?
There are several variables that contribute to this weed’s growth, and you’ll be able to help prevent seeds from germinating by noting the windows of opportunity below:
- Weather: A very rainy spring and hot summer create prime growing conditions for crabgrass to take root. While this is one variable you can’t control, controlling the others will help reduce growth during these optimal conditions.
- Bald Spots– Being an opportunistic weed, this weed will grow wherever there’s room. Bare soil and sunlight is just the recipe it needs to grow. Reseed any major bare areas in your lawn.
- Overwatering- The soil in your yard has plenty of this weed’s seeds that are thirsty for water. Daily watering will encourage these seeds to germinate, so limit watering when possible.
- Mowing Height- Mowing your grass too short is a prime catalyst for crabgrass growth. Keeping your grass blades longer will help shade the soil from the sunlight that the seeds need in order to grow.
How Can I Get Rid of It?
The first step toward eliminating crabgrass is to properly maintain your lawn and address the variables that promote its growth. Sometimes, standard lawn care is not enough to ward off this relentless weed. If that’s the case, you do have some options.
- Hand Pull- You’ll often see crabgrass sprouting along the edge of your driveway or walkway, or popping up between cracks in the sidewalk. Hand pulling is the best method to getting rid of these weeds. Just be sure you remove the entire root system.
- Herbicides- Applying a pre-emergent herbicide will kill the seedlings as they germinate. This method is only effective before the seed sprouts. If this weed is already present in your lawn, you will need to apply a post-emergent according to manufacturer instructions or try our lawn treatment program.
- Fertilize– By fertilizing your lawn, you will help thicken your grass, reducing the opportunity for this weed to take over and making your existing grass more resistant to any types of weeds.
A healthy lawn is the best defense against the frustration of crabgrass. Thick, healthy grass will limit this weed’s opportunity to grow. By taking consistent steps to maintain healthy turf with proper mowing, watering, fertilization and aeration, you can eliminate your battle with crabgrass. If you need our help in getting the job done, call us at 478-318-7644 and we’ll get you set up with one of our Certified Lawn Care Specialists who will come check out your lawn problems and any weeds that might be damaging your lawn. Let Liquid Lawn help in your battle against weeds this spring.