How to Kill Crabgrass
Crabgrass is the bane of any pristine lawn’s existence. If your lawn is your pride and joy, you have lots of reasons to want to get rid of it. Crabgrass can be very unsightly, but the good news is that it only lives for one year. If you happen to see crabgrass each year, it’s brand new plants. You can get rid of it with the right actions. Here’s what kills crabgrass.
What is the Crabgrass Cycle?
Crabgrass lives just a single year, and when it goes to seed, it lays the foundation for the plants you see coming back again. It goes through the entire life cycle in a single year, giving you the chance to make changes for next year.
Crabgrass creates well over 100,000 seeds per cycle, and that’s just a single plant. Mowing doesn’t help. It can set to seed with just a half-inch of growth. You’ll need a better strategy than just trying to keep your grass short.
Since it has just a year-long life cycle, your prevention efforts should center around having some kind of plan for not having it go to seed at all. If you can manage the plants before they ever throw out their seeds, you should be able to make some headway. Here’s how to get rid of crabgrass.
How Do I Prevent Crabgrass from Sprouting?
When you first start, you have to assume that there are thousands of seeds already in the yard. The best strategy for how to kill crabgrass is to start with a product that helps pre-emergent plants. These pre-emergent herbicides are your first line of defense because they handle the unseen threats from crabgrass seeds and seedlings.
These pre-emergents work by inhibiting germination for seeds and prevent seedlings from rooting correctly. This cuts off the emergence of crabgrass right from the beginning, but you need to get it on the ground right from the start. Really effective pre-emergents also feed your lawn to give the grass the best chance of survival overall.
If you go this route, you’ll have to give the pre-emergents a chance to work and fade before you decide to reseed your lawn. Those herbicides don’t distinguish between grass you want and the kind you’re trying to get rid of. You’ll have to wait at least a couple of months after the last usage before reseeding.
When Do I Use Crabgrass Preventers?
The timing is really critical for getting this application right. You have to apply it right before seedlings begin to emerge for the best results, so many people watch the temperatures outside for the best timing. When the soil reaches around 55 degrees regularly, you’re in serious danger of seeing new crabgrass seedlings.
It’s best to keep applying until temperatures reach over 90 degrees later in the summer. That should ensure that you’ve managed to handle most of the hidden seedlings. With consistent use, you should see a considerable drop in your crabgrass occurrences.
You may have to apply quite a bit the first year, but in the years after, it’s a maintenance process. The consistent maintenance is part of having control over the crabgrass and ensuring that you can conquer it for the lawn you’ve always wanted.
How Do I Kill Crabgrass That’s Already Sprouted?
If you’ve already missed the beginning of the season and you’ve got to consider a different plan. Handling plants that are already growing is a different matter. Post-emergent herbicides target these growing plants and prevent them from producing seeds for the next year’s batch of crabgrass.
Non-selective herbicides are powerful, but they don’t discriminate between your lawn grass and the crabgrass you need to kill. Typical selective herbicides that target common weeds and those that help deliver fertilizers to your lawn are not the best bet because they probably won’t work. Instead, choose something specifically for crabgrass and use that.
Selective herbicides can be used throughout the growing season and form the second line of defense. Between pre-emergent herbicides and handling any growing plants, you should see a huge reduction in the crabgrass marring your pristine lawn, and each season could get easier in your fight.
Why Does Crabgrass Keep Showing Up?
Grass seeds are prolific. If your neighbors aren’t staying on top of their own crabgrass, when it goes to seed, it could be spread easily to your lawn. Even if you can’t see the lawns that have it, those seeds travel far and wide. Animals, weather, and wind can all bring those seeds into your lawn each year without you knowing.
The best method is to keep on top of your treatments each year. Get on a schedule of handling your crabgrass before it emerges and then handling your own plants when you see them later in the spring before they go to seed. If it’s really important, you might offer to help with the neighbor’s lawns, as well.
Using Crabgrass Killer
It’s going to be something you’re always on the lookout for. Crabgrass preventers are the first step, and the best way to kill crabgrass is to make a plan and stick to it every year. A pristine lawn doesn’t just happen overnight, so you’ll probably be handling it each year in the same manner.
Once you’ve gotten the routine down, it can be easier and more comfortable to deal with crabgrass while nurturing your desired lawn grasses. Make sure you’re feeding and aerating your lawn as you go so that your desired grass is the strongest contender for resources in your yard. That can also help cut down on the emergence of crabgrass through sheer competition for water and soil resources.
A pristine lawn can happen even if crabgrass is prevalent in your area. Stick with it, and you’ll be the reigning lawn champion of your neighborhood association in no time. All the effort is worth it when you step out to your soft lawn and can finally enjoy what you see.
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