When you were a kid, spring was the reminder of all things free. Nothing could take away the joy we felt as each day got a little longer and a little warmer. All that grass reminded you of was back yards, colorful baskets, painted eggs and loads of candy. But as we have reached our more “mature” years, spring has become a reminder of all the things we need to get done… all of those things we know help to make a beautiful house as we transition from indoor to outdoor living again. Things like window cleaning, gutter clearing, pruning and mulching of plants, mowing and lawn fertilization and crabgrass control.
But what is crabgrass? Wikipedia’s definition is, “The prevalent species of Digitaria in North America are large crabgrass (D. sanguinalis), sometimes known as hairy crabgrass; and smooth crabgrass (D. ischaemum). These species often become problem weeds in lawns and gardens, growing especially well in thin lawns that are watered lightly, underfertilized, and poorly drained. They are annual plants, and one plant is capable of producing 150,000 seeds per season. The seeds germinate in the late spring and early summer and outcompete the domesticated lawn grasses, expanding outward in a circle up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter. In the autumn when the plants die, they leave large voids in the lawn. The voids then become prime areas for the crabgrass seeds to germinate the following season.”
As most people know, it is also the nemesis of the lawn aficionado and is difficult to deal with. But it can be combatted. The best means of controlling crabgrass is by having lush, dense, competitive stand of turf. Sparce, weak lawns give way to weeds every time. Those types of lawn should ideally be slit seeded to bring about the type of turf that will help to choke out crabgrass throughout the season. If that cannot be accomplished though, lawns should be treated with a pre-emergent crabgrass weed killer to prevent infestation.
These pre-emergence weed killers, for controlling crabgrass, when applied to lawns form a chemical barrier or blanket at the soil surface that prevent crabgrass, and any other seedling, from development. In Springfield, IL and other central Illinois communities, crabgrass pre-emergence weed killers are generally applied in early to mid April as the soil temperature reaches the 50 degrees mark. If the soil temperature is above that mark for consecutive days however, the effectiveness of the herbicide is greatly impaired.
If you have lost your baskets from last year, if you are struggling between pink, yellow, or traditional green Easter grass, or if you have eaten the giant chocolate bunny before the morning of… you are on your own. Sorry. Good luck.
However, If you would like more information about ensuring your turf and landscaping are the most beautiful they can be for the visit of your family and the Easter Bunny, do not hesitate to reach out. Our turf specialists are prepared to answer any questions you may have and to help design and implement a program specifically tailored to reduce your frustration and raise your green status in your neighborhood.