KC Gardens

Time to control crabgrass

Tip of the Week

Spring’s arrival is official as of March 20. Even though it has not felt much like spring yet, warmer temperatures, greener grass and even a few insects flying around the lights at night are all harbingers of yet to come. Each year the lawn has so much promise as springtime conditions normally make grass growth seem easy. It is summer’s arrival that challenges us in maintaining that high-quality look.

One of the most common problems we face each year in the lawn is fighting with weeds. Crabgrass tends to be one of the biggest problems, as it takes off under the stress of summer. Crabgrass, although a problem for most people, is one of the easiest weeds to eliminate, given the right product is applied at the correct time.

Crabgrass is best controlled with herbicides commonly referred to as preemergence or preventers. These chemicals kill the weeds as they are germinating, before they have a chance to establish. They do not prevent germination, just establishment.

These products are available to homeowners in a granular formulation that is spread over the lawn. The timing of the application is important for success. The products should be applied just before the weed seeds germinate. That timing is between late March and early April.

There are several products available on the market for crabgrass control. The most widely used products are Barricade, prodiamine, and Dimension, dithiopyr. Only one application of product is needed.

A decision to make when purchasing the product is whether to buy with or without fertilizer. Extension recommends caution in using a fertilizer in very early spring. Early spring applications cause excess top growth, which can deplete the plants’ root system of needed stored food for summer growth.

Fertilizers are normally not recommended if the lawn will not be watered during the summer months. Lawns that will receive summer irrigation are best fertilized with a slow release product in late April or early May.

Strictly follow all chemical application’s labeled rates and requirements, including the need to water into the soil and removal of the chemical from paved or hard surfaces to reduce water contamination. The time to prevent these common lawn weeds is fast approaching. Use this simple-to-apply treatment to help improve your lawns success this summer.

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