39April 12, 2018

The weather report shows warming temperatures for later in the week. Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that it will truly be the start of real spring weather.

I noticed that some of the forsythia bushes are beginning to show some yellow color in the flower buds. This is a signal that the soil temperatures are beginning to warm enough for you to consider applying a crabgrass control product on your lawn.

If you look at a lawn in mid-summer, you may see a grass-like weed that grows very close to the ground. The chances are that this weed is crabgrass. Crabgrass is an interesting weed. It can grow to a massive size clump in your lawn. Come the first frost, that crabgrass plant will die. You are never going to see that plant again in your lawn.

The problem is that during the late summer, that plant produces seed stalks that contain hundreds of seeds. The seeds will fall onto the ground and overwinter, and come the spring those seeds will sprout and new crabgrass plants will begin to grow. There are sprays that you can apply to the plant to kill the weed in early summer, but most people don’t get around to applying the spray early enough – before the crabgrass plant forms the seed stalks. The easiest thing to do is to kill the seeds before the seeds form new plants.

The seeds begin to sprout as the soil warms in early spring. It just so happens that the soil temperature that makes the forsythia bushes start flowers in the spring is pretty close to the soil temperature that makes the crabgrass seed sprout. For this reason, when you see the forsythia in bloom, it is time to apply the crabgrass control products.

Most of the crabgrass control products work by killing the crabgrass seed as the seed sprouts. The problem can be that these products can also kill grass seed that you may be applying in the spring. The more common products may also create problems in areas of your lawn that you seeded last fall. If you plan to seed this spring or if you seeded your lawn last fall, be sure to purchase a product that states that you can use it when you are seeding a lawn. If you chose any of the regular crabgrass control products, you will have to wait 16 weeks from when you apply it before you can safely re-seed your lawn.

If you want to use an organic control to kill the crabgrass seed, you can apply corn gluten to your lawn. This product has a 4-week control period so timing is important when using this product.

If you wish to control crabgrass using any of these products, you need to get your lawn raked up before you apply the product. The crabgrass control sits on the surface of the lawn and once water releases the product a barrier is formed on the surface of the soil that kills the crabgrass seed as the seed begins to sprout. If you apply the product and then do raking that barrier will be broken and you will have created areas where the crabgrass seed can grow.

Now is the time to think about applying a crabgrass control product to your lawn if you had crabgrass in your lawn last year. We carry all the products that I mentioned at our garden center.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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