I have bad crabgrass. When should I treat my yard to get rid of it? Also, can I use a spray since a lot of it is on hills and is difficult to use a spreader?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Steve: Crabgrass belongs to the Digitaria genus. Depending on how much it has spread, it can be a challenge to control but it is possible, and understating the life cycle will help you to be successful. This grass is a shallow-rooted, warm-season, annual weed. It sets seed in the fall and then germinates the following spring when the soil temperatures rise between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. The foliage dies during the winter months so treatment is most successful during the spring just before new growth begins. Timing is essential when it comes to killing crabgrass. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide before the seed germinates is the most effective means of elimination. Pre-emergents are available in both liquid and granular form, so whatever is easier for you to use on your slope is fine. Corn gluten is an organic pre-emergent option but here are other non-organic options as well. Visit your local garden center to see what products they carry. Hand pulling is also an option since this weed does not have an extensive root system but this may be difficult on a hillside. You will want to avoid using a pre-emergent in areas where you have purposely seeded since these products are not selective and will prevent any seed from germinating. Maintaining a healthy lawn is very helpful in eliminating unwanted grasses. Proper fertilization and moisture level help in reducing weeds and competitive grasses from taking over. Mowing at a height of no less than 2 inches will help shade out the crabgrass and encourage the intended turf to thrive.