I CREDIT THE VIRGINIA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FOR THE CREATION OF THIS CATCHY TITLE.
It’s a good phrase, don’t you think?
Crabgrass is the number one weed in lawns here in Virginia. It is now mid-February and now is the best time to be thinking about applying a pre-emergence herbicide to control crabgrass.
To be successful in controlling the growth of crabgrass is to have a good understanding of its life cycle. Crabgrass is a summer annual that begins to grow in late winter to early spring (which is coming soon). Crabgrass, unlike most lawn weeds, grows from seed that the mother plant produced the previous summer. The mother plant flowers in the summer, then leave new seed on the ground and die completely with our first hard frost in the fall. In late winter / early spring this seed will germinate and start to grow. Thus, this is the lifecycle of this annual, grassy weed.
As I mentioned, it is now mid-February. Our weather in February can be fickle giving us lots of spring-like temperatures. If our soil temperature should reach 55 degrees for 2 or 3 days then crabgrass has the potential to begin germinating and growing. I checked my soil thermometer on the 14th and it is reading 42 degrees and rising. Hence, the reason I am writing this blog now and stressing the urgency to think about putting down a crabgrass pre-emergence NOW.
We have a unique indicator alerting us to put down our crabgrass pre-emergence and that is our blooming FORSYTHIA. You MUST have your crabgrass pre-emergence applied before the flowers have completely fallen off the forsythia. It is a convenient coincidence that crabgrass seeds germinate at the same time that forsythias are flowering. I have had numerous customers report seeing forsythia already in bloom.
You may be asking yourself why is Doug stressing putting down the crabgrass pre-emergence now in mid-February and not waiting until we see forsythia shrubs in bloom? I am suggesting now because our February weather can be fickle. Secondly, the standard pre-emergents have soil activity for 6 to 8 weeks. By applying it soon it ensures that you did not miss the appropriate application timing.
A few additional tidbit information:
- A thick, healthy turf is the best method of crabgrass control. Crabgrass seed requires sunlight to germinate. A dense turf canopy will reduce sunlight and thus help keep the annual crabgrass seed from growing.
- Remember, prevent crabgrass now but, wait to wage war on the broadleaf weeds.
- A second application of pre-emergent is suggested in May.
- Don’t think of adding any regular grass seed now. The pre-emergent will keep fescue grass seed from germinating and growing as well.
HAPPY GARDENING IN FEBRUARY!!!