Anybody who has ever cared for a lawn knows about crabgrass. It's that weed that keeps popping up and never seems to go away. It is ugly; it is bad for your lawn; and we all hate it. The question which we are always trying to answer, therefore, is how to get rid of this ugly weed once and for all. Well folks, here are a few tips to help you make your lawn finally be free of crabgrass.
Crabgrass is a warm-season annual weed, meaning it gets reproduced by seeds. The best way to get that crabgrass-free lawn is to prevent it from ever showing up in your lawn. The best way to achieve this is by applying pre-emergent herbicides to your lawn at the right time.
In order to know the best time to apply the pre-emergent herbicides, it is vital to know the life cycle of crabgrass. When the top two to three inches of topsoil reach about sixty degrees Fahrenheit, the crabgrass seeds will first germinate. Crabgrass will then produce seeds for the purpose of reproduction from mid-summer till autumn. The crabgrass grows, and people get upset, but the crabgrass does not care. The crabgrass will then appear to get killed by the autumn frost, but this is not the case. The crabgrass is still very much alive despite the fact that the plant died. The seeds are still alive and getting ready for its next attack.
This is where the pre-emergent herbicides come into play. The pre-emergent herbicides basically spread a cover over the topsoil preventing any crabgrass from showing its ugly face. It is extremely important not to practice core aeration after the pre-emergent herbicides have been spread, since this would ruin the cover which the pre-emergent herbicides had created, giving the crabgrass an entry point to the surface of your lawn. Therefore, you should be careful to aerate your lawn before you put down the pre-emergent herbicides. One important thing to keep in mind is that pre-emergent herbicides kill the crabgrass before the seedlings emerge. Therefore, the pre-emergent herbicides should be applied before the seedlings emerge but not too far in advance of the germination.
There are many different types of pre-emergent herbicides. The differences in each pre-emergent herbicide are often related to how concentrated they are, how long they last, and how effective they will be. It is probably a good idea to speak to a local landscaper before applying pre-emergent herbicides to your lawn, because they should know when is the best time to apply the pre-emergent herbicide in your particular area. One very good pre-emergent herbicide that I will mention is Dimension. Dimension is safe to use on almost all lawns, and provides long-lasting protection from crabgrass. This is a very positive thing since not all crabgrass germinates at the same time. Some will germinate later. That is where the long-lasting protection of Dimension comes into play. It will also stop the crabgrass's late bloomers from emerging in your lawn. Another positive thing about Dimension is that it also acts as a post-emergent herbicide. This, as it implies, means that it will also kill crabgrass after it has emerged. Post-emergent herbicides are also effective, but it clearly makes more sense to prevent the crabgrass form ever showing its face, than waiting until it's ruining your lawn before taking action.
It is important to water your grass after you apply pre-emergent herbicides. This is because the water activates the active ingredients in pre—emergent herbicides. Additional applications of pre-emergent herbicides are also beneficial, because not all crabgrass germinates at the same time. These later applications will kill the crabgrass's late bloomers. It is also important to follow the label directions of whichever pre-emergent herbicide you are using. Do not aerate your lawn or dethatch your lawn after you apply pre-emergent herbicides, and do not apply pre-emergent herbicides on freshly laid sod. Pre-emergent herbicides are definitely the best way to get rid of unwanted and ugly crabgrass, but the best way to prevent crabgrass from even being an issue is by having a healthy lawn. There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your lawn is healthy.
The most important thing is to fertilize your lawn adequately and at the right time. The best time to heavily fertilize is in the autumn. By autumn, the frosts will probably have killed the crabgrass, thus making it a perfect time to fertilize. Another way to prevent crabgrass is by watering your lawn less frequently but more deeply. This way the water will go deeper than the crabgrass grows, since crabgrass is an extremely shallow weed. One more thing is to mow high, meaning that your grass should be about two or three inches high. This will cause your grass to block light from reaching the crabgrass.
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