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Kill Your Crabgrass Before It Gets Too Big

July 26, 2013

Crabgrass is wily and sneaky!  Just when your lawn is thinned from fungus disease or insects, crabgrass germinates in the weakened areas.  It then hunkers down flat where your lawnmower can’t reach and spreads to choke out your remaining good grass.  And each plant produces seeds… lots of seeds!  These seeds then germinate next spring so even more crabgrass can threaten to win the battle for your lawn.

If you decide to wait till fall to let the frost kill your crabgrass, you will miss the chance to kill it before it produces all those seeds.  Spray it now with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Control.  You can use this spray on any lawn type except St. Augustine, Centipede and Bahia.  This spray works best when you go after younger crabgrass plants.

Crabgrass germinated in this area where the grass was thinned from a lawn fungus problem.  It is easier to kill before it gets big.

Crabgrass germinated in this area where the grass was thinned from a lawn fungus problem. It is easier to kill before it gets big.

This photo of a mature crabgrass plant appeared in a Scotts publication about 20 years ago.  The caption:  “A single seed produced this monster crabgrass plant, which crowded out good grass as it grew.  Each plant is capable of producing tens of thousands of seeds for an even bigger problem next year.”

This photo of a mature crabgrass plant appeared in a Scotts publication about 20 years ago. The caption: “A single seed produced this monster crabgrass plant, which crowded out good grass as it grew. Each plant is capable of producing tens of thousands of seeds for an even bigger problem next year.”

 

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18 Comments
  1. I need some guidance. For past few years, I’ve been battling a bad case of Poa Annua. I didn’t realize what it was until this spring. I stripped most of the weed with a sod cutter, down to the bare ground. I planted grass seed and it did great – for awhile. Went on vacation for 2 weeks and came back and now Crabgrass taking over these newly seeded areas. I’ve pulled as much of it as can to minimize the potential of the seeds spreading but I’m sure that I didn’t get all of the roots. Unfortunately, there is not much of my newly seeded grass left. I’ve never had Crabgrass in my yard before so I’m not sure why it is suddenly growing so heavily.

    I know that you typically need to treat Poa Annua with a pre-emergent in the Fall and need to treat Crabgrass with a pre-emergent in the spring. Both pre-emergents will kill new grass seed. How do I battle both of these annual weeds while trying to establish new grass?

    • Hi Ed
      Let me know where you are located and I can give you some specific advice for this fall and next spring. If you are seeding cool season grasses (like Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fescue), late summer/early fall is the best time to plant. You would seed this fall using Scotts Starter Lawn Food and take your chances on how much Poa Annua germinated along with your good grass seed. Then next spring you would use Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer if you are not seeding, or Scotts Starter Lawn Food with Weed Preventer if you are seeding. Here is a link to the info about this preemergent that is compatible with grass seed: http://www.scotts.com/smg/goprod/starter-fertilizer-plus-crabgrass-preventer/prod100048/ Then around Sept 1 next year you would put down Scotts Turf Builder with Halts to prevent Poa Annua (you are right you can not seed with this preemergent).

      • Thanks for the advice. We live in Maryland.

      • Hi Ed… The advice I gave you is appropriate for your area. Our best grass seed blend for your area is Turf Builder Grass Seed Heat-Tolerant Blue Blend.

      • Thanks. I’m a bit worried about not treating the Poa Annua this fall since I’ve had so much of an issue with it in the past. The Poa Annua is why I had to strip some of the lawn in the first place. Is there an option to treat it this fall and then plant new seed in the spring and use starter fertilizer with crabgrass preventer?

      • Hi Ed… You can take the approach you just described. Get your Halts down before Labor Day. Any good grass in your lawn will benefit from a couple of feedings this fall. You can then seed any thin areas in spring as you put down the Starter with Weed Preventer. This particular pre-emergent is compatible with grass seed, however it provides only about 6 weeks of prevention compared with our Halts pre-emergent that provides around 3 to 4 months. This may be enough next year if your lawn is thick by that time. Good luck with your lawn.

  2. amit permalink

    Ed,

    I have purchased a house this year and the lawn in filled with weeds. I have decided to tackle one weed at a time ( any other advise welcome ). It was filled with dandelions in spring but they seem to have subsided.. now i notice ground ivy filling most of the lawns. Most of the websites i visited advise to wait till early fall for treatment.. Do you give the same advise.

    • Hi Ed
      Fall is a great time to kill weeds like Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie) as the weed controls are more easily absorbed into the plant to kill the roots and all. Tell me where you are located and I will give you some suggestions of what to apply and when for your area.

      • amit permalink

        I am located in upstate NY ( Albany area). Any suggestions on the right fertilizer for the lawn will be greatly appreciated as well.

      • Hi amit… Since you are in a high grub area, if you have not put down GrubEx yet this year, apply ASAP to protect against the grubs that will hatch late summer and early fall. Feed your lawn twice this fall: Turf Builder in early Sept and Turf Builder WinterGuard about 6 weeks later.

      • amit permalink

        Thx Ashton. I will follow the advise above.. Any other advise to control the weeds in the lawn ( creeping charlie etc.. )

      • Hi amit… Fall is a great time to kill Creeping Charlie and other lawn weeds. If you have weeds in all areas of your lawn you can put down Turf Builder Weed & Feed or WinterGuard Weed & Feed for one of your feedings this fall. If you only have weeds in some areas, you can spot treat with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer or Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed & Clover Killer.

  3. Bill permalink

    I used Scotts Crabgrass Preventer in early spring as it suggests; and here we are in July and my yard is covered with crabgrass.
    What did I do wrong? Or, perhaps the product doesn’t work

    • Hi Bill
      Sorry you have crabgrass. If you are in a part of the country that has received above average rainfall this spring and summer, you are likely to see some crabgrass even though you put down a crabgrass preventer. It’s been the kind of year that crabgrass loves. If you get your preventer down in time (typically around the time you do your first mowing of the season) and it gets watered in within a day or so from rain or an irrigation, you should get 2 to 4 months of prevention (depending on the kind of product used). Scotts uses an ingredient that is on the longer end of the range compared to other products. Factors that can cause crabgrass to show up is if the product went down too light or areas were missed in the lawn the prevention will be less. If the grass was weakened because it was mowed too short, or the lawn got a fungus or insect problem thinning it out so that crabgrass could get started. And finally, if the lawn was aerated, dethatched or soil disturbed when weeds are pulled by hand, this can break the prevention barrier allowing crabgrass to grow.

  4. Natalie permalink

    Hi I live in Virginia (tidewater area) and I have been following your Scotts plan for almost a year. When will I see the results of following this to a “T” for a lack of a better word. I put down the fertilizer with crabgrass killer when I was instructed to do so, however my yard has lots of crabgrass still. I also applied the recommended fertilizer plus weed killer after as well. Right now my yard is looking horrible. I am getting so discouraged! I was just wondering if it takes a whole year of following Scott’s plan to see the beauty the next spring??…Please any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi Natalie
      Please don’t get discouraged yet. Lawns typically look their worst this time of year in the Tidewater area. The key to growing a good fescue lawn in your area is feeding two or three times in fall. I suggest Turf Builder around Sept 1 followed at 6 week intervals with Turf Builder WinterGuard. This helps to maximize the root growth so the grass is stronger next summer. Crabgrass Preventer should be applied by the end of March in your area. This year has been a banner year for crabgrass because of the amount of rainfall and other factors. (I am posting later today on my blog about crabgrass that I think you will want to read.) Fall is a great time to control weeds. If you have weeds in only part of your lawn, you can spray them with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. If the weeds are in most of your lawn, you can use Turf Builder WinterGuard Weed & Feed for one of your feedings this fall. If you are not trying to grow a fescue lawn and you have Bermudagrass or some other lawn type, let me know and I will give you more specific info for this fall.

  5. mark permalink

    Once You Spray To Kill Crabgrass Must It Be Dug Up Or Will My Other Grass Which Is Bermuda Grow Through It

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