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Is it Too Late to Prevent Crabgrass?

April 3, 2012

With the warmer than normal spring weather in most places, I have heard that question many times this year.  My answer:  “Look for some hints from nature to answer your “is it too late to prevent crabgrass question.”  To do the best job preventing crabgrass, you should have spread your crabgrass preventer by the time all the yellow blossoms fall off the forsythia bush, or by the time lilacs begin blooming, or by the time you are starting to see lots of dandelion puffballs.  If based on one of these indicators you conclude it is too late to apply your Turf Builder with Halts, or straight Halts (without lawn food), allow me to offer some additional info for you to consider.  Crabgrass seeds germinate over several weeks like waves hitting a beach.  The first germination is where the soil warms up first, like next to a driveway or sidewalk, or a south facing slope.  If you had lots of crabgrass last year, and you have not gotten your crabgrass preventer down yet, you might still consider making the application as soon as possible even though you are seeing one or more of the nature indicators I mentioned above that you may be too late.  That is because you can still prevent the later germinating crabgrass if you act fast.  Then in summer, you can spray any crabgrass you missed with Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer.

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  1. sandy permalink

    I have a weed I cannot identify and donnot know how to treat it. It has a purple flower. And it is taking over my lawn. Help!

    • Hi Sandy:
      The top two weeds with purple flowers that show up in spring are Henbit and Wild Violet. First is Henbit germinates in fall, grows in fall, blooms in spring and dies during summer. Each year the cycle repeats. It is easy to kill with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer anytime it is actively growing. If you kill it this spring, also try to remember to kill the new plants next fall before it has a chance to produce flowers and seed next spring. The second one is Wild Violet. Wild Violets grow mainly in shaded areas and are tougher to kill. They are perennials that come back from a spreading root system every spring. You can kill Wild Violet with Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed and Clover Killer. There are other weeds with purple flowers that you should be able to kill with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer.

  2. brendan keenan permalink

    i just purchased scotts-halts and grub spread, which should i apply first?

    • Hi Brendan
      Apply your Halts ASAP and water after application. Apply GrubEx anytime in May or June to control the next round of grubs that will hatch from eggs laid by beetles in your lawn during summer.

  3. Daniel

    Can I rottertil the ground and lay seed in the midsest of crabgrass? I have a North east corner home i have a large patch about half the lawn do i kill and seed now? The Front of the home has this ivy or crabgrass how is it spreading form the front to the back.

    • Hi Daniel
      If I knew where you are located I could give you specific advice. In most areas of the country you can rototill and seed now. If the area had a lot of crabgrass last year, you should put down Scotts Starter Fertilizer plus Crabgrass Preventer when you seed. Want to make sure you are not calling a perennial grassy weed that is growing in your lawn right now crabgrass (crabgrass shows up in summer from seed in the soil). If you have a grassy weed now that is a problem and you have very little good grass, you will need to kill the problem weeds with Roundup (which will also kill any good grass) and then you can rototill and seed 7 days after spraying. Let me know where you are located and I will give you more advice if needed.

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