When to Prevent Crabgrass?
If you love your lawn, you’ve gotta hate crabgrass. It’s an aggressive, stubborn weed. Even if you had only one crabgrass plant last year, your lawn could have thousands of crabgrass seeds lying in the soil right now ready to grow up and choke your good grass to death. But you can put a stop to crabgrass and other annual grassy weeds like foxtail and barnyardgrass before they get started by putting down the right preventer.
The big question: When to apply? Experts say crabgrass germination starts when your soil temperature reaches 55 degrees for several days. Since most of you probably do not have a soil thermometer, here is a link to a soil temperature tracking map that provides you up to date soil temps for your area. You can also look at a 5-day projection of soil temps for your geography by using the pull-down menu at this web site. It is better to get your preventer down too early than too late. (Note: When I lived in California I learned how hard it is to use maps like this because of all the microclimate situations, so I suggest for Southern California get you preventer down now before March 1 and for Northern California before March 15.)
Another tip of what to look for in your local neighborhood to help you with your crabgrass prevention timing is the forsythia bush (see photo).
The next question is what product to apply to prevent my crabgrass and other summer annual weeds?
For the North, Midwest and West: For all lawns except Dichondra and Bentgrass apply Scotts Turf Builder with HALTS.
If you plan on seeding this spring, you need to use a special crabgrass preventer that is compatible with grass seed: Scotts Starter Food for New Grass plus Crabgrass Preventer.
If you have lawn questions here is a link to contact our Scotts Help Center.