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Best Way to Prevent Crabgrass from Choking Your Good Grass

March 10, 2015

If you love your lawn, you’ve gotta hate crabgrass.  It’s an aggressive, stubborn weed.  Even if you had just 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.

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.”

I have good news.  You can stop crabgrass and several other kinds of annual weeds before they begin to grow this spring.  Put down some Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer around the time of your first mowing.  This product does just what its name says:  halts crabgrass in its tracks by creating a barrier on your soil that stops it from germinating.  Plus it gives your good grass the deep Turf Builder feeding it needs to green up and create new roots this spring.  Unlike the bargain brands, the particles are tiny, which means you get a good weed barrier on every inch of your lawn.

If you plan on putting down some grass seed this spring, you need to use a different crabgrass preventer that will not keep your new grass from growing.  Instead, use Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer as it is compatible with grass seed and has the special food to help you get new grass faster.

Apply crabgrass prevention before yellow blossoms fall from forsythia bushes.  Note:  After this very tough winter, your forsythia may not bloom as much as usual.  If that is the case, apply before you see lilacs bloom.

Apply crabgrass prevention before yellow forsythia bushes finish blooming.

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7 Comments
  1. leonard permalink

    live in revere,ma.02151 4 miles north of Boston.
    Problem: cannot to nothing to lawn because of snow, area were I see lawn can I put crabgrass preventer on area

  2. Hi leonard
    I feel your pain… brutal winter in your area. After your snow melts and you have had a chance to give your lawn a light leaf raking (if you have patches of matted grass from “snow mold” you can apply crabgrass preventer. In your area I would estimate this will be the end of April.

  3. Patrick permalink

    Hi Ashton,

    I live in central Virginia (22401) and put Scotts Turfbuilder with Halts down around March 15, 2015. I’m afraid that may have been too early after reading your article. I don’t think I’ll have to mow for another month at least. Should I put another application of just Halts down later? Thanks.

    • Hi Patrick
      I think you will get adequate protection as your timing is still pretty good for your location. (When I was a county extension agent up in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, we told folks to get their pre emergent down by April 1.) Turf Builder with Halts gives you about 3 to 4 months of protection which will carry you into mid summer. If your lawn is relatively thick at that time then crabgrass generally will not germinate late in the season. However, if your lawn thins late in the summer you may get some late germinating crabgrass. You can always spray any stragglers at that time with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer.

    • len permalink

      lawn in Boston, ma. is very wet, frozen and needs clean up. At this time it will take perhaps end of May to dry out. What can we all do instead of just looking at it everyday

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