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Is It Too Late to Prevent Crabgrass?

May 4, 2015

Answer:  Maybe not depending on where you live or your particular lawn situation.  Crabgrass is an “annual” weed, which means it germinates in spring, in summer the plants produce seed and then they die in fall with the first frost.  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, 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.  That is because you can still prevent the later germinating crabgrass if you act fast.

You should apply your crabgrass Preventer by the time forsythia bushes in your neighborhood have stopped blooming and lost their flowers, or if you do not have forsythia, by the time you see lilacs in bloom, or before you start seeing dandelion puffballs.

You should apply your crabgrass Preventer by the time forsythia bushes in your neighborhood have stopped blooming and lost their flowers, or if you do not have forsythia, by the time you see lilacs in bloom, or before you start seeing dandelion puffballs.

If you decide it is too late to prevent crabgrass because you way past the forsythia blooming in your area and you are seeing it growing in your lawn now, you can I still get rid of it.  Ortho has a very effective crabgrass killer that not only kills crabgrass after you have it growing in your lawn, but also takes out hundreds of other kinds of weeds without harming your good grass.  You can use Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer on most any kind of lawn except Centipede, Bahia and St. Augustinegrass.  It is best to spray on a day when temps are between 45 and 90 degrees with no rain or irrigation for at least an hour after spraying.

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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