Crabgrass is a tough opponent. This pesky and resilient weed drops thousands of seeds annually, so most homeowners have given up any hope of permanently beating crabgrass – but most would be happy with managing this invasive plant which can take over your lawn before you know it.
Where Crabgrass Thrives
The winter months in South Florida, generally October through April, are consistently dry. Your lawn can begin to exhibit brown spots and sparse areas where the grass has died off or is struggling. These areas will allow large amounts of water to collect, further allowing for crabgrass growth. Crabgrass grows and spreads quickly in hot, moist climates – meaning that summertime in Sarasota and Tampa is the perfect environment for growth. As mentioned, crabgrass spreads a large number of seeds, and if your lawn is not healthy or does not have a strong root system, it is highly susceptible to crabgrass.
Prepare Your Lawn to Fight Crabgrass
As mentioned, it is very difficult to stop crabgrass, therefore the more successful strategy may be to simply cultivate a lawn which is not conducive to its growth. A strong, healthy and lush lawn with strong roots gives crabgrass very little foothold and therefore is your best defense against the weed.
Fertilizing your lawn will help to strengthen the existing roots and maintain lush color. You will want to ensure that you are cutting the grass high enough so that the soil won’t be over-watered. (Remember, crabgrass thrives in hot and moist conditions.) Proper mowing will also prevent the likelihood of sun scorching, creating yet more sparse or thin areas for future crabgrass weeds.
For your Information: Here is the right height to mow your grass based on the variety of turf on your property.
Bahia Grass : 2″ -3″
Bentgrass: 1/4″ – 3/4″
Bermuda Grass: 1/2″ – 1 1/2″
Centipede Grass: 1 1/2″ – 2 1/2″
Fine Fescue: 1 1/2″ – 2 1/2″
Kentucky Bluegrass: 1 1/2″ – 2 1/2″
Ryegrass: 1 1/2″ – 2 1/2″
St. Augustine: 2″-4″
Tall Fescue: 2″- 3″
Zoysia: 1/2″ – 1 1/2″”
If you do wish to prevent crabgrass to the best of your ability, the best option is a pre-emergent herbicide. The granular herbicide creates a chemical barrier at the soil line which crabgrass cannot get through. These herbicides should be applied before the temperatures begin to heat up, typically around late March or early April. The weed, unable to break through the soil barrier, will be largely unable to sprout a seed head, although a few sprouts may get through. Subsequently, apply a post-emergent herbicide to kill any shoots which breach the soil, preferably before they reach three to four inches.
Unfortunately, you may find that the herbicide products you use to kill the crabgrass can also do damage to your healthy grass. If you have questions regarding the best way to kill off crabgrass while leaving the rest of your lawn intact, you may wish to enlist the help of a professional lawn service.
Big Earth Landscape Supply is a leading provider of soil, sod, gravel, pottery and architectural elements for your lawn and garden. We proudly serve wholesalers across the Sarasota and Tampa area, as well as homeowners and business owners looking to beautify their property.
Whether growing a lush, green lawn or killing weeds and insects – we have every product you need.