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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Crabgrass

Crabgrass is an annual weed. This means it dies completely every year and sprouts new from seed produced the year before. A healthy crabgrass plant produces up to 4,000 seeds during its short one-season life.

Why it's such a problem

Crabgrass is a very fast-growing plant. It has to be because it only has one season to live. Since it grows so fast, it can choke out slower-growing permanent grasses in your lawn. Once crabgrass gets a foothold, a cycle of summer crabgrass followed by winter weeds begins, leaving patches of bare dirt in the seasons in between.

Stopping the invasion

To get crabgrass under control, a thick stand of desirable grass has to be established. To do this in one season, the best approach is to concentrate on eliminating the crabgrass through the spring and summer. Use of pre-emergents (to stop the seed from sprouting) or post-emergents (to eliminate the plants once they germinate), or a combination of both is the best way to do this. Plan your seeding for late summer or early fall, and try to establish the new grass soon enough to mow it two to five times during the fall. Then an application of pre-emergent the following spring will be effective against any crabgrass, without harming your new turf.

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