Crab Grass Makes Us Crabby

Crab grass control in the heat of the summer.

Given the serious heat of recent weeks, many of our lawns are showing stress.  Stressed lawns provide opportunities for weeds, insects and disease to take hold.  Probably the most obvious and disagreeable weed during these times is crab grass. This parasite robs desireable plants of water and nutrients and thrives in the heat of summer. It is also one of the most difficult weeds to control once it is growing.

The easiest way to keep crab grass under control, is to keep the desirable turf grass thick and healthy. Overseeding in the fall, applying pre-emergents in the spring, and proper mower blade height at various times of the year are key.

Clearly the best way to keep it under control is what is done in the fall and spring to minimize its germination; however at this time of the year, we are simply doing damage control. Here are a few tips to mitigate crab grass takeover during the summer months:

  • The mower blade should be set higher in the summer -- 3 inches.
  • Water the lawn only 2-3 times per week, and deeply (the water should
    penetrate to a 6-inch depth). Light, frequent waterings (daily, or every other day) keep the ground damp, which helps weed seeds flourish.
  • Spot treatments using a hand spray bottle filled with Glyphosate (found in
    Roundup, etc.). Organic liquids include cider vinegar or boiling water. These liquids are non-selective, meaning they will kill most any plant material they touch, so be careful.
  • Applying a selective post-emergence herbicide will produce a good result,
    but it is a toxic approach and pets and children should remain off the lawns for some time after application.
  • Torch them with a 2,000 degree Fahrenheit flame ... it's fun to watch them shrivel up and die before your eyes. And it's organic!
  • Hand weeding -- yes, pulling each plant up by hand.

If your to-do list is long or you'd just like some assistance, please .

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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