Posts Tagged ‘grassy weeds’

Summer crabgrass woes

Published by mrgrass on July 11th, 2013 - in Crabgrass

A typical July and August brings ideal summer heat for optimum crabgrass growth.  Hot summer days slow normal grass growth but crabgrass takes off like a rocket; growing up and then outward to claim weak, thin, or bare lawn areas.  If you failed to apply a pre-emergent spring crabgrass suppressant, chances are your lawn may look like the lawn to the left in the picture below compared to one treated to the right.  The lawn on the left is actually 90% crabgrass and come fall, it will all die leaving behind a brown dusty mess.    A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, a thousand crabgrass plants!  If left untreated, millions of crabgrass seeds will take hold as a new school year begins.  If you forgot or do not think a crabgrass suppressant works, just keep looking at the picture below – with only one treatment in May, simply amazing.  Even the bare/plow damaged edges are crabgrass free as of July 9th!

Crabgrass in a lawn

Fear not, there are still treatments which can slow, thin out, or completely eliminate existing crabgrass in small, medium, and even larger areas.  Chippers’ turf division offers several post emergent sprays which can be used to target just the crabgrass, not the good grass you want to save.  One well-timed spray can provide superior results when done properly with our licensed lawn technicians.  If you have lime green crabgrass and it is starting to resemble the photo above, give me call or your local lawn care company so you don’t allow your lawn to be lost in a jungle of crabgrass this summer. 

What else can you do to prevent crabgrass from taking over? In most cases, a healthy lawn which is cut properly and treated fairly in terms of care will have the best defense against germinating crabgrass; density.  Fair care refers to fertilizing, lime, aeration, and compost tea for example but does not mean any or all need necessary be done to insure a healthy lawn.  A proper cut and a thick healthy lawn are your best natural defenses against crabgrass.  This just makes good sense.  Think for a moment, a thin lawn has hotter, exposed soil and hot soil lets crabgrass seeds germinate and grow fast – real fast.  A few too short mowing cuts can cause an explosion of crabgrass in weeks where proper 3” mowing would have prevented some, if not most, under the same conditions.

If your lawn is in trouble, have a qualified company inspect the problem and provide solutions.  Something might be appropriate now, next month, or this fall depending upon the infestation given the overall lawn location and condition.  Don’t let a good lawn go bad, stop crabgrass before it engulfs your mailbox and pets!

 

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July & August can bring out the worst in a home lawn

Classic mid summer crabgrass outbreak

Midsummer weather can put even a great looking lawn into a slow dive of despair without careful attention.  As the heat kicks into high gear, soil temperatures reach their smoking point and crabgrass seeds begin germinating in earnest, popping like corn in a microwave.  Limey green crabgrass plants appear virtually overnight exposing vulnerable areas along driveways, patios, walkways, mailboxes among others.  Where did they come from?  How can they grow so fast?  Ah, the games have just begun!

If you have not watered and your lawn is cut short, now is when your thin lawn becomes choked out with crabgrass plants the size of small cars.  During hot, humid weather, cool season grasses will stop growing, sitting idle while crabgrass seemingly grows an inch an hour, basking in the searing July heat.  A weak or thin lawn, or those lacking a pre-emergent crabgrass barrier, are now at high risk for a crabgrass invasion that will only cease when school reopens.  While post-emergent sprays do exist, spraying at this stage is like using a garden hose on a house fire: it’s best just to let nature take its course.  Measures should be taken in the fall such as aeration, overseeding, lime, and turf thickening fertilizers to help prepare the lawn for the following spring.  A healthy lawn resists this invasion, and although areas may see some crabgrass, it will not be to the point where one could harvest the greenery for salads.

Damaged lawn

A casual glance toward the interior of your lawn may reveal disturbing patches and blotches of varying sizes and colors ranging from brown to white.  How can this be?  What went wrong?  Like a good CSI episode, it is time for the facts to speak and rule out the guessing.  These issues generally fall under environmental stress such as heat, sun scald, or some other non-pathogenic source.  Ruling out diseases can be very tricky depending upon the weather, timing, and location of injury.  This summer has seen a significant upswing in disease-related damage ranging from pits and scars, to unusual patches.  Preventative measures can be taken to help clean up your lawn with either traditional or organic treatments.  Insects are perhaps the easiest to detect given their predicable nature and timing during the season.  Now is a perfect time to treat for grubs, sod webworm, and chinch bugs using either organic or traditional materials.

Doing some simple things properly for your lawn during the next 6 weeks can reduce unsettling issues arising from disease, insects, and environmental stress.  Summer is generally not the best time to spray for difficult to control broadleaf weeds like ground ivy and violets since high heat and low soil moisture content reduce product effectiveness.    If you think you have an invasion at your house, get it checked out and maybe there is a solution to either stop the problem or slow the damage.  Don’t let your lawn scare the neighborhood children – plan ahead and keep it clean and green!

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