Crabgrass 102: What Happens When Crabgrass Germinates in the Summer

Do you remember Crabgrass 101, a deep dive into understanding how to control and prevent crabgrass? Next, we’re onto Crabgrass 102 to discuss the importance of applying pre-emergent in the spring in order to prevent germination in the summer months.

Crabgrass Control in the Springtime is Especially Important

Summer is a particularly challenging time for lawn lovers because it’s the season that crabgrass loves most. This stuff takes root and spreads quickly in these warm weather months, making it more difficult to control.

In Crabgrass 101, we focused on springtime because timing is everything. Applying pre-emergent herbicides in early spring is one of the most effective methods for preventing grassy weeds such as crabgrass from germinating and taking hold. If you didn’t get a chance to fertilize and pre-treat your lawn earlier this year, you’re in for some tougher yard work. But don’t worry–it’s still possible to have a beautiful, crabgrass-free lawn this summer.

Summer Crabgrass Prevention Strategies

A healthy lawn is a natural way to stop crabgrass in the roots. Grassy weeds struggle to germinate and grow in soil that’s populated with strong, healthy strands of grass. So, be sure to keep up to date on all of your summer lawn care essentials, such as mowing, watering, feeding, and treating your lawn, and remember to act fast with grass maintenance and repair whenever necessary.

Mow on a regular schedule and keep your grass at a consistent height across your lawn. Follow recommended mowing heights for your particular variety of grass, and note the One-Third Rule (remove no more than one-third of your grass blades’ height during a single mow).

Water your lawn once or twice a week, with a goal of providing your entire lawn with at least one inch to 1.5 inches of water per week. Water during early morning or early evening, and keep track of weather forecasts. Don’t forget–there’s no need to water your lawn right before or after it rains!

Fertilize your lawn multiple times a year, and treat discolored or dying patches of grass as soon as you spot them.

Treating Crabgrass That Has Already Taken Root

So you’ve noticed crabgrass growing in your lawn… now what? That same pre-emergent herbicide you forgot to apply in spring won’t work anymore. However, there is one powerful tool you can still use. Post-emergent herbicides are designed to kill crabgrass that has already germinated. They work well, but it is very important to follow the directions carefully, because post-emergents can kill actual grass and other vegetation, too. A few general tips for post-emergents include:

  • Only applying the herbicide to visible crabgrass, not general areas of lawn where the weed may not be present.
  • Waiting for a sunny day to apply. Rain will easily wash away the herbicide and the runoff can damage other areas of your lawn.
  • Waiting until mid-morning to apply, after the morning dew has evaporated and before the evening cools and brings more moisture back to the ground.
  • Applying to crabgrass when the soil is moist, to help improve root absorption.
  • Keeping children and pets away from treated areas, washing hands after application, and storing herbicides in a cool, dry, secure spot.

Finally, sudden yellow or brown patches of lawn following an application of post-emergent herbicide are an indicator you applied too much. In this case, flush the area with water as soon as possible to help dilute the herbicide. This will help prevent it from doing further harm.

The best thing you can do: contact us and let your local lawn care experts take care of the job in the spring before the damage is done!

Crabgrass is a stubborn, resilient weed that is difficult to remove and requires year-round attention to control. Most homeowners can tackle this common problem on their own, but if you need an extra hand, call in the local pros at Lawn Pride. Our exclusive 7-Application Lawn Care Program is the best way to attack crabgrass and all other common weeds, while leaving your lawn healthy and beautiful. Talk to our team today and find out how we can start helping you today.