This time of year we get many calls about crabgrass. Our customers will say that there are large clumps of crabgrass throughout their lawn. Only, it’s not crabgrass. It’s actually fescue. Fescue is a grass. It’s not a weed. And because it is not a weed, it will not die when “lawn safe” weed control products are used.
Fescue will invade lawns through several mechanisms. The fescue seed could be included in bulk grass seed and could have been “planted” with other grasses in your lawn. Or, it could have been spread naturally, by wind or animal droppings. Either way…you have it and you want to get rid of it.
Eliminating fescue clumps.
If you have a few clumps of fescue scattered about your lawn, the most effective way to eliminate it it to dig it up. Simply remove it from the lawn, ensuring you remove the roots. Then add a little top soil and grass seed and keep it moist until the seed germinates and the new grass reaches 3-4 inches in length. There are chemicals that will kill fescue, but they are harmful to regular lawn grasses too. So if you use these products make sure you only apply them to the fescue plant itself. After the plant dies, wait 10 days. Then dig it up and plant seed as directed above.
Crabgrass is popping.
Crabgrass has visual characteristics that differ from fescue. Crabgrass grows outward, radiating from center and then may send shoots upward. Fescue grows mostly upward. Crabgrass also has a red/purple hue at the base of the plant. The best way to prevent crabgrass is with a pre emergent herbicide applied during the spring. If crabgrass appears, it can be treated with a post emergent or simply removed like fescue.
Crabgrass often appears in bare spots. It loves open soil with plenty of sun. If your lawn is thin, then crabgrass may appear. That means a thick lawn will help prevent crabgrass. It will also grow in mulch beds, which are areas not treated by our program. So if it appears in your mulch, simply pop it out (ensuring you get the roots).
If you see a strange weed in your lawn, let us know. You can actually email us a picture of the weed so we can identify it. Just go to this page and fill out the information and upload your photo. We’ll help identify the weed and tell you how to eliminate it.