Crabgrass is a pain to every Minnesota homeowner who owns a lawn. It is a weed that once it’s established is very difficult to kill. It spreads if it isn’t taken care of and can take over unhealthy lawns.
Crabgrass is a warm weather weed that is reproduced through seeds. The plant itself dies during the cold weather months but emerges in the spring when ground temps rise. The best method for ridding your lawn of crabgrass is to not allow it to reestablish itself. To prevent crabgrass you should use what is called a preemergent herbicide. This a chemical fertilizer that essentially creates a shield on your lawn preventing crabgrass from establishing itself. Scotts Halts crabgrass preventor and fertilizer is a good choice for doing this. This product uses a herbicide called Dimension and is safe for almost all types of lawns and will do a great job of prevention as well as fertilization for your lawn. You can also buy just Halts Crabgrass Preventor without the fertilizer.
If you are planning on doing any seeding, or overseeding you will want to purchase a preemergent that says it is for seeding. This type of crabgrass preventor uses a herbicide called Tupersan and it isn’t as effective at controlling crabgrass but it will not kill the seed you plant like the Halts will. You can even purchase a starter fertilizer that has this variety of crabgrass preventor in it.
Tips for application:-Timing is everything with a preemergent. You are going to want to apply the preemergent before crabgrass is established. Once it establishes itself it becomes much more difficult to get rid of. If you apply it too early it may not kill all the seeds. A tip for application is to put it down when the lilacs start to bloom. However, if you see crabgrass starting to sprout in your lawn and the lilacs aren’t blooming yet (this year is agood example of that) put it down now. You may have to reapply crabgrass preventor. Some crabgrass won’t germinate until later on in the spring so you may have to do another application of preemergent. Make sure that you aren’t doubling up on fertilizer as well. If a second application is needed then use the Scotts Halts without the fertilizer.
-With whatever crabgrass preventor you use you are going to want to water after you apply it. Water will activate the preemergent herbicide. Or just wait until there is supposed to be a good rain.
–Dethatch or aerate before applying preemergent herbicides. Doing so afterward can poke holes in the shield that you just applied to your lawn.
To get rid of crabgrass after it is established there are a few crabgrass killers but they aren’t nearly as effective as a preemergent herbicide. They work best on small weeds.
If you don’t want to use herbicides you can prevent crabgrass by having a healthy lawn. Crabgrass thrives in the areas where your lawn is unhealthy. If you have hard soil you can aerate. If you have problems with crabgrass in areas near roads maybe you should try something to sweeten the soil. Road salts can wreak havoc on lawns. Try adding gypsum to these spots. You should also make sure to fertilize your lawn especially in the fall.
Check out these other posts for more tips on crabgrass and weed prevention for your lawn:
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