Crabgrass Control – Lawn Talk Podcast

Lawn Talk with Harold Enger – Podcast Transcription

Episode: Crabgrass Treatment

Tim Kauffold: Welcome to Lawn Talk, I’m your host Tim Kauffold. Lawn Talk is a series of conversations with Spring-Green lawn care professionals. Joining me is Harold Enger. Harold has worked in the Green Industry for nearly 30 years and is a Certified Turfgrass and Ornamental Landscape professional. On this episode of Lawn Talk we’ll be discussing crab grass. Harold, I guess the most important question is how can I tell if I have crab grass in the lawn?

Harold Enger: Well,  for the most part, crabgrass doesn’t germinate until the heat of the summer. The soil temperature has to get up to about 65 degrees before those seeds will heat up enough to begin to germinate. So,  if it’s March or April and you think you’ve got crabgrass—it will probably be a different type of grassy weed that’s in your lawn—probably a perennial grass like quack grass, coarse fescue, velvet grass—something like that—that requires special treatment. But for the most part, crab grass grows very flat to the ground and it looks like the spokes of a wheel. There is a central axis and from there the plant flips out radial from that point flat to the ground. Sometimes the base can have kind of a silvery color, which is often called silver crab grass, another name we call it is goose grass. Crab grass often has a reddish base to it right down where the roots go in at the central axis.

Tim: And if this is a plant that needs the soil to warm up, what can I do if my lawn has already been treated and now I’ve got crab grass coming up?

Harold: If you did not get that spring application twhen we put down a crab grass control, there are some materials that we can apply that will control them, but because of the cost and so forth, it would be an additional charge. Now for the most part, what will happen is that those plants will die off in September into October, leaving behind unfortunately thousands and thousands of seeds. But if you have had our spring application with a crab grass preventer, you would want to call your Spring Green office, have them come out and take a look to see what they can do for it. Even though I did give you a brief description of what crab grass looks like, there are a lot of plants that may look similar to crab grass and not actually be crab grass.

Tim: So the situation could be different from what we first assume?

Harold:  It’s always a good idea to have somebody come out and take a look to make sure they are giving you the right information.

Tim: And is there anything I can do to help keep crab grass from germinating in the lawn?

Harold: One of the best things you can do is to mow your lawn high. It’s probably the number one thing that you have to do. For the most part, what we find is people who mow short will have more crab grass. Why? Well, because the sun can get down to those weed seeds easily, warm up that grass and warm up the seed so that it will germinate faster. The longer grass blade will shade the ground underneath and therefore you are not going to have as much of a problem with crab grass, except along possibly the edges, where it dries out quickly. We put down our spring application with the crab grass preventer. Basically, it spreads like a sheet across the lawn—a chemical control across the lawn— when the seeds hit that, they stop growing.  Well, you can’t really make this barrier jump from the edge of the lawn to the driveway or sidewalk, so occasionally you will get some growth along the edges. But if you give us a call, we can come out and take a look to make sure that’s what the problem is. And there are materials we can use to control crab grass that has germinated.

Tim: If you would like to know more about services available from your local Spring-Green lawn care professional, visit the Spring-Green web site, at  There you will find more detailed information, including how to contact a Spring-Green lawn care professional in your area. This has been Lawn Talk, an on-going series for homeowners looking to protect and enjoy their outdoor investment, brought to you by Spring-Green Lawn Care and its many local lawn care professionals nationwide.

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Thanks and have a green day!

For additional information, read our controlling crabgrass page.