Controlling Crabgrass: 10 Things You Should Know

crabgrass growing in your lawn

I am completing my 40th year in lawn care and have heard the question, “Why is there so much crabgrass this year?” for the last 39 years.  I had nothing to compare the amount of crabgrass that was evident during my first year, so I did not realize it was a problem. The point is, crabgrass will germinate every year, even if a preventer has been applied to the lawn.

Dealing With Crabgrass – Expert Lawn Care Advice

10 Things to Know When Dealing with Crabgrass:

  1. Pre-emergent materials will only prevent it from germinating if the correct amount is applied and at the right time.
  2. It is equally important to follow good cultural practices of both proper watering and mowing.
  3. Of all the follow-up practices, mowing height has the most effect on crabgrass germination. After observing lawns for the last 40 years, the people that mow their lawn short have the most crabgrass problems.
  4. A preventer, provides a type of barrier that prevents new seedlings from pushing past the soil line. The seeds will germinate, but as they reach this barrier, the plant will die.
  5. Crabgrass can still germinate despite using pre-emergent materials, but usually only along the edges of: lawns, sidewalks, driveways and other impervious surfaces.
  6. In many parts of the country, two successive applications of pre-emergent products are applied to extend its control abilities.
  7. On average, pre-emergent materials remain active for two months.
  8. Although the properties of these materials allows them to bind to soil particles, excessive rain after an application causes the material to wash further into the soil, rendering them useless.
  9. Each crabgrass plant can produce several thousand seeds throughout the summer.
  10. When working against the many seeds in the seed pool, some are bound to find a way to germinate. As it has been said many times, nature finds a way to keep growing.

Controlling crabgrass can be difficult, regardless of what type of summer we have. There is a lot of it on lawns this year, but it has been a problem on some lawns for a long time. If crabgrass is a problem in your lawn, contact your local Spring-Green professional.

Should You Overseed Your Lawn This Spring?


A common question we receive in the spring is in regards to overseeding your lawn.  If you live in an area with warm season grasses, like Centipede or Bermuda grass, reseeding is not a very common practice and it does not work all that well. For those who live in areas where cool-season grasses like bluegrass or turf-type tall fescue grow, seeding can be a successful and a necessary part of caring for your lawn.

The best time to overseed an existing lawn is late summer until early fall. If you did not have a chance to do so last year, it might be something you want to take care of this spring.

You can overseed in the spring, but here are 4 important aspects that you should consider:

  1. Be conscious of the season for crabgrass preventers – If you seed in spring, you cannot apply most standard crabgrass preventers. These materials keep crabgrass seeds from germinating, as well as the new seeds. In the past if crabgrass has been a problem in your lawn, it would be advisable to wait until the fall to start overseeding. For most crabgrass materials, there is a 16 week waiting period between seeding and applying a crabgrass preventer.
  2. Be conscious of the season for broadleaf weed controlBroadleaf weed control is the same as crabgrass preventers, except the waiting time is less. If a broadleaf weed control is applied to an area, the standard wait time before seeding is 3 to 4 weeks. Once the new grass has germinated and become established, it has to be mowed two or three times before any weeds can be sprayed.
  3. Aerate before broadcasting seed – One of the best methods to ensue good germination is to aerate the lawn first before broadcasting seed across the area. Broadcasting seed across an established lawn will result in little to no germination.
  4. Water, water, water – Finally water is critical to the success of seeding at any time of the year. Once the seed germinates, the roots are tiny and have an immediate need for water.  If the roots dry out, the seed will die. Be sure you have some way to provide adequate water once the seed has been broadcast across the area. The best method is to have an automatic sprinkler system. If the system has not been started for the year when you complete the seeding, you may have to manually water the areas until your system is turned on. Depending on the variety of seed, you may need to keep the area moist for 4 to 6 weeks after seeding.

As you can see, seeding in the spring is not the easiest thing to do, especially when dealing with weeds. It is often better to keep the weeds down throughout the summer and then complete the seeding in the fall.  If you are a Spring-Green customer, contact your local Spring-Green and they will advise you with the best information on helping your lawn looks its best.