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Dealing with Crabgrass Myths

Many home-owners may not be fully aware of the facts surrounding crabgrass germination. Confusion about annual grassy weed control often causes customers to pull the plug early. Giving up can lead to big problems later on.

Here are a few myths about crabgrass and pre-emergent weed control. Debunking these may help you in your efforts to prevent and control crabgrass in your lawn.

Myth #1 “Once crabgrass has germinated it’s a waste of time and money to continue to treat.”

Not true! Crabgrass starts to germinate in hot spots but not all plants germinate at the same time. There are also other annual grassy weeds like Foxtail and Goosegrass which germinate later. A late application is better than none and will still prevent 80-90% of the infestation.

Myth # 2 “Once Crabgrass has germinated there’s no economical way to control it.”

It’s true, post-emergent sprays can be expensive and tricky to use. But did you know that Greenview Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer with Weed & Feed and Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6, can kill Crabgrass even after it has germinated up to the 3-4 leaf stage? 

Myth #3 “If I haven't applied my weed control product by April it's too late.”

Every region has that magical date based on a typical spring. There is rarely a typical spring! Crabgrass starts to germinate when soil temperatures hit about 55°F for 24-48 hours. You don't get soil temperature by looking at a calendar. 

Myth #4 “The Forsythia blooms have dropped the season is over.”

Forsythia is a decent phonological indicator. Under normal circumstances it can approximate the time of Crabgrass germination. However, other factors influence Forsythia; length of daylight, air temperatures, exposure, and so on. Remember soil temperature is the key. An inexpensive soil thermometer is worth more than an acre of Forsythia when it comes to predicting germination.

Myth #5 “Crabgrass germinates everywhere all at once.”

Most of us know this isn’t true, but sometimes we act like it is. Rather than give up at the first sign of germination, plan treatments based on what we know about our soils and turf. Light sandy soils warm up before clay soils, sunny areas warm up first, thatch layers insulate and delay warming, established turf out performs weak or new turf, and turf boarding paved areas warms up quickly. Prioritize your treatments where practical to get those areas most at risk done first.

Myth #6 “The Dandelions are starting to bloom my only option is to call a lawn service.”

Not true. You can continue granular applications without the expense of a lawn service. Greenview Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer with Weed & Feed and Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 effectively controls most common turf weeds, and will kill small crabgrass plants.

Myth #7 “I need to do some seeding so there’s no way I can seed and get pre-emergent control in those areas.”

New turf strands are the most vulnerable to weed infestation so giving up on them is asking for trouble. Greenview Seed Starter Fertilizer with Crabgrass Preventer (active ingredient is Tupersan) can be used to prevent Crabgrass when seeding cool season varieties like Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Fescues, and certain Bents. Even if you did not treat that new seeding with Tupersan, get back and apply Greenview Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer with Weed & Feed and Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 at a later date.

For newly established lawns, use the initial application of this product only after turfgrasses have adequately developed a vigorous root system, uniform stand, and received at least two (2) mowings following seeding, sodding, or sprigging. The exception is newly established lawns of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and/ or tall fescue, where GreenView with GreenSmart Crabgrass Control plus Lawn Food may be applied two (2) weeks after the first sign of germination.

You’ll control a large portion of the crabgrass and other annual grassy weeds that germinate later in the season. If you’re seeding with a mix that contains Bluegrass and Ryegrass don’t assume that all the bluegrass has germinated after you have cut 2-3 times. Remember it takes a average of 21 days for bluegrass to germinate versus only 7 days for Ryegrass.

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