Since You Brought It Up…, It IS Crabgrass!


Thanks for joining us again!  This week we took a departure from our “The Grass IS Greener Over There!” series.  We began a two-part article yesterday about crabgrass.  We discussed the myths of crabgrass!  We also discussed the possibility that the weed you were seeing in spring is most likely not crabgrass.  We will finish this week discussing what crabgrass is, and define its behaviors.  Although we literally, yesterday, were talking about how it’s virtually impossible to see crabgrass this early in the year – it could show up any day!  It was less intended to deal with when crabgrass does/doesn’t show up, and more intended to deal with general misinformation about crabgrass.   With warmer than normal temps, we might see crabgrass very soon.  Let’s make sure that you are prepared for it!

To summarize last week’s article, we could say that crabgrass is very treatable with the right resources.  You want to deal with pre-emergently, and if some still slips through it can be treated post-emergently as well.  There are other ways to help deal with crabgrass as well:

  1. Keep crabgrass seeds from spreading by killing it when you see it.
  2. Remove dead crabgrass plants.
  3. Replant bare lawn spots with new grass seed.
  4. Apply a crabgrass preventer at the appropriate times.
  5. Set your lawnmower at the high end of the range that is best for your grass type.
  6. Restrict too-frequent watering.
  7. Keep your lawn healthy as the most conducive way to get rid of crabgrass.

Continuing on I wanted to help you learn how to identify the gnarly weed and understand why it is such a colossal lawn pest.  This atrocious plant LOVES warm soils.  You will often see it in rocky or bare areas before you see it in the lawn itself.  You will also find it along curbing and sidewalks as the concrete will retain the heat in the soil longer than other areas and it thrives in those warmer soils.  Crabgrass also loves short lawns, over-watered lawns, and unhealthy/weak lawns.  Because we live in a desert climate it gets VERY warm, and we tend to over-water our lawns because of the dry heat.  This is why crabgrass is so common.

Through its life cycle you will see what it looks like and why it is so terrible:photo_2016-05-10_20-32-40

Crabgrass is really ugly – it is just a very unsightly weed.  Think

Beauty and the Beast,  except there are no redeeming qualities of this lawn beast.  When it starts to germinate and poke through the soil it is not very noticeable, and looks similar to the surrounding grasses.  As it matures though it takes a turn for the worse.   Here is what it will look like as a seedling –  you can see it sprouting up in the thin/bare areas



Crabgrass has high adaptability to differing circumstances –  Certainly there are IDEAL conditions for crabgrass to really thrive, but it can show up in a lot of different conditions as well.  It can stand tall, it can lay flat, it can send runners out, it can change shades of green, it is insidious!  This picture is a great example of the plant still early in its growth stage sending runners out –


It’s an annual weed that does not act like a normal annual weed.  Most annual weeds grow until they are mature enough to seed then die.  Crabgrass will continue to grow and grow while the temperatures continue to support it.  It will go to seed week after week after week while it lives.  It will only die if you kill it, or when the temperatures Crabgrassturn cold enough.  In the meantime, it will continue to mature – once mature you will see this in your lawn and you will be wishing you had applied that pre-emergent earlier in the year. – This picture shows crabgrass that has come up in a dead area of lawn.  It is very common to see crabgrass showing up where lawn insects have chewed on the root system of the existing lawn, killing it off and leaving real estate open for those crabgrass seeds to germinate and move in.


Crabgrass is in it for the long game – each individual crabgrass plant can produce up to 150000 seeds.  These seeds won’t generally germinate until the next season.  So the problem you are seeing this year was a result of last year’s crabgrass plants.  Next year will be a result of this year’s plants.  You can see why homeowners have so much concern over this particular weed.  When the plant is ready to go to seed you will see something similar to this –



If you fail to treat and stay on top of crabgrass you will have a larger problem to deal with next year.  The problem with crabgrass you have today took time to get to where it is.  This is very important to remember as it will take time to eradicate as well.  The good news is, if you are patient, it will be eradicated!


If none of these pictures look like the weed you are seeing, you might be seeing similar grassy weeds.  I wanted to goosegrass.jpgtouch base on some of those weeds as well.
Last we discussed quackgrass.  Some other weeds commonly mistaken for crabgrass are goosegrass – it looks very similar to crabgrass, however one of the defining differences are the rosette of the plant (the center) – goosegrass will be silver or white, as opposed to crabgrass being purple



Barnyard grass is another weed frequently mistaken for crabgrass.  It generally stands taller, and has a broader and longer leaf than crabgrass does.



One last grassy weed we sometimes see onPaspalum_distichum_01 lawns that can be mistaken for crabgrass is called dallisgrass – It doesn’t look too much like crabgrass when you look at the whole plant, however, many times a homeowner will use crabgrass as a term to identify any type of grassy weed they are sure of.





Our goal is to help you have an amazing lawn!  If you are seeing crabgrass in your lawn, you will not be better prepared to deal with it.  If you are a current customer who is seeing crabgrass (or any other weed) or just aren’t up to the task of dealing with crabgrass, give us a call!  We would love to help.  208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn

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