If you noticed some crabgrass creeping across your lawn at the end of last year, you’ll probably see it again this spring as the warm weather arrives and the snow thaws. After all, crabgrass plants can distribute thousands of seeds before dying off in the fall with the first frosts.
Ultimately, crabgrass is all in the eye of the beholder. While some people are indifferent to its growth — it does provide low-maintenance ground coverage — others think it’s an unsightly weed that suffocates the lawn, leaving large, unsightly dried-out patches.
Luckily, if you’ve noticed crabgrass taking over your lawn, there are some easy-to-implement and all-natural measures you can take this spring to pair the growth back, allowing your turf to flourish — leaving you with a beautiful green space.
What Is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass (also known as Digitaria) is an incredibly hardy and widespread annual — you’ll have seen it growing along sidewalks and between paving slabs. There are two commonly seen types of crabgrass: large (or hairy) crabgrass and small (or smooth) crabgrass. Minimizing the spread of this tenacious plant often starts with a lush, healthy lawn. Here are a few ways to control crabgrass in your yard.
Heavy Watering Can Reduce Growth
Whether you hand-water your greenspace or if you have made life a little easier for yourself by installing an automatic irrigation system with help from local lawn sprinkler services, consider over-watering your green space to cut back on crabgrass. Over-watering will ensure the soil is heavily soaked — creating less-than-desirable growing conditions for crabgrass. Follow this process for several weeks, on an infrequent basis.
Adjust Your Mower To A Higher Setting
Crabgrass is a low-profile grass. By cutting the grass at a high setting (approximately 3 inches), you’ll leave the grass blades lightly longer. Doing so will provide shade for low-lying crab grasses, cutting off nourishing sunlight and preventing their seeds from germinating.
Physically Remove Crabgrass
If viable, and your greenspace isn’t too large, get to the root of the problem — literally. Use either your hands or a weed-pulling tool to extract crabgrass, but remember to pull it up from the roots so it won’t (very quickly) grow right back. It’s also a good idea to wear durable gloves if you choose this option, as crabgrass blades can be sharp and can cut skin.
Use Boiling Water
If you’ve noticed a patch where crabgrass has truly taken over, soak the soil with boiling water. You may need to do this multiple times until the individual grasses die. Once they’re gone, till the soil, add compost or topsoil if the land is naturally sandy or clay-based. Reseed these areas where the turf has thinned out, frequently watering the area by hand or by reprogramming your irrigation system.
Tending to your green space not only improves the look and feel for you and your family, allowing you to enjoy your backyard for the summer ahead, but it’s also a great way to boost your home’s resell value.
It’s rare for crabgrass to thrive on a healthy lawn. By watering, reseeding, and mowing regularly, you’ll be minimizing the potential for crabgrass to take hold moving forward.