Juniper Landscaping acquires PROscape – Lawn & Landscape
The fight against crabgrass is an ongoing battle in the US no matter what type of grass you are dealing with. “It’s the weed that we get the most complaints about,” said Jim Stockhardt, operations manager at Evergreen Lawn Care in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
While a pre-emergence herbicide can stop crabgrass, post-emergence products are also a viable option. Warm weather and humid conditions in many parts of the country facilitate the germination of crabgrass, and the rains decrease the effectiveness of pre-emergence applications.
Crabgrass is especially tricky because while the icy weather destroys many weeds, crabgrass seeds are bound to reappear the following year. While pre-emergence is the first choice for these hardy plants, heavy rainfall can thwart efforts. Or your new customers will call you as soon as they notice problems on their lawns. In these cases, post-emergents can save their customers’ lawns.
To find it quickly, look into thinner or shorter patches of grass, as they warm up first, making it easier for crabgrass to take control, Stockhardt says. Look for plants with leaves that are wider or lighter than the lawn grass and for matted areas. “If it’s far enough, you’ll see big mats in the grass,” he says. “You can’t really miss it.”
The sooner you can treat it, the easier it will be to control, as more applications will be required as the crabgrass matures. In fact, no matter how fast you download them, an application or two likely won’t be enough, Stockhardt says. “We usually have to submit at least three applications if something comes through before it shows up,” he says. “It’s a tough weed to get rid of, and you can find it all the time on lawns where the grass isn’t well-established or healthy enough.”
Stockhardt says he needs to remove enough crab grass stains from customers’ lawns, which is ideal not only for aesthetic reasons. “Bald patches are ripe for other weeds to invade and take control,” he says, noting that this is usually a problem for new customers as his company always sprays herbicides before emergence in the spring. “You really don’t want to give them the chance to get in there as it will only lead to more callbacks and less happy customers.”
The best offense is a good defense, not just to fight crabgrass. A higher cutting height, good fertilization practices, and regular soil testing are key to discouraging crabgrass, according to Stockhardt. Although no matter how many times he tries to tell his customers to keep grass around 3 inches high, there are always some who insist on mowing every week.
“It’s just kind of rooted in them,” he says. “Some people just don’t talk to, but crabgrass loves short grass, so they will keep running into problems. Fortunately, we’re only a phone call away. “