The number one most difficult weed to control in Maryland is crabgrass. The reason for this has to do with temperature changes, soil moisture and lastly timing. Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that has a simple life cycle in that it germinates in the spring, thrives in the summer and lays its seed just before it dies usually before the first frost as winter is approaching. So, with such a simple life cycle why is this weed so difficult to control and prevent?
The spring temperatures in Maryland can be a wild card for sure. We have had temperatures as high as 90 degrees when spring approaches and also as low as freezing on certain cold spring nights. The key is to pay close attention to the soil. Using the soil temperatures will give us a road map as to when to apply your crabgrass control and this actually helps us eliminate the fluctuations of air temperature which is often misleading. If you pay close attention to your soil temperature then its best to apply your crabgrass preventer when the soil reaches 55 degrees for 3-5 consecutive days.
Crabgrass loves having plenty of moisture in the soil to germinate. In Maryland our weather is very unpredictable so unfortunately you cannot just pick a date on the calendar and cross your fingers in hopes of applying your product within the proper window ahead of time.
It is very important to measure the soil temperature and test the soil moisture before committing to any date ahead of time.
I always say proper preparation prevents poor performance. When it comes to crabgrass it truly is well worth the time to use the various indicators diligently before using your crabgrass preventer or even worse to wait until it’s too late.
Timing is everything when trying to prevent crabgrass. There are many environment observations you can use to help with timing your pre-emergent crabgrass application. One of the most famous indicators is the forsythia bush. When this bush starts to show its beautiful colorful flowers it is an indicator that time is of the essence. This will help somewhat, but I like to use more concrete methods such as soil temperature and moisture simply because the forsythia can be influenced into blooming early for various reasons such as plant placement and erratic weather conditions. If you are checking the soil temperature consistently and it reaches our ideal temperature for 3-5 days consecutive then there is no guessing involved! It is time to act!
At OrganicLawns we have been in business for over 20 years and we take crabgrass very seriously. We know that the most important part of lawn beauty is keeping crabgrass from invading our lawns. We have talked the talk and walked the walk with crabgrass for two decades and plan to make it three. Let us worry about the timing and testing and bring out the lush, thick, weed free lawn for you.