Have you ever heard of The Song that Never Ends? Crabgrass is the weed equivalent of that irritating melody. This grassy weed may die off at the first frost but it comes back during the next growing season from the seeds that it created. If you’re not doing anything about the crabgrass growing in your yard, it’s going to multiply. That’s because a single crabgrass plant alone can produce thousands of seeds.
Crabgrass preventer (or pre-emergent) is the best way to get rid of this pesky weed. It works by creating a barrier which prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating in the first place. It eliminates 85% of crabgrass in a typical lawn each year, and there are post-emergent products to handle any breakthrough that does occur around edges and thinner areas.
While it’s ideal to get crabgrass preventer down early in the season, we know that life gets busy and you may have completely forgotten about it until you saw this annoying weed start sprouting up in late spring. Or maybe by the time you’ve found this article, it’s close to the end of the season and you simply can’t handle the sight of it any longer.
To answer the question Is it too late for crabgrass preventer , we will discuss several time frames—to cover any concerns, no matter when you are accessing this resource.
When is it Too Late for Crabgrass Preventer?
The ideal time to get crabgrass preventer down is in the early spring. In fact, we really like to get crabgrass pre-emergent down by April 15th at the latest, because the seeds will begin germinating around this time. However, not all hope is lost if you have missed that date. Let’s look at what will happen with crabgrass later in the year, and what strategy you can use for dealing with it, depending on the season.
If April 15th has recently come and gone, don’t resign yourself to having crabgrass in your lawn-- it’s not entirely too late for crabgrass preventer. That’s because not all crabgrass germinates at once; it continues to germinate throughout the spring, so we can still do an application of crabgrass pre-emergent to take care of anything that is still growing.
In terms of using post-emergent, which is a product that helps handle any crabgrass breakthrough, we typically begin that application when our technicians report they are seeing crabgrass in lawns again. Often, that is in the late spring and throughout the summer.
It’s also important to mention that even though you may see some thin areas where crabgrass is at its worst, you should resist the temptation to seed your lawn in the spring. Fall is by far the best time to seed. In addition, if you have crabgrass preventer down, it will interfere with new grass growth-- which is another good reason to wait until fall.
If you haven’t done anything to prevent crabgrass, it will probably be running rampant by summer. We’ll be honest and tell you that treating post-emergently is more expensive than treating preventatively. Ideally (on a lawn which has had preventative treatment), we will need to use only a minimal amount of post-emergent for breakthrough, which keeps that cost down.
But if you’re reading this in the summer, we can certainly discuss your options. We can apply post-emergent in areas of the lawn where your crabgrass is the worst— most likely along driveways and sidewalks.
Or we can let this season go by, and get you signed up now for crabgrass preventer next spring. Because one of the best defenses against weeds is to thicken your turf, we can also plan to aerate and overseed your lawn in the fall.
At this point in the year, it is too late for crabgrass preventer, even post-emergents. Any crabgrass present in your yard will die off with the first frost. However, new seeds are already down, so you will want to schedule a preventative treatment for next spring.
In the meantime, a good strategy is to aerate (to loosen up the clay soil) and to overseed, which is particularly helpful for those thinned out areas where crabgrass flourishes. Working toward thickening your lawn and getting it in better shape, will leave you better prepared when the springtime rolls around again.
Steps to a Healthier Turf
At the end of the day, crabgrass is just one potential setback to a lush green lawn. There are many factors that can impact your lawn’s health (and looks) including pests, soil health, and a variety of other weeds.
But with a comprehensive lawn care program like the one that Oasis Turf & Tree offers, we can ensure that your lawn gets what it needs to thrive throughout the season. And, as we mentioned, a healthier lawn is truly your best natural defense against weeds. When you have thick turf growing, coupled with some extra help from crabgrass preventer (and post-emergent as needed for breakthrough), it is much more likely to choke out weeds on its own. The result is a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood.
If crabgrass is driving you nuts and even it’s too late for crabgrass preventer this year, still contact us for a free consultation and we’ll discuss strategies. Or, feel free to give us a call at 513-697-9090 so we can answer any questions.