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Is it Too Late to Kill Crabgrass? Year-Round Answers for Cincinnati, Dayton, OH & Northern KY

7 min read

Crabgrass growing along edge of drivewayCrabgrass is undoubtedly one of the most hated weeds in Cincinnati, Dayton, OH and Northern KY. Known for its persistence, crabgrass is an aggressively frustrating weed. It grows in clumps and can spread over large areas of the lawn when not swiftly addressed. Crabgrass can also be difficult to control.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with it. Preventing crabgrass in the first place with spring applications of pre-emergent products is the best approach. However, there is a timeline on when these types of products are effective. If you’ve passed the window for applying preventer, then you’ll need to move on to a crabgrass killer to address it post-emergently. 

Of course, there also comes a point when even a post-emergent product might not be worth it.

Understanding that timing is everything, you might be wondering whether it is too late to kill crabgrass? Knowing that you could be reading this article at various times of the year, we’ve put together a handy guide with year-round answers to that important question.

Is it Too Late to Kill Crabgrass in Early Spring?

If it’s early spring, then the answer is no, it’s not too late to kill crabgrass. In fact, early spring is the ideal time to address crabgrass because we can still put crabgrass pre-emergent down to dramatically reduce crabgrass growth.

lawn technician applying crabgrass preventer

Because crabgrass pre-emergent products work by creating a barrier that kills crabgrass seeds while they’re germinating in the first place, the perfect timing for these products is obviously BEFORE germination. Crabgrass germinates when soil temperatures reach approximately 55 degrees and exactly when that occurs can vary year to year. 

Generally speaking, we use April 20th as a guideline as when we typically aim to have our first round of crabgrass preventer applied.

It’s important to recognize that although mid to late April is when crabgrass is germinating, you’re rarely going to see it above the surface before May. If you’re seeing a grassy weed growing in your yard before then, it’s not crabgrass. It could be Johnson grass or Dallisgrass.

Is it Too Late to Kill Crabgrass in Late Spring?

Of course, you might be reading this, and April 20th has already come and gone. Now you might be wondering if it’s too late to kill crabgrass because you missed that first round of pre-emergent. 

The good news is that we can still apply a pre-emergent product because not all crabgrass germinates at once. The bad news is that some of the crabgrass will have germinated, and the preventer won’t do anything for those weeds. 

However, we can use post-emergent products on any breakthrough during the summer months.

In fact, even if you had pre-emergent applications on time, we’ll still use post-emergent products for breakthrough (though there won’t be nearly as much). Pre-emergent will take care of the majority of crabgrass, but there is always some persistent breakthrough that occurs. 

Is it Too Late to Kill Crabgrass in the Summer?

If June has now rolled around and you haven’t done anything to prevent crabgrass, it very well could be running rampant in your lawn. If that’s the case, you’re going to have to treat all of the crabgrass with post-emergent controls.

Crabgrass taking over lawn

We’ll be perfectly honest that this can cost more money as these products are more expensive than preventer products. But if you don’t want to have to live with a lawn full of crabgrass all summer, you do have options and we’ll discuss them honestly with you.

Some people might hear that and assume it doesn’t make sense to sign up for a lawn care program in the summer but that’s not the case at all. We can still start taking steps toward a healthier lawn. One of the best defenses against crabgrass is a thick and healthy turf, so you want to start taking steps toward producing those great results with professional lawn care. 

There are also other issues to address in the summer as part of a comprehensive lawn care program. Broadleaf weeds, nutsedge, and insects are other items that need attention. 

The longer you let your lawn go without any professional care, the worse it’s going to get. That can make it even more difficult to get your lawn in good shape next season.

Is it Too Late to Kill Crabgrass in the Fall?

If summer has come and gone and it’s now Fall, it’s definitely too late for crabgrass preventer and there’s probably not a lot of sense in applying post-emergent crabgrass killer. 

At this point, you’re nearing winter and any crabgrass that is still present in your lawn will die off with the first frost. Crabgrass is a weed that loves the hot weather and it’s an annual, so it doesn’t stick around.

That being said, remember that crabgrass has already been seeding like crazy. A single crabgrass plant can drop 75,000 seeds in one growing season.

The seeds that crabgrass has put down during its growing season are going to be sprouting up next year. That means you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re on the schedule for preventative treatments next season.

In the meantime, the best approach right now is to focus on that thick and healthy grass we were talking about. One of the best services that you can have performed in the fall is aeration and overseeding.

lawn technician performing fall lawn aeration

Aeration helps relieve compaction and allows more water, oxygen, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil. When you overseed at the time of aeration, you ultimately get better results as you’re producing better seed-to-soil contact by breaking up the clay soil. Planting new grass will help to fill in voids where crabgrass and other weeds have died off.

Is it Too Late to Kill Crabgrass in the Winter?

It probably goes without saying that the winter is too late to kill crabgrass. There is no crabgrass to worry about at this point. Of course, if you do see some of the skeletons of what “was” crabgrass before it died, that’s a good indicator that you had a pretty serious crabgrass problem. That’s good to know if this is a lawn that you’ve newly inherited (when purchasing a home) and aren’t sure what to expect with the coming spring.

While you might think that there isn’t much happening in lawn care in the off season, the truth is, at a company like Oasis we are taking our off season seriously. We use this time to train, educate, and gear up for next spring so that we can spend another year tackling crabgrass and other tough-to-control weeds with the best practices and the most possible success.

Winter is actually a great time to sign up for lawn care services and make sure that you’re on our schedule. As you probably know, a new season can suddenly sneak up on you and the last thing that you ever want is to miss that ideal pre-emergent window because you forgot to call. Make that call now and it’s one less thing on your mind! You can rest assured that you’re in good hands.

Your Guide to a Healthier Lawn All Year Long

family playing in healthy lawn with no crabgrassAt the end of the day what you really want is confidence that your lawn care company has you covered no matter what the time of year. At Oasis Turf & Tree, that’s exactly what we offer. We’re addressing lawn care needs at the ideal time that they need to be addressed.

After all, you have better things to do than to be worrying about when to apply crabgrass products. You hire us because we can take those worries away from you.

And crabgrass is really just one example. Though it gets a lot of attention, crabgrass is honestly just one potential setback (of many) to a lush green lawn. There are so many different factors that come into play including soil health, diseases, pests, many different weeds, and more!

But at Oasis, we can be your guide to a healthier lawn no matter what the time of year.

If you truly desire an amazing lawn, then you need to choose a lawn care provider that can partner with you to get those great results. No matter what time of the year it is, the best lawn care companies are there for you not only providing excellent service but answering all of your questions along the way. 

Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio or Northern Kentucky lawn? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros take away your worries.

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