The Q&A Archives: crabgrass & lawn growth in Southern California

Question: I am moving into a place that is overrun with crabgrass. What is the best way to combat this, grow new grass keeping in mind water conservation since i am in a water restricted area? I was thinking about spreading some blended seed/fertilizer & hope I can grow some grass quickly.

Answer: It won't be easy to remove the crabgrass once it has sprouted and is growing well. Crabgrass starts germinating when soil temperatures are 50 to 55 degrees F for ten or more days and germination can take place over a 6 week period. Pre-emergence herbicides provide excellent weed control for crabgrass but they last only about 30 days. The compound prevents the weed seed from germinating, but it will not kill the newly sprouted seedlings. Late April to early May is an ideal time to apply pre-emergence control. A second application might have keep your lawn a little more crabgrass free. At this point, you might want to try raking it out or hand pulling. Next spring use the pre-emergent again, reapplying in 30 days. That should keep the crabgrass under control. Proper lawn maintenance practices can limit crabgrass invasions. A dense stand of turfgrass prevents the weed from germinating and establishing. Fertilize at the end of May and remember that fall fertilizing, overseeding, aeration and thatch control can also limit spring problems. Best wishes with your lawn.

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