Crab grass, seeding and fertilizer - Knowledgebase Question

Upper Brookville, Ne
Question by amir2
March 7, 2010
Hi - I live in Long Island. After a brutal winter, I would like to get an early start on my lawn. I used Scott's lawn service, but would like to cutback on costs. Do you have any suggestions on when to apply crab grass controls, seed and fertilize? What sequence do you suggest? Product recommendations? I'm a novice at this would would love to learn. THANKS


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Answer from NGA
March 7, 2010

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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. Application timing is important but it is weather related. Late March to early April is probably a good time to apply pre-emergence control, but if the weather warms up considerably before then, apply earlier. A dense stand of turfgrass prevents the weed from germinating and establishing. Fertilize your lawn in April, June, September and late November with a 3-1-2 ratio of NPK. I find that the garden center usually has fertilizer on sale at the right application time so watch the ads. You can overseed 4-6 weeks after the pre-emergent application (pre-emergents will keep weed seeds from germinating, but will also prevent grass seed germination), but you might want to check the product label to make sure of the waiting period. If it gets too late in the summer to overseed after the waiting period, you can overseed in the fall. Best wishes with your lawn.

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