I have been treating my yard for crab grass without success. I have...

Asked October 7, 2013, 7:26 PM EDT

I have been treating my yard for crab grass without success. I have fertilized and treated for grubs. This weekend I dethatched my yard and ended up with 16- 55 gallon bags of yard waste. I want beautiful grass, but I'm not having any success. Can you make suggestions. In addition, is using a mulching lawn good for the grass. My husband says yes and I say no, especially when what is being mulched is crab grass.

Cecil County Maryland

1 Response

If you read through our online publication on lawn maintenance, it should answer a lot of your questions and give your an idea of what you need to do to have a good lawn: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG102%20Lawn%20Estab...

Most people had trouble with crabgrass this year, even though they put down a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide at the correct time in early spring, because we had so much heavy rain that it dissolved it faster than normal and it was not effective long enough to prevent a lot of crabgrass seed germination. To get total season coverage, you'd need to apply it more than once.

Beautiful grass is difficult to achieve in Maryland because of our weather extremes--lots of drought and humidity, plus high temperatures. You may need to lower your expectations a bit. We are just coming off an almost 8 week drought, yet the tall fescue has rebounded well. Be sure you are planting the correct type of grass seed.

Unless you have a bonafide grub problem (more than a dozen grubs per square foot) you do not need to apply grub killer. A few grubs in the lawn is normal and will not hurt the lawn. The grass roots grow faster than the grubs can eat.

Unless you have a zoysiagrass or totally bluegrass lawn, you do not have a thatch problem. Those grasses do produce "thatch", but they grow differently than the tall or fine fescues that are used on lawns in Maryland. The grass clippings you see that fall in between blades after a mowing (and a mulching mower helps with this) decompose quickly and feed the lawn, as well as serving as a sort of mulch that shades grass roots, cushions them, and helps retain moisture around their roots.

Be sure you are fertilizing at the correct time of year (primarily fall.) Also, plant in fall, not spring. Finally, if your lawn is more than 50% weeds, you need to do a lawn renovation. Applying herbicide and fertilizer will not solve the problem Lawn renovation needs to be started in very early fall, (even late August.)