Crabgrass & Weeds..

Asked March 23, 2019, 2:19 PM EDT

Live in Monroe county. Ten years ago I had one of the best looking front yard lawns in the neighborhood.. Today , it’s pitiful.. Crabgrass has invaded my property to the point of more crab than grass, so it appears.. Can you recommend a plan of sort where as I can regain control... Crabgrass killer, reseeding, whatever... I am ready to counterattack... thanks, Bill/Monroe

Monroe County Michigan lawns and turf

1 Response

You can regain control but it will take much time an effort when the lawn has been let go. There are no shortcuts. You will have to use chemicals beginning with pre-emergent in Spring. But there are right and wrong ways to apply it. Timing is important for the first thing. Optimum time is when forsythia's are in full bloom. Crabgrass germinates in the spring but does not grow until hot weather. Second, the pre-emergent sets up a barrier on the soil surface to block germination. This means that the yard should be raked as clean as possible before application and then left alone. Raking after application destroys the barrier, the reason for so many failures.

Next, raise your mower deck to 3" or higher to mow high. All great lawns are mowed high. The top growth supports the root growth and not the other way around as commonly thought. Mow short and the grass jettisons roots it does not need. The only way to have a healthy root growth is to mow high. When you do that it also shades out crabgrass and weed growth. Best way to mow is with a mulching mower that distributes clippings evenly over the lawn, that also fertilizes, if a small amount, every time you mow.

Then the best time to renovate is early fall when days become shorter and nights are cooler, and growing conditions for turfgrass are more favorable. It is smart to begin with a core aeration in September, done by most lawn care companies or rent the machine yourself. This relieves compaction, breaks thatch, and allows nutrients to reach the root zone. This is the time to fertilize and reseed. The two most effective times of the year to fertilize are the early fall and winterizer treatments in late October. All the while mowing high. Once the dense turf is achieved, It is possible to have a nice lawn without using pre-emergents or weed control and fertilizing just three times per season, but as I said upfront, much time and effort is required. All of the above assumes you can get a minimum of 1 inch of water on your lawn uniformly per week. If not, it might be best to not put in the renovation efforts. Regardless, mowing high is the single best thing you can do for your lawn, whether you do anything else or not.

Good luck!