Digitaria – better known as crab grass – is a common nuisance weed for New Jersey homeowners. It’s identified by a light green coloration, ugly, uneven texture and emergence mid spring. You may be intimately familiar with this pest in your own backyard. Typically crab grass is a symptom of a poorly treated lawn, not the cause. Specifically, any bare spots in your lawn are open invitations for crab grass to set up shop and create unsightly blights. In addition, crab grass will tend to creep along your driveway or sidewalks. To top it all off, once your lawn has been invaded by the weed it is very difficult to remove; crab grass is a stubborn beast. It will also continue to re-appear annually as each plant can produce thousands of seeds in a single season.
There is some good news, however. It is significantly easier to prevent crab grass than to deal with it post emergence. Crab grass won’t begin to germinate until the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so you still have time to act. The use of a crab grass pre-emergent control product will help to prevent an enormous percentage of the weed from showing up. Crab grass is also an opportunistic weed: if your lawn is healthy, thick, and well fed there will be less room for crab grass to take hold. If your lawn is cut to the correct length (3-4in), it will also provide enough shade on the soil to help deter germination. Periodic doses of fertilizer will help promote desirable grass types which will out-compete crab grass over time. Properly watering your lawn deeply and infrequently will promote deep root growth of these desirable grass types, which further helps to prevent crab grass from establishing a foothold on your property. The fight against crab grass can take multiple seasons depending on the level of infestation.
In conclusion, a pre-emergent crab grass control product combined with good cultural practices will rescue your lawn from this unsightly pest weed and help you to have the best lawn on the block.