Hot Topics: Is Crabgrass Making You Crabby?

Lead Image for Hot Topics: Is Crabgrass Making You Crabby?

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One of the biggest struggles among green-thumbed DIYers is eliminating crabgrass, especially as regions and seasons can further complicate the task. So how have other homeowners handled this situation?

Original Post: Crabgrass Has Taken Over! What to do?

obbay Member

I live in New England, and September is the best month to plant lawns. Last year (October), I had a guy dig up my old lawn, regrade, add new topsoil, and add irrigation. He said not to worry if they were too late in the season; he would be back in the spring to make sure the lawn took. He never came back--offered to sell me more services and is a piece of crap. The irrigation works, but everything else is crabgrass.

I would like to get rid of the crabgrass and get a real lawn, but I also cannot make this my second job, nor can I afford to hire another to do it again.

Somebody once told me about an Italian guy in his neighborhood who would burn his lawn out every year, and it always came back great in the spring. I'm wondering if I could take a weed burner to my yard now and then in March hit it with the pre-emergent crabgrass fighter--maybe cut it short, burn it, then over-seed?

I know I'm all over the road here; just looking for some input. Maybe I do need to hire someone again...

Highlights from the Thread

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

Crabgrass is something that is difficult to control once it's established. Many of the chemicals are no longer permitted or manufactured. One of the best control methods is to prevent it from taking hold in the first place. This means applying a pre-emergent herbicide in late winter/early spring before the crabgrass seeds can germinate. It's very late in this summer to do much, so I would start making plans for next year.

Burning the lawn is not so silly, though ugly for a while and not to mention a hazard. Crabgrass does not survive the winter and relies on it's seeds to carry through for the next season. Many desirable grasses like tall fescue send roots very deep and can survive a fire.

obbay Member

Would the pre-emergent herbicide interfere with overseeding/new seed? Our lawn was dirt in October and is about 80% crabgrass now.

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

You seed in the fall so the grass can get established. Then apply the pre-emergent in late winter or early spring to control crabgrass. That way you avoid trouble with the herbicide stopping the good grass from germinating.

stickshift Group Moderator

It's the wrong time of year for pre-emergent; that goes on in the spring. Dane is in NC, we up north definitely aren't applying pre-emergent until spring