How to stop Crabgrass from spreading

Crabgrass along a sidewalk July 27 2011

Crabgrass is most common at the edge of lawns, where it is hotter and the soil is more exposed.

Steps To Stop Crabgrass from Spreading

  1. The most important thing to do right now is to prevent the Crabgrass plants you have from spreading their seed.
  2. Pull what you can manually, especially along the edges of driveways and sidewalks which are easier to pull and more vulnerable to Crabgrass seeds. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU GET THE ROOTS!  It is unlikely the plant can produce a new set of seeds at this time of year and the crabgrass plant is annual so it will die after the first frost.
  3. If you are unable to pull the roots, or the number of plants is too high to get all of them, don’t worry, just cut or pull off the seed tillers. These are the feather- or brush-like stalks that grow up from the centre of the plant.
  4. Bag those and dispose of them in the trash. (Not compost! They will become some other home owner’s problem that way).
  5. Then in Fall, if you haven’t used it yet, use the small bag of seed we provided you to seed the areas where you pulled Crab Grass from (or where it died from) to get good grass growing there and make it less hospitable to the invader. If you have already used your small bag, let me know and I’ll get you another.

The crazy weather we’ve had this year has been good for crabgrass, unfortunately. Crabgrass seeds can lie dormant for years waiting for a hot year with less competition, and this year has been ideal for them with the extended drought.

The good news is Crabgrass is annual – the plants will die at the end of the year.  Crabgrass is almost always found near curbs and driveways as it’s seeds spread from blowing in the wind, down roads and sidewalks, and this is the first place they land and get stuck in.

Tip: use your finger to pull the spider-like branches of the plant back to the main stem (they spread far from the main base) like a spider, then with a butter knife or similar tool, cut off the plant at the base.  In 10 minutes, you can easily reduce the amount of seeds by hundreds of thousands!

Did you know?Crabgrass seeds can remain dormant in your lawn for as long as 20 years before they germinate.  The seed needs to be in just the right contact with soil, have a good amount of rain or water (like this spring) followed by high heat (like summer) in order to germinate!

Did you also know? Corn Gluten works by not allowing the young germinating seed’s roots to fully develop in the soil.  Tests have shown anywhere from 20-60% control over 3 YEARS of annual applications. (I know- not much)  The problem is, what does that percentage of control look like 3 years from now with different levels of  unpredictable germination each year depending on the weather???  Also, corn gluten does not discriminate or know the difference between a “good grass” seed and a “crabgrass” seed so overseeding efficacy is also reduced!  Manual removal is your best option.


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