Did you know that crabgrass was originally brought to North America as a food source by Eurasian immigrants? It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, a few centuries later, this plant has become one of the most common invasive weed species on the continent. You can find the coarse, light green weed in lawns all over the country. In warmer climates it can be a particularly persistent nuisance. The good news is that by being proactive you can stop crabgrass in its tracks before it takes over your lawn.
Choose Grass Species Carefully
Do a little research before you seed, and choose grass species that are appropriate for your climate. Grasses that are well-adapted to the conditions in your region will grow stronger and have an easier time competing with invasive species like crabgrass.
Raise Your Mower Deck
Crabgrass grows best in direct sunlight. By allowing your grass to grow taller and shade the soil beneath it, you can rob crabgrass of the light it needs to thrive. Bump your mower deck up about a half inch or so to give your grass an advantage over invasive weeds.
Mind Your Watering Schedule
Rather than watering your lawn a little bit every day, try watering deeply and infrequently instead. Watering every day can be detrimental to your grass’ root systems. Crabgrass, on the other hand, will spread quickly in conditions that are unfavorable for your grass. By watering deeply once or twice a week instead, you can improve the health of your grass and make it more difficult for crabgrass to survive.
Apply Herbicide in the Spring
If crabgrass has been a recurring problem in your lawn, consider applying a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring. This can stop crabgrass seeds from germinating before they have time to take hold in the summer.