How do you know if crabgrass is invading your lawn?
Crabgrass is an annual weed with a long germination period. This weed has wide, spread-out stems and leaves that lay flat to the ground and point outward to crowd out your grass and make it patchy. Once grass becomes patchy, crabgrass can take up even more space easily. This weed spreads quickly and will take over your lawn if left untreated.
One crabgrass plant can produce 150,000 seeds per season and grow up to 12” in diameter. With many bordering lawns in the suburbs, previous signs are not necessary for new growth.
Crabgrass is difficult to control once it has sprouted and will leave large void areas on the lawn where it has been killed. These “void areas” are typically popular spots for re-growth the following year.
If you are concerned crabgrass may be plaguing your lawn, it is essential to lookat the following crabgrass identification information and find out.
Season: Crabgrass seeds have a very lengthy germination time and will grow anytime between late spring and early fall, and are most commonly seen in early to late summer. Being an annual plant, a crabgrass plant will only survive one year and usually dies off in late fall.
Environment: Crabgrass needs an empty space with bare dirt to grow, it often does well in dry soil or in patchy areas where lawn grasses are struggling. This weed will spring up in places where the soil has been disturbed or in very warm areas (near sidewalks, pavement, and rocks).
Habit: Crabgrass is a low growing plant that is best identified from above; it has an almost circular growth with stems radiating from one central point in a star pattern.
Leaves: Crabgrass has broad, flat leaves perpendicular to the stem, with tips that point up slightly.
Auricle: An auricle is a small ear-shaped projection on the interior side at the base of a leaf. Crabgrass has a membranous auricle that is easily seen.
Collar: A collar is an area on the back of the leaf where it connects to the stem. Crabgrass has a divided collar that is easily recognized by its two distinct sections on either side of the leaf/stem junction.
Leaf buds: Leaf buds are where the new leaf blades emerge from the stems. Crabgrass has rolled leaf buds, which have a spiral-shaped cross-section. These leaf buds unfurl slowly and flatten out as they mature.
Flowers: Crabgrass flowers are one of the most recognizable parts of the plant and are the reason crabgrass is sometimes referred to as finger-grass. The flowers consist of between 2 and 13 long thin purple spires (approximately 4-6 inches in length) extending from the top of a long vertical stem. Crabgrass typically flowers in August and September.
Seeds: Crabgrass produces approximately 150,000 seeds. The seeds form on the stalks of the flowers in an alternating pattern that resembles a zipper. The seeds start as a light green and turn a tan to light brown color as they mature.
Types of Crabgrass: Two main types of crabgrass exist in the midwest: smooth crabgrass and large crabgrass. Smooth crabgrass tends to be short, reaching between 3 and 6 inches in height; it is a very light green color. Large crabgrass tends to be taller, and with some flowers reaching 2-3 feet high, it can easily be identified by the slight purple color at the base of its stems and leaves.
Do the weeds in your lawn match the descriptions above? Stop the problem before it’s too late. Call Green Bee Lawn Care for crabgrass control services today.