Lawn Care Tips

As a lawn care provider for 20+ years, my aim here is to provide some helpful hints, tips and advice to those who want to increase the health and appearance of the lawn they care for. Whether you are new to lawn care or an old hand, you will find information here that will save you time, money and wasted effort. Thanks for stopping by.

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Not All Grassy Weeds Are Crabgrass

It is important for homeowners to understand that crabgrass can be easily confused with other weedy grasses. Knowing certain characteristics of crabgrass will go a long way toward eliminating this confusion.

Most desirable lawn grasses have relatively narrow leaves. These grasses include: Bluegrass, Creeping Red Fescue, Chewing Fescue and others. Native wild grasses, on the other hand - such as quack grass, barnyard grass, goose grass, buffalo grass and even foxtail - tend to have a much wider leaf blade. Crabgrass also has a wide bladed leaf but it has other characteristics that make it easily identified.

First of all, crabgrass is an annual and will not survive any frost. Therefore, you will not find crabgrass in your lawn when temperatures still drop to or below freezing at night. And when crabgrass first starts to sprout it will have several very short and wide blades that are a much lighter green than the rest of the lawn. Crabgrass also has much less fiber content in its leaves than most other grasses. In fact, if you pull off a blade of crabgrass and smash it then roll it between your forefinger and thumb, it will basically become green mush. Crabgrass also tends to hold a lot of water in its leaves. This is why crabgrass is often called “water grass”. Another characteristic is that the growing habit of crabgrass tends to be more prostrate and spreading than upright. Probably the most distinguishing characteristic of crabgrass is its seed producing pattern. This pattern is somewhat reminiscent of an open umbrella with the fabric removed. The seed heads contain several long shafts radiating out in different directions that are covered with very tiny seeds. Another identifying feature of crabgrass is that when the temperature starts to get very cool, but not yet freezing, crabgrass will become almost violet in color.

The bottom line here is that if you’re going to take the time and spend the money on a crabgrass killer, make sure that it is crabgrass and not some other weedy grass that you’re trying to get rid of. I say this because crabgrass killer is selective - it will have an effect on crabgrass but not on most other grasses, even though those other grasses may be weedy. If you feel that you might still have difficulty identifying crabgrass, a quick search on your favorite search engine should supply you with more than enough pictures.

NEXT TIME: Soil vs. Dirt

1 Comments:

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