As I drive around town I notice that the recent heat has brought out the crabgrass. What are you suppose to do especially if you want to have an organic all natural lawn. First I believe it best to understand a bit more about crabgrass. Crabgrass is an annual weed. It grows well in conditions that desirable grasses do not do well in, including: soils that are low in calcium, compacted and acidic.
Since crabgrass needs warmer soil conditions; you will not find it in shady areas of your lawn. You will find it in sunny areas of the lawns; especially along walks and driveways where the radiant heat from the asphalt or brick helps warm the soil. These areas also tend to have poor soil conditions because of the stone pack found along the edges. Another favorite area for crabgrass is on top of the leach field for septic systems.
What to do about it now? The best thing is get ready to improve the soil conditions come fall (only a couple of weeks away). Top-dress and heavily over-seed these areas come early September. If your soil test results warrant it make certain that you lime. Also fall is the best time to aerate your lawn. All these activities will encourage a healthier stand of turf for next season. Remember to mow high throughout the season!
Many folks attempt to control a crabgrass outbreak by lowering their mowing height. This is perhaps the worst thing they could do. Crabgrass plants are very adaptive to mowing height. Plants can produce seeds at mowing heights as low as 1/2-inch. Crabgrass reproduces by seeds. It has a prolific tillering or branching habit. A single plant is capable of producing 150 to 700 tillers and 150,000 seeds.
Establishing a dense and healthy stand of turfgrass is the best way to control crabgrass and other annual weeds, including grasses and broad-leaf weeds. The proper mowing height and frequency, fertilization and irrigation are part of the weed control program and should be practiced throughout the growing season.
As I write this, today’s high temperature is suppose to reach 94˚. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs as of July 12, 2016 109 municipalities had mandatory water restrictions while an additional 10 had voluntary water restrictions.
So what does this mean for your lawns? Not to worry! It is time to take a break from mowing. The cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue, favored in the northern half of the country have gone into dormancy. Since cool-season grasses thrive in temperatures from 65 to 75⁰ F they exhibit two growth spurts, first in the spring and again in the fall.
So just as the cool-season grasses came out of dormancy in the spring; they will do so again in the fall.
Welcome to the relaunch of PJC Organic’s Blog. It is our intent to provide you with regular, timely information regarding all natural organic turf care.
Certainly if you have a specific question please do not hesitate to contact us at 978-432-1019.
Pam & Fred