What Is Crabgrass and How Do I Prevent It?

Late May is an exciting time for homeowners, with warm temperatures right around the bend and more hours in the day to enjoy the outdoors. But for lawns, this can be a tricky time. Late May is also when a pesky weed tends to germinate: crabgrass.

An Introduction to Crabgrass

Crabgrass is an annual weed that favors warm temperatures and grows in bare spots of lawns where there is sunlight. While this “opportunistic” plant grows vine-like limbs and is naturally an eyesore for outdoor spaces, it also crowds out and weakens surrounding grass, making lawns more susceptible to the spread of insects and disease.

Aside from its distinct crab-like structure and light green hue, crabgrass is also defined by the fast rate at which it spreads. Once crabgrass germinates, a single plant can produce thousands of seeds between summer and fall. Growing faster than the healthy grass that surrounds them, crabgrass can quickly dominate lawns and leave homeowners unsure of what to do.

The Treatment Plan for Crabgrass

Considering the vigorous nature of crabgrass, getting rid of this weed after it germinates can be a trying task. But that’s not to say there aren’t measures that can help. A lot of this comes down to following best practices in lawn care:

  • Fill thin, bare spots on your lawn with grass seed to repair weakened areas
  • Mow your lawn at a higher setting so taller grass blades can shade the soil
  • Water your lawn deeply one or two times a week to help crowd out weeds

 

(Note: If you’re dealing with a small crabgrass infestation, you can pull them out by hand — if they are easy to remove. This should be paired with the lawn care tips highlighted above.)

The Better Bet: Prevent Versus Treat

The best way to kill crabgrass is to eradicate it before it even germinates. This solution comes in the form of a pre-emergent herbicide. How it works is simple: when applied to lawns, the granular material dissolves and creates a protective barrier near the soil’s surface to intercept and stop the growth of germinating crabgrass seeds.

(Note: Timing is important when it comes to the application of pre-emergent herbicides. To effectively control crabgrass throughout its entire growing season, pre-emergents should be put down before crabgrass seeds begin to germinate.)

Rather than take the DIY route, it’s best to let a professional handle pre-emergent applications. The licensed lawn care technicians from Lush Lawn can put down the proper preventative herbicides for your specific lawn conditions, avoiding any room for risk and ensuring the most effective results.

The Lush Lawn Crabgrass Prevention Plan

Crabgrass pre-emergent is included as a standard part of the Lush Lawn program. The preventative we use — Prodiamine — is the preferred product among professional landscapers. This granular pre-emergent provides season-long control of crabgrass, as well as other annual grasses and broadleaf weeds like chickweed, dandelions and more.

Interested in our lawn care services for your home? Contact us today for a free, instant quote.

Get Your Mower Ready for the Spring Lawn Care Season

Spring lawn care season is in full bloom, and now is the perfect time to get your lawnmower ready for use. It’s important to make sure that all parts of your mower are functioning properly before putting it to use so that any breakdowns can be avoided during the upcoming season. Follow these tips to get your lawnmower ready for this spring.  

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS YOUR SPARK PLUG?

Do you know where the spark plug is on your lawnmower? Or how to make sure that all the cables and breaks are functioning properly? Annually tuning your machine will help make sure that it stays functioning from year to year. Check out these five tune-up tips:

  1. Check the oil- If you didn’t change the oil at the end of last season, it would be a good idea to do that now. An engine can overheat and fail prematurely with insufficient or dirty oil. Checking and changing your oil now can save you money by extending the life of your lawnmower.
  2. Know the steps- Know the steps of how to tune-up your lawnmower. Helpful video or picture guides, like this one, will walk you through what you need to do to help your mower run its best.
  3. Be sharp and sharpen your blades- One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you begin mowing your lawn again is not sharpening the mower blades.
    Dull blades can do more harm than good to your lawn. A dull blade will “rip” out your grass instead of cutting it, which can subject your lawn to disease and even kill it overall. Therefore, make sure that your mower’s blades are either sharpened or replaced before using it on your lawn this spring. The Home Depot offers some great tips on how to sharpen lawnmower blades. Read more about how to do this here.
  4. Have the right tools- Knowing the tools that you will need for the project will save you time later on. For a complete list of tools that you will need to give your lawnmower a tune-up, click here.
  5. Do some research- This is said a lot, but knowing the proper techniques for mowing your lawn can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. To learn what you could be doing wrong, read this article for more information on tips and tricks on mowing this spring.

SUBMIT FOR A FULL INSPECTION

While it may not be the most popular idea, paying a professional, or even having a home improvement center look at your lawn mower can take the work out of the process.

Five Easy-to-Follow Spring Lawn Care Tips

Things are starting to turn green in Michigan. If you’ve driven through the parks lately or spent much time outside, you may have noticed the first subtle green glimpses of new life mixed in with the drab brown we’ve been surrounded by for five months. They’re tiny now, but these buds and leaves hold the promise of sunshine and summertime. Soon, the dreary browns and grays will be but a distant memory, and the trees, the shrubs and that one neighbors lawn will be vibrant emerald green. To help you be “that neighbor” — with the best lawn on the block — here are some helpful spring lawn tips:

  1. Weed Killer – There are a few different types of weed killer, and they work in different ways. Penn State’s professor emeritus of agronomy, John C. Harper II, gives the simplest instruction on which to use and when in his publication, “Lawn Management Through the Seasons.” He says, “Annual grass weeds, such as crabgrass, can be controlled with preemergence herbicides. These chemicals should be applied prior to weed seed germination in early to mid-spring…Broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion and ground ivy, usually are controlled with broadleaf herbicides. It is especially important to identify weeds present and select the herbicide that will provide the best control. Broadleaf herbicide applications should be made when weeds are actively growing in spring or fall.”
  2. Water – Water helps strengthen and enlarge the root system of your turfgrass, which will naturally choke out weeds. Once you notice that your lawn has begun to grow again, you may water it two times a week. For more information on watering your lawn, check out Michigan State University’s suggestions here.
  3. Fertilizer – Fertilizer is food for your lawn, and it goes hand in hand with water. Start with a light application of fertilizer to be sure that you aren’t also feeding weeds that you may not have control of yet. It is important to water your lawn after you fertilize, so if you are environmentally conscious or want to cut down on your water bill, fertilize your lawn before a forecasted rain shower.
  4. Move Matted Grass Around – If you have areas of grass that are matted down, hard raking will only damage your lawn. The newly growing grass beneath these mats needs a gentle touch so a leaf blower is a better option, as is a regular mowing with your lawnmower on a high blade setting to allow the circular motion to lift the matted grass.
  5. Reseeding – Bare spots and exposed soil in your lawn are likely to fill in with weeds like crabgrass, so it is important to identify these areas early in the season and encourage new turfgrass to grow. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention” is key here! For an in-depth guide to reseeding, see Michigan State University professor Dr. Kevin Frank’s article, “Tips for Reseeding Lawns in the Spring.” One final tip from Dr. Frank if you are following a reseeding with fertilizer: “Make sure to follow label directions, contain all fertilizer on the area to be seeded and off the driveway, and keep a minimum of 15 feet from any surface water.”

Get your equipment tuned up and dusted off and your supplies ready to go. With these suggestions, a little common sense, and a little elbow grease, you can have a lush, green lawn all summer.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Need More Help?

In lawn care, being late can mean the difference between a beautiful lawn and one that is full of weeds. That’s why LushLawn is here to help you take care of your lawn without you having to do it yourself! Use our Instaquote to get a free, fast lawn care quote today!

Do I Have Snow Mold in my Lawn?

Snow mold is a common problem, especially in Michigan. It can turn your gorgeous green lawn from fall into a true eyesore. Even though most cases of snow mold are not completely detrimental to your lawn’s health and may not require professional treatments, snow mold can still be irritating. So what exactly is snow mold and why does it happen?

What is snow mold?

Snow mold is actually a form of mold that forms under blankets of snow during winter. If you take a walk around your yard, you may notice circular spots that are gray, white, or pink. In the center of the spots will be a cobweb-like material, called mycelium. If the spot is gray, the mycelium will be gray or white. If it’s pink snow mold, there will be a pinkish tone to the mycelium. Knowing the difference between the two is very important; pink snow mold can be very harmful to your lawn and you should contact a professional lawn service like LushLawn immediately. Luckily, gray snow mold is much more common than pink in our area and it will not kill your lawn.

Why does my lawn get snow mold?

It forms due to a lack of sunlight and restriction to airflow. It is especially common after the winter season after your lawn has undergone a period of freezing temperatures and snow cover. It can also form without snow cover if it is cool, rainy, or overcast. Snow mold can happen to even the most well-groomed lawn, especially in Michigan with unpredictable weather changes.

How do you treat snow mold?

There are many steps that you can take to help your lawn with the effects of snow mold. Wait until the grass grows a little bit and mow the affected area to remove the dead, “crusty,” parts. If a week or two later, lightly rake the areas and “fluff” up the grass. Make sure you don’t rake too hard or you could damage the plant.

Let LushLawn Take the Work Out of Lawn Care!

LushLawn’s team of certified technicians can help you get the lawn you’ve always wanted. Our 14 step program addresses every issue you may encounter and delivers a beautiful lawn for you and your family to enjoy.