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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Crabgrass and Other Annual Grasses in Lawns

Posted by John Fulton -

Crabgrass and other annuals grass weeds can be seen about everywhere. Annual grasses which are common include the different crabgrasses, foxtails, and barnyard grass. They have been the most asked about items this past week. They will die with the first frost, so treatment is not available, or recommended, in the fall. The only exception to available treatments is the use of glyphosate (Roundup is one trade name) in areas where there are no desirable plants. Make a note of where these grasses are, and an overseeding to thicken up the grasses you want there may help crowd out the annuals. Preventative treatments may also be applied in the spring (around April 1 depending on soil temperatures) to kill the germinating seeds. As many have found out, a second treatment about June 1 is also necessary since the products only last six to eight weeks. The short life of preemergence treatments actually gets shorter in extremely wet years. These grasses are extremely troublesome this time of year as they stay wet and tend to clump on the bottom of mower decks, but there isn't a cure at this time – other than the continued mowing.

Keep mowing when the grass or weeds dictate mowing. The rule of thumb is to remove no more than a third of the leaf blade at any one time. This means that if your desired mowing height is 2 inches, you should be mowing when the grass gets 3 inches tall. The summer slump came early this year, but has quickly subsided due to all the rain. Except for the couple week break, we have been on the program of mowing every three days.. It's amazing what rain will do.

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