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Crabgrass out pacing my grass...need help!

 
Brendan Sullivan
Posts: 17
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I've been following the cheap and lazy program for six+ year - great success is most of yard, one area, the crabgrass has proven hard to get rid of.

Had Ph tested 18 months ago and it was low and have been hitting the lawn with lime fall / spring to remediate low Ph.

Here's a couple photos.

Thoughts on next steps?

I was thinking to aerate this fall.

Should I start to hand weed?


Thanks for any / all suggestions.

Cheers
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Crabgrass
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crabgrass
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 543
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Thanks for posting. When you say you've been following the program, have you made sure your soil is healthy soil deep enough down to sustain the kind of grass you want? can you run through the items you've been doing in a bit more detail?

My first guess would be soil is not really topsoil more than a few inches down.

Second guess would be some trace mineral deficiency (boron, chromium, silica?)

Crab grass is just doing its job, filling in where yard angels fear to tread.

I support you in doing the organic lawn care program! keep up the good work.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Crabgrass is an annual. So keeping it from going to seed this year will reduce the number of plants that germinate next year. Your photos didn't show up for me, but at my place, I pull crabgrass by hand, or dig clumps out with a shovel, or chop it with a hoe. If I'm feeling ambitious I might toss some desired grass species seed in any bare spots in the existing lawn.
 
Brendan Sullivan
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Any tricks to posting pictures? I having trouble getting the pics to show.

The soil appears to be rich (results say differently). The soil test from 18 months back indicated only the need for Ph remediation.

I did have lush grass until 2 years ago when we had a giant water slide in that area for a weekend (b-day party) and the whole area became a mud pit. Deep mud too! Kids loved it. That was end of July in MA, and crabgrass took hold.

Typical program: leave mower clippings behind (mulching mower), leaf-cycle in the fall, organic fert in spring / fall, mow at 3.5", water infrequently. I have approx. 1 acre of grass, all doing well except this patch post mud-pit.

I'll start to hand weed and see if I can get after the crabgrass that way.

 
Jason Silberschneider
Posts: 177
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Have you thought about exactly why it is you don't want or like crabgrass? Does it have a particular quality that you particularly dislike?

I did a very quick google for crabgrass - avoiding the chicken little sites - and couldn't finding anything particularly insidious about it. If you're trying to a achieve the "mowable meadow" that Paul wrote about, then crabgrass becomes just one of the many species present.

Would bad things happen if it took over? It won't take over, because a monoculture is inherently unstable, but would it do anything bad? It just strikes me as a rather hardy grass to have, if grass is your thing.
 
Brendan Sullivan
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Couple negatives on crabgrass from my point of view...

Kids like the feel of fescue on their bare feet over crabgrass.

In new England, crab grass dies in winter. In spring, during little league and soccer seasons, this area has large dirt spots which are not conducive nor inviting to spring time sports in the yard.

Big fan of clover, not so much for crab grass.

I'll start hand weeding and then in fall airate / seed / fertalize
 
Lee Bewicke
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Corn gluton(spelling?) Relatively nontoxic inhibits new seed growth.
 
Bill Erickson
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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Lee Bewicke wrote:Corn gluton(spelling?) Relatively nontoxic inhibits new seed growth.


Seems that corn gluten has very specific requirements for application relative to seed germination. That said, putting on now in MA is a good idea, as long as it is only in the area where the crab grass is growing. Minimal google-fu shows it has efficacy as an organic fertilizer and inhibitor in one.
 
Jeff Reiland
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Location: Central Iowa
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Crabgrass seems to take a hold when the cooler season lawn grasses go dormant. Probably took a chance to move in when the grass was stressed by the waterslide, too.
I also am battling crabgrass a bit. Trying to hand/shovel weed some, collecting as much seed as I can to prevent next year, and filling those holes with compost. I will probably seed in a couple weeks (=cooler) so the lawn seed can get established.
I too dislike crabgrass for its aggressiveness tending to kill out lawn grass and short-lived life which leaves bare & dead spots.
Will try corn gluten next spring when the forsythia bloom, then probably again in mid July once the lawn grasses slow down their growth. The mower is set to 4 or 5" too so that should help the lawn grasses compete well too.

 
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