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Crabgrass is coming

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 4/16/21

Spring is starting to sprout. Daffodils and crocus are blooming, hyacinths and tulips are coming up and the forsythia is in full bloom.

Now is the time to treat your lawn for crabgrass. Did you …

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Crabgrass is coming

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Spring is starting to sprout. Daffodils and crocus are blooming, hyacinths and tulips are coming up and the forsythia is in full bloom.

Now is the time to treat your lawn for crabgrass. Did you have a crabgrass problem in your lawn last year? Crabgrass can be easily taken care of with a pre-emergent product that you put down now to control crabgrass all season.

You see, crabgrass is an annual grass, the crabgrass you saw last year isn't the grass you'll see this year. But the crabgrass you saw last year produced around ten thousand crabgrass seeds per plant just waiting to grow this year. Stop crabgrass in its tracks with a pre-emergent control that you apply early in the spring that encapsulates the crabgrass seed so that it can't germinate, problem solved.

The best time to apply this product is when the forsythia is blooming. Crabgrass seeds start to germinate when the forsythia blossoms start to fall, so treat your lawn now while the forsythia are still blooming.

The other lawn and garden product that you should be using right now is lime. Lime raises soil ph which is essential for healthy grass roots and the roots of almost all your other plants as well. Practically everything that goes down on your lawn or garden produces acid which lowers soil ph.

Fertilizers have an acid base, compost and leaves produce acid as they decay and even our rain has some acid in it, so lime is important to balance all of these items. If you have been fertilizing your lawn every year but aren't seeing the same results, put down some lime on half your lawn and just see if it greens it up. By raising soil ph you can unlock fertilizer that has been trapped in your soil for years.

When the soil is too acidic, the stoma (small pores) on the grass roots only open wide enough to allow water and dissolved nutrients in and this will keep the fertilizers out. This is why commercial lawn companies use liquid fertilizers to treat lawns, because they know that it will work even if the soil ph is off.

Fertilizers marketed for homeowners are all of a granular nature which are larger particles that the grass roots will not be able to use if the soil ph is off. Soil ph should be maintained around 6.5 to 6.8 for lawns and most gardens.

Blueberries, raspberries and evergreens like a more acidic soil, but keeping your soil ph around 6.5 will keep everyone happy. Wood ash can also be used to raise soil ph, but be careful not to overdo it. Wood ash is very alkaline, usually with a ph well above 8.0 and it can raise your soil ph to high with just a small amount, but many old timers still use it because they know the magic number of how much to use per hundred square feet.

If you are going to use wood ash, find an old timer, so you don't use too much. Just don't tell them I used the term “old timer”. Enjoy the weekend ahead, but keep an eye on the cool nighttime temperatures as we will have some scattered frost in the next seven days.

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