The spring season is an exciting time for those that take lawn care seriously but it is also a time to be conscious of the threats your lawn faces. One particularly troublesome threat to lawns in Illinois is crabgrass. Crabgrass is a grass weed that is coarse in texture with pointed leaves that stretch outward from a shared central stem. This weed spreads quickly across lawns and will cause a lawn to be thin, patchy, and discolored if ignored. There are several weed grasses that are very similar to crabgrass and it is important to be able to distinguish the different types of grass weeds to take proper action. The following is a guide to identifying the different types of grass weeds in Illinois.
Crabgrass is perhaps the most common of the weed grasses with others that include quackgrass, tall fescue, poa annua, and goosegrass. Smooth crabgrass is a summer annual grass that is light green in color with mangled zigzag nodes. It begins germinating when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit and tends to grow in locations in weakened conditions such as sunny spots, areas damaged by insects, and along sidewalks and driveways. One crabgrass plant can grow up to a foot in diameter and produce 150,000 seeds in one growing season.
While crabgrass is more widespread, the other grass weeds, quackgrass, tall fescue, poa annua, and goosegrass, can also pose problems for Illinois lawns. Quackgrass is very similar in appearance to crabgrass but it grows in taller patches. Its strong roots make it extremely difficult to dig out. Tall fescue is a perennial cool-season grass with a more aggressive growth cycle. It grows in clumps with large blades of grass that grow as tall as two feet. Poa annua, or annual bluegrass, is a winter annual that is short and light green in appearance. There are many variations of poa annua and it is among the most problematic and widespread grass weeds in the world. The last grass weed is goosegrass which is a summer annual that germinates two weeks after smooth crabgrass. This weed typically grows in exposed or high traffic areas and has whitish, flattened stems at its base. Each variety of grass weeds discussed here is detrimental to the health of your lawn and should be addressed immediately upon discovery.
Green T Lawn Care offers a crabgrass pre-emergent with our lawn care services with applications that begin in mid spring. Our 6-month guaranteed pre-emergent is a spread-on, granule-based product that limits the germination of crabgrass by creating a barrier in the soil. This preventative pre-emergent, along with proper fertilization, watering, and mowing will help improve the health of your lawn and prevent crabgrass throughout the entire season. Contact Green T Lawn Care to learn more about crabgrass prevention and our pre-emergent treatment.