Crabgrass is evil

Ok, I am a first time homeowner struggling with a serious bout of crabgrass. I bought my house in November, and when the weather started getting nice out, I spent a lot of time and money on my lawn making it look nice, which it did, until about late May, when crabgrass just overtook about 80% of my front yard and 60% of my backyard.
This occured about 1-2 weeks AFTER I used Scott's Lawn Builder with crabgrass preventer on it.
Did I not use the crabgrass preventer early enough? Most documentation says that it should be used in early May. It mid-May too late?
And now that my crabgrass is in full bloom, is there any way to kill effectively? I tried spraying a ready-to-use Bayer product on it, to no avail! Should I mow high, or low?
Thanks!
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On 16 Jul 2004 09:25:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (AJ) wrote:

If you are mowing regularly the crabgrass won't have enough time to tassel. The month of May sounds too late (I suppose you are located in New Jersey). I apply crabgrass preventer in March, as soon as I see a dandelion bloom in the neighborhood. The Bayer stuff did not work well for me. Next year make TWO applications of crabgrass preventer, one in the early spring and then again 90 days later. Find out the best time to overseed and you'll have to time the crabgrass preventer application not to have an impact on the grass seed. Lawn care and results require patience.
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Last year we had a brand new house where the builder was supposed to put in a lawn. Unfortunately, because he planted it too late and the weather was extremely hot, none of his seed took, so we ended up with an acre lawn of nothing but crabgrass. We knew almost nothing about lawns, but did a lot of reading.
Here's what we did. I has worked out very well. We got the builder to pay for the seed and other products it took to fix the lawn.
1. Last summer we kept the crabgrass mowed short to keep it from making seed heads. It dried up and died in August.
2. In September we overseeded with a couple different varieties of grass seed. We used quick growing stuff near the driveway where we had erosion, some cheap stuff from Home Depot, some stuff from Aubuchons, and some Scott's Premium mix on the rest. The quick growing stuff filled in very fast. Didn't see much from the rest.
3. We put down crabgrass preventer plus fertilizer as soon as the snow was gone. Though the lawn was very spotty at first, a whole lot of the grass we planted last fall grew in and it has continued to grow and fill in bare spots all spring.
4. We used an application of weed & feed in April. We're not crazy about chemicals, but it gave the grass a really good head start. Now I hand weed any further weeds that come up, mostly ragweed and dig out some of the plantains if I'm feeling energetic.
5. We overseeded a couple of bare spots left by the snow plow 2 months after putting in the crab grass preventer. In retrospect, we'd keep the preventer away from areas that need reseeding and seed them earlier.
6. We will overseed heavily again in September.
We got some crabgrass growing into barespots still, despite using the preventer, but it is nothing compared with last year. And our lawn looks a whole lot better than the neighbors' though they spent many thousands of dollars having a landscape company install their lawn last year. I think mixing the different grass mixes together was a very good idea, since different kinds of grass seem to have taken root in different parts of the lawn. The neighbors' lawn is a monoculture and it has quite a few brown spots especially over their septic system, while our lawn is green everywhere--wet, dry, shady and sunny--though with subtle differences in color due to the different varieties of grass. Since we're in the country surrounded by farms, I prefer the more natural variegated look of our grass rather than the sterile monoculture look. But the good news is, it is all grass! By next year after another overseeding it should be gorgeous.
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thanks for your insight. I guess the key to my whole problem is that I need to put preventer down earlier. I can't really tell, but it doesn't look like many other people in my development have as much crabgrass as I do. This really irks me :) So this year, when the crabgrass dries out and dies, I will rake it up, and overseed, and next year, I will put preventer down in March, Lawn Builder with weed control in April, and then overseed again, I guess.
Thanks again!

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Forget the crabgrass preventer. Overseed in the fall, fertilize next year, lime if needed, and mow correctly (no more than 1/3 of the blade length at any mowing, cut high). Absolutely no scalping the lawn.
Crabgrass is an opportunist of open ground. Get your lawn growing well so there's no bare soil, and it won't germinate.
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I keep reading this over and over and yet I have crabgrass seedlings in the thickest grass in my lawn. I mow to 3 1/2". Seriously annoying.
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How thick is the thickest grass? Does sunlight penetrate to the soil surface? Do you actually have crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum or D. sanguinalis) or do you have another weed grass? http://www.agron.iastate.edu/~weeds/Ag317-99/id/WeedID/crab.html http://ipm.missouri.edu/ipcm/archives/v13n8/ipmltr1.htm
Kay
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I am almost 100% certain it is crabgrass. It looks like the "smooth crabgrass" I saw in one of the pictures you sent me. It grows almost horizontally, and it just plan evil looking!
AJ


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Well, it was too late if the crabgrass had already germinated. The strategy is for the crabgrass preventer to be applied prior to the soil temperature reaching 62 degrees F. at which point the crabgrass seeds germinate.
Forsythia shrubs (bright yellow blooms) in your neighborhood will indicate when to apply a pre-emergence herbicide for crabgrass control. Typically, from the time the Forsythia starts to bloom 'til two weeks after their blooms begin to fall is a good window of opportunity to get the crabgrass preventer down.
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Another thing to think of...your weed grass might not be crabgrass. I always had a habit of calling all weed grass crabgrass and was educated by my former lawn care company that I had Dallis grass. I know there are a few different varieties of weed grass and am of the opinion that one product is not effective on all of them.
Lynn
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