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    How to get rid of crabgrass

    Four top tips for Australian lawns

    Hannah | Oneflare

    If your lawn has an issue with the lawn pest crabgrass, read on to learn how to identify it and most importantly how to get rid of it.

    What is crabgrass?

    Crab grass a huge nuisance and a notorious pest to lawn owners in Australia. This weed thrives in under a summer climate and continuously produces seeds all year long. It sprouts up on bare spots in a lawn or in places where the soil is compacted or disturbed in some manner. Crab grass is a weed that needs to be treated as soon as it is detected or the weed will begin to spread rapidly. You can recognise crab grass sprout by: the colour, a yellowish-green; the texture, which is course; and by the hairy leaves on the stem.

    Crabgrass is a weed that plagues many lawns in Australia / Source: Shutterstock

    Can you prevent crabgrass?

    Providing your lawn with excellent maintenance and nurturing is the best means of preventing the growth of crab grass and a professional landscaper will be able to help with this.

    How to get rid of crabgrass?

    If prevention is no longer an option, here are four tips to help combat the growth of crab grass:

    1. Proper lawn maintenance

    Lawns should be mowed frequently and the recommended height of grass maintained. Heavy watering once a week is preferred over light daily watering. If the soil feels moist, watering is not a necessity. This will keep the grass in good condition and create less space for crab grass to sprout.

    Do not fertilise in summer, when crab grass is mostly likely to sprout, as the nitrogen in fertilisers is conducive to crab grass growth. Local weather conditions will factor significantly in lawn maintenance. Make sure that the bare soil around lawns can be covered with mulch to prevent the growth of any weeds. If you use the services of a professional gardener or a particular individual to look after your lawn, it might be a good idea to advise them to rinse off the equipment they use before they start work on your lawn. This will lessen the possibility of transferring and spreading crab grass seeds to your lawn from somewhere else.

    Proper year round lawn maintenance can help keep crabgrass at bay / Source: Cityscapes Pools and Landscapes

    2. The organic method

    There are some natural ways to prevent the growth and spread of crab grass including re-seeding bare spots on the lawn at the earliest possible time in order to cut short opportunities for growth the of crab grass. Keeping lawn grass at a height of about 7.5 cm  will ensure that any crab grass  will not get sunlight. This will lead to it withering away in due course. Cutting crab grass in the summer can also act as a deterrent to the usual rapid growth of the weed.

    3. Pre-emergence herbicides

    Pre-emergence herbicides form a protective layer on the soil surface and thwarts crab grass before it can sprout. Pre-emergence herbicides must be applied on the lawn well ahead of crab grass season. These herbicides can be applied at the same time as fertilisers. They can be in bought in the form of granules or in a liquid form. Watering is essential after the pre-emergent herbicide has been applied.

    A second round of application of the herbicide may be required in some instances. Instructions must be adhered to when applying the herbicide and the correct ratio to lawn size must be maintained to ensure optimum performance. In the case of newly seeded lawns, it is best to let three months pass by before applying such herbicides

    4. Home remedies

    Sprinkling table salt is one way of combating crab grass. The amount of salt used must be limited as too much can end up damaging the soil. 4 litres of white vinegar mixed with a few drops of soap sprayed on the crab grass can often help lead to its gradual death. Another home remedy is pouring some boiling water over the crab grass.

    Above are four tips to help get rid of nuisance crab grass. Crab grass control is something that a layman can understand and implement.

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