Q: What Organic Methods Can I Use to Control Crabgrass?
Crabgrass or Digitaria is a warm season annual that reproduces by seed. The two types of crabgrass that are commonly found are large crabgrass and smooth crabgrass. Large crabgrass has blue-green leaves and can grow up to 3 feet in height. In contrast, smooth crabgrass features leaves with a purplish tinge and will grow to no more than 15 inches. Although they may look quite different, both species of crabgrass can be quite aggressive and can easily take over a lawn, especially in hot, dry conditions. If you want to get rid of Crabgrass before it takes over, and you don’t want to use chemicals, a walk behind brush cutter may be the perfect option.
While pre-emergent herbicides (herbicides that kill weeds before their seeds emerge) are the most common way of killing crabgrass, many people prefer to use more organic means of controlling crabgrass such as a brush mower, and by doing so, promote a healthy lawn. If you are one of those who wishes to control crabgrass with organic methods such as a brush cutter, here are some tips:
• Don’t let bare, dry spots of land remain uncovered for long. Crabrass thrives in dry, sunny areas so any dry patches of lawn will be susceptible to crabgrass infestation. In fall, we recommend filing in those dry spots by overseeding.
• Fertilize (Compost) more in Autumn. By the time fall rolls around, frosts will have killed any remaining crabgrass, so fertilizing in autumn will promote the growth of your healthy grasses.
• Irrigate less often and more deeply. Crabgrass is known as a very shallow-growing weed. By irrigating less often and more deeply you can promote the growth of those plants you want to keep in your lawn.
• Mow high. Be sure to set your mowing height to 2.5” to 3”. Doing so will help your grass to better defend its area by depriving the crabgrass of the light that it needs to germinate.
For this final tip you will do well to use a mower with a variable cutting height, like the Orec America Samurai Brush Cutter or the Orec America Samurai Brush Cutter Hydro. These superior walk behind field mowers allow you to set your cutting height from 2.3” to 4.5”, giving you the flexibility you need to cut your grass while still giving it a chance to beat out that awful crabgrass!