Crabgrass (genus Digitaria) is a variety of fast-growing, invasive grass. While there are dozens of different species of the crabgrass, nearly all of them have long and slender blades.
Once crabgrass takes root and begins to grow, it can quickly take over your lawn. As a result, your lawn will receive less moisture and fewer nutrients. The good news is that you can protect your lawn from crabgrass in several ways.
Use the Tallest Blade Setting on Your Lawnmower
Some homeowners automatically use the lowest blade setting on their lawnmower, believing this will reduce the frequency at which their lawn requires mowing.
If you use the lowest blade setting, you may be able to get away with mowing your lawn once every two weeks instead of once a week. At the same time, though, it may lead to crabgrass overgrowth.
Using the tallest blade setting actually discourages crabgrass by casting shade over the soil. The taller grass blades prevent sunlight from reaching the soil so that crabgrass or other invasive grass or weeds can’t emerge.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Contrary to popular belief, fertilizer doesn’t encourage or contribute to the growth of crabgrass. It actually reduces the risk of crabgrass by providing your lawn with essential nutrients like potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus.
When your lawn has a sufficient amount of these nutrients, it will thrive. And when this occurs, crabgrass won’t have the opportunity to muscle its way into your lawn. Just remember to aerate your lawn before fertilizing it for maximum benefit.
De-Thatch Your Lawn
In addition to fertilizing your lawn, de-thatching may further protect it from invasive crabgrass. As thatch builds on your lawn, it will create patches of decomposed organic material that crabgrass consumes for nutrients. Therefore, you should de-thatch your lawn on a regular basis to reduce the risk of crabgrass.
Give Your Lawn More Water
Finally, the amount of water your lawn receives will influence its risk of developing crabgrass. If you only give your lawn a few inches of water a week, crabgrass or other invasive weeds may take hold.
With less water, grassroots will remain shallow, resulting in increased stress and a higher susceptibility to crabgrass.
You can keep crabgrass out of your lawn, however, by giving your lawn more water. Some landscaping experts recommend watering to a depth of at least 7 inches to discourage troublesome weeds like crabgrass.
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