Symptoms of thick thatch and compacted soil can be pretty similar. Here is a guide so you know if you need to aerate or dethatch your lawn or both.
Green grasses add beauty to your lawn and your home overall. However, if you have a problem with Crabgrass, it creates a problem that can be tricky to get rid of. Crabgrass is an annual weed that favors compacted soil where the grass is in a thinned and weakened condition. It is an annual weed that appears in the Spring and will last until the frost hits if not dealt with proper weed control.
Crabgrass will germinate when the soil temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees, about 3 inches below the surface. So, unless you are prepared to dig up all the Crabgrass in your lawn and possibly have to start all over again when done, the best way to get rid of Crabgrass is, to begin with, a specific weed killer or herbicide. After pulling Crabgrass, it will often grow back. Below is information on what may work to eliminate your Crabgrass in a Bermuda lawn.
What Kills Crabgrass but not the Grass?
Since Crabgrass only grows in weak or think lawn areas, keeping your Bermuda grass thick and healthy is essential to prevent Crabgrass as much as possible. When you do have a problem with Crabgrass, timing is important in treating it. Many types of herbicides are on the market for killing Crabgrass on your lawn, and there are some varieties of herbicides that will destroy Crabgrass without harming your Bermuda grass.
Getting Rid of Crabgrass
Applying a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide to your lawn in the early spring is best. Spray or spread a liquid or granular pre-emergent herbicide over your lawn. Re-apply the herbicide at intervals (dictated by the product manufacturer). You should spot-treat the Crabgrass with a post-emergent herbicide listed as safe to use on Crabgrass and Bermuda grass (or the type of grass in your lawn). Please note that the same herbicide you use for Crabgrass will not be effective if trying to treat chamberbitter in bermuda grass.
During the summer and after the Crabgrass has rooted in your lawn, you can kill it by spraying affected areas with a weed killer specifically formulated not to damage your lawn. Healthy lawns can easily out-compete crabgrass infestation, but your lawn may be especially stressed in the heat of July. Unfortunately, this is the toughest time to treat Crabgrass as it is often resistant to post-emergent herbicides. This is when the herbicide will not kill the crabgrass seed that will produce future outbreaks.
As stated above, Spring is the best time to apply pre-emergent herbicides to control Crabgrass during the summer months. The best dates are from March - 1 – 20 in North Georgia and February 15 - March 15 in South Georgia. This should be done before the soil reaches a temperature of 55 degrees. This should prevent Crabgrass in your lawn all season. If your lawn is new, you should wait for the seedlings to sprout before applying any chemicals to the lawn. A general rule is to mow your new lawn at least three times before applying a pre-emergent herbicide for weed control. You should water the lawn after using the pre-emergent herbicides. If it is supposed to rain, wait until after the rain to apply, then water the yard afterward.
Post-emergent herbicides are best applied in early to late Spring after the soil temperature is above 55 degrees and before the temperature reaches 85 degrees. When the temperature is too hot, the product can damage your lawn. You should not cut your grass before applying the post-emergent herbicide and wait at least three days to cut the grass. After application, the grass needs time to absorb the product before mowing the lawn.
Crabgrass can be managed if treated correctly and at the right time. Hopefully, the information will help give you guidance on this. Several products can work well in your area but require time, attention, and the proper equipment. If you prefer to have your lawn professionally managed, Pride In Turf is an excellent source to help you with your lawn needs.