Crabgrass – What It Is and How to Prevent

Crabgrass: what a funny name. Where did it come from?

Here are some interesting facts from

  • For thousands of years, people grew these cultivated grains.
  • It is a genus of about 60 species, grows in the world’s temperate and tropical regions.
  • Many of the species are good forage grasses.
  • Thirteen weedy species infest the United States, but large crabgrass and smooth crabgrass are the most common.
  • Lake dwellers in Switzerland cultivated it
  • “Foxtail millet,” a form of it, was an important food crop in China in 2700 B.C.

It may have been a food source for some but now it is a source of frustration for most homeowners. Crabgrass is a Summer annual, and in late Fall to early Winter, it completes its life cycle and drops thousands of seeds in hopes to germinate again next Spring. In a well-managed turf program, applying a pre-emergent in early Spring places a protective barrier on the soil. When the crabgrass seeds begin to germinate, they make contact with the barrier and the germination process stops. It is much easier to control a weed during germination than after they begin to grow.

So, now you have learned its’ origins and how to keep it out of your turf grass. Be sure to get your pre-emergent applied before the first of April for best results.