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Landscape Maintenance vs. Lawn Care: What’s The Difference?

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Are you struggling with crabgrass? Whether you currently have a crabgrass invasion you’re just worrying about it because you’ve had it in the past, then you might have a lot of questions and concerns. After all, you want to have a beautiful lawn that your neighbors envy. No one wants to have a lawn full of weeds that kill off the grass.

But can you prevent crabgrass in the first place? What can you do about breakthrough? Chances are, you realize it’s incredibly invasive and you want to know whether it’s going to be an ongoing problem. You might even be wondering if you should hire a pro.

First of all, rest assured you are not the only homeowner worrying about how to get rid of crabgrass in Northern Virginia. It is both a common and a highly aggressive lawn weed. We know that you’re looking to understand it—as well as what to do about it—which is why we’ve rounded up some of our best tips.

What is Crabgrass?

Before we get into some pro tips on how to get rid of crabgrass, it might help to understand exactly what it is. Crabgrass is an aggressive annual grassy weed that takes very little nurturing to grow and spread. In just a short amount of time, crabgrass can begin to choke out your desired turfgrasses and wreak havoc on your lawn.

Crabgrass in lawn that needs crabgrass treatment

In fact, just a single plant can produce up to 75,000 seeds. These lay dormant in the soil until the timing and conditions are just right for germination (in late spring) at which time the weed suddenly flourishes.

Crabgrass will continue growing through the summer, appearing in dense mats across your lawn—particularly in thinned out areas where it doesn’t have much competition from healthy turfgrass.

While there’s no question that it’s a nuisance, there are solutions. The right crabgrass control strategy can help prevent crabgrass from taking over your lawn.

Let’s look at 4 professional lawn care tips for how to get rid of crabgrass.

1. Professional Application of Crabgrass Preventer

The best way to address crabgrass is to prevent it in the first place. That’s why the application of crabgrass preventer should definitely be part of your control strategy. This product works by forming a thin barrier near the surface of the soil which intercepts the germinating crabgrass seeds. When the germinating seed comes into contact with the product, it drastically reduces the amount of them that can grow.

lawn technician spraying lawn care treatment

Applying a crabgrass pre-emergent will stop the majority of crabgrass growth but is not completely foolproof. Breaks in the barrier such as those caused by mowing/trimming, digging, dryness or cracking, or excessive rainfall can all lead to potential breakthrough crabgrass growth. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of trouble spots in your lawn.

It’s also important to mention that the timing of crabgrass preventer is key to its success. It’s ideal that you apply the pre-emergent early in the season before seeds have a chance to start germinating. Also, not all crabgrass pre-emergents are created equal. Some pro products will work much better than anything you can pick up at the local hardware store.

2. Using Post-Emergent for Crabgrass Breakthrough

Another key component of your crabgrass control strategy is a plan to deal with the breakthrough which may occur in some of those areas of the lawn that we mentioned.

Spraying crabgrass with a post-emergent liquid control product can address any breakthrough that occurs throughout the summer. This should be performed as “spot treating,” meaning product is only applied in areas where it’s necessary.

3. Recognizing Factors that Impact Breakthrough

The overall state of your lawn as well as how its cared for can also impact the amount of crabgrass in your lawn. It’s important to recognize that a healthy, thick lawn will make it more difficult for crabgrass to breakthrough. However, a lawn that is struggling with drought stress or has thinned out areas may be no match for this opportunistic weed.

Even your mowing and trimming habits can play a role. Mowing grass too short can cause the soil to heat up and can create an unfavorable environment for your healthy turfgrass. As your healthy turf thins out, crabgrass will eagerly fill in. Similarly, scalping the edges of your lawn while string trimming can also create thin areas where crabgrass is more likely to breakthrough.

4. Get Rid of Crabgrass with a Thicker, Healthier Lawn

The best possible crabgrass control strategy is one that not only incorporates the application of professional lawn care treatments but one that also includes an overall approach to achieving a thicker, healthier lawn. The thicker the lawn, the fewer bare spots that will provide an opportunity for crabgrass breakthrough.  

Aeration, Seeding, and Topdressing

A full lawn care program that includes aeration and overseeding at least once a year is critical to achieving that lush, thick lawn that you’re after. If your lawn has a lot of bare spots, power seeding (a more intense method than aeration and overseeding) may actually be warranted.

lawn being aerated to prevent crabgrass

On top of that, we’d also recommend topdressing. This involves adding a thin layer of compost and soil to your lawn immediately after aeration (or power seeding), to improve soil conditions and create an overall healthier lawn.

Adequate Irrigation or Rainfall

Proper watering is also important for crabgrass control. If you can’t keep up with watering, then professional irrigation may be warranted. Regular watering will help keep your lawn vigorous in times of drought, when crabgrass can easily invade. Watering also helps prevent soil from cracking which would destroy the barrier created by crabgrass preventer and open up the area to crabgrass germination.

Choosing Lawn Care Companies in Northern Virginia

Choosing the right lawn care company is also an important factor in your crabgrass control strategy. The best lawn care company will know that effective control takes a multi-faceted approach. A professional will have access to commercial grade product, know exactly how and when to apply it, and will incorporate a comprehensive lawn care program to promote an overall healthier lawn.

By making a wise choice, you’ll get your lawn back on track. Instead of having to worry that you don’t have the most desirable lawn on the block, you’ll be able to feel confident that you’re on your way to a healthy thriving lawn in which crabgrass simply won’t stand a chance. 

If you’d like to stop worrying about lawn weeds and are ready to hand your problems over to a company you can count on to fix them, request your quote, choose from 3 lawn care package options, and relax as you get the royal treatment.

Learn About Our Lawn Care Packages 

Krisjan Berzins - Owner, CEO

Since 1997, Krisjan has led the Kingstowne team with one simple philosophy, treat every customer like the “only” customer. His passionate pursuit of impeccable customer service has resulted in 24 successful years and a thriving company with over 85 employees, helping thousands of homeowners in the Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA area get what they want -- a worry-free property they can be proud of.