Aug 15, 201201:46 PMHome & Garden
Bob Carey, D.B. Frank and All Things Home
So What's Wrong with Crabgrass?
If crabgrass could talk, it would likely be heard to say, "Forget your expensive weed & feed and the guys dragging hoses or spreading little colored beads of products to keep me at bay. You'll never get rid of crabgrass."
But as far as I know, crabgrass can't talk, but it does give you the finger. Yeah, in fact its botanical name says so; Digitaria Sanguinalis is the botanical name for crabgrass and digitaria in its name means "finger".
So every time the light green grass sprawls across the dryer, thinner soils in your lawn, you've gotten the finger.
Literally or figuratively, crabgrass flips off more homeowners, landscape guys and golfers than almost any other weed in the turf. When the weather is hot and dry it is impossible to turn your back on crabgrass and not expect to get "dissed" before the kids head back to school.
More landscapers get fired and more golf superintendents are let go over this unpopular weed than any other. But what's so wrong about crabgrass?
Lawn chemical manufacturers love crabgrass. In fact, they are the people who constantly remind us how pernicious it is and how adversely it can affect our status in the community, our ability to sell our home or even to get a raise or promotion. They sure wouldn't want to see anything really bad happen to crabgrass.
You know who else likes crabgrass? Well, I'll tell you who.
The folks who have lawns that nobody picnics on or strolls by on a warm summer evening. The lawns you pass on the highway at 70 miles an hour.
When the soil gets dry and the good turf begins to die, crabgrass can stand in for the real thing nicely until fall or whenever.
Finally, and this is gonna frost the folks who have nice houses near agricultural areas - crabgrass is great fodder and hay for livestock. For all the reasons it grows in your lawn, it's great as low input forage, especially when better recognized grasses are underperforming.
Dry soil, thin-compacted soil, low fertility and the conditions that are a challenge to fine turf actually encourage and support the growth of crabgrass.
So efficient is this grass in producing palatable forage that there is even an "improved" variety called Red River.
Let's face it; few homeowners make any money on their investment in a beautiful crabgrass-free lawn. Horse owners and beef farmers do make money on it because crabgrass is so hardy and undemanding.
Think about that the next time you start dumping dollars on your Springtime turf.
Bob Carey is not only the Resident Horticulturalist for Harrisburg Magazine, also hosts the weekly radio program "Garden Talk; the show for folks who own, eat, and play around plants" which can be heard across W100 AM 1000, WEEO AM 1480, and 93.9 FM each Sunday morning at 11:30-12:30. For information regarding Bob Carey Horticultural Services, Bob can be contacted at email@example.com.