Take back your turf

January 16, 2019 -  By
A strong fertilization and aeration program can combat the spread of crabgrass. (Photo: Gil del Rosario, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont)

A strong fertilization and aeration program can combat the spread of crabgrass. (Photo: Gil del Rosario, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont)

Crabgrass and goosegrass are two of the most prevalent turf nuisances in the country. Here are a few tips LCOs can use to identify and control these troublesome grassy weeds.

Crabgrass

Know your enemy:

  • Upright-growing, summer annual grassy weed that grows in patches;
  • Yellowish-green in color;
  • As it germinates, the wide leaf blade is generally wider than turfgrasses;
  • Large crabgrass features hairs on the leaves;
  • Smooth crabgrass has a smooth leaf blade;
  • Begins to germinate when soil temps warm up to 55 degrees;
  • Look for crabgrass first in south-facing slopes, south sides of buildings and turfgrass around and near concrete where soils are likely warmer;
  • Thrives in compacted soils; and
  • Competes with turf during the summer season. As crabgrass dies in the early fall, it leaves voids in the turf.

Combat strategy:

  • Cultivate healthy, dense turf through a solid aeration and fertilization program and by addressing insect or disease issues promptly;
  • Apply preemergent herbicides before germination (mid-February to mid- to late-March);
  • Look for preemergent herbicides with active ingredients dithiopyr, indaziflam, oxadiazon, prodiamine and pendimethalin;
  • Postemergent herbicide active ingredients include fenoxaprop, fluazifop, mesotrione, quinclorac, sethoxydim, topramezone and more recently, pinoxaden; and
  • Single or split applications can be effective, depending on the severity of the growth.
Goosegrass is identified by its wagon-wheel growth pattern, broad leaf blades and light green color. (Photo: Gil del Rosario, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont)

Goosegrass is identified by its wagon-wheel growth pattern, broad leaf blades and light green color. (Photo: Gil del Rosario, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont)

Goosegrass

Know your enemy:

  • Low-growing summer annual grassy weed;
  • Lighter green in color than healthy turf;
  • Broader leaf blades;
  • Grows out from a whitish, folded stem from a single center point, emanating out into a “wagon-wheel” pattern;
  • Found in thinner turf areas and compacted soils;
  • Has a fibrous taproot; and
  • Germinates 4-6 weeks after crabgrass.

Combat strategy:

  • Cultivate healthy, dense turf through a solid aeration and fertilization program and by addressing insect or disease issues;
  • Irrigate turfgrass deeply and infrequently — frequent, light watering encourages goosegrass growth;
  • Apply preemergent products with active ingredients dithiopyr, indaziflam, oxadiazon, prodiamine and pendimethalin; and
  • Postemergent products with the active ingredients fenoxaprop, foramsulfuron, mesotrione, sulfentrazone, topramezone and products that combine several herbicides are also effective.

Sources: Gil del Rosario, market development specialist at Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, and Jay McCurdy, Ph.D., assistant professor and turfgrass extension specialist, Department of Plant & Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University.

This article is tagged with , , , and posted in 0119, Turf+Ornamental Care
Abby Hart

About the Author:

Abby Hart is the managing editor of Landscape Management. A native Clevelander, she spent 10 years in Chicago, where she was operations manager of a global hospitality consultancy. She also worked as managing editor of Illumine, a health and wellness magazine; and a marketing specialist for B2B publications. Abby has a degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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