For most homeowners, nothing is more thrilling than getting a good lawn. Sometimes they go to the extent of mowing it frequently, applying fertilizers, watering occasionally or just aerating the yard during spring or fall.
Its quite a daunting task to maintain a lawn, and if you have tried doing it, you may have encountered dallisgrass or crabgrass.
How to tell the difference
|Dallisgrass is a more tenacious weed than crabgrass because it can grow back from the root system each year.||Crabgrass only springs forth from seeds each year.|
|Dallisgrass has a coarse texture and grows as a solid, circular clump.||Crabgrass spreads up in a pattern similar to a star.|
|Dallisgrass grows rapidly under nitrogenous fertilizers.||Thick lawns suppress the growth of crabgrass hence applying fertilizer to speed up the growth of other grasses is effective.|
|Dallisgrass produces short rhizomes – a continuously growing underground stem.||It grows incessantly forming a thick mat of weed, clumped together with a lot of side branches.|
A common question that is always lingering in the minds of most homeowners is, “How does crabgrass look like?”
This is because the weed is so invasive and troublesome to eliminate that just the thought of it growing in your lawn is enough to send chills down your spine. All the more why you should be well aware of its presence when it starts sprouting.
Its identification is somewhat difficult because it is able to adapt to a variety of circumstances surrounding its growth.
While you may have seen the picture of crabgrass from either the internet or posters, crabgrass can take on a different appearance which is in no way similar to the norm.
Here is a breakdown on how to identify crabgrass:
The seedling of crabgrass resembles a small corn plant. That is:
- The leaf blades are about the size of a pencil and ¼ centimeters wide. This contrasts the usual thin blade of a sprouting lawn grass or a common grassy weed.
- The blades of crabgrass usually angle out from the stem and grow continuously as new blades appear.
- As growth progresses, the seedlings develop side shoots which eventually grow as separate branches.
Unlike many weeds and grasses whose blades originate from a central point, the blades of crabgrass appear further apart. Eventually, the stems and branches get larger and fall to the ground where they start growing is a pattern reminiscent of stars.
The center of the grass is left exposed. This image is unique to the crabgrass and is what identifies it among other grasses.
Unless it is mowed, it grows incessantly forming a thick mat of weed, clumped together with a lot of side branches.
Depending on the variety of in your lawn and how frequently you apply fertilizers, crab grass can take different color and growth patterns. When growth conditions are favorable, it may spring forth like other grasses and will escape your eyes until it gets older to the point of stretching out in a mat-like fashion.
Dallisgrass is a perennial grass which produces seeds as it blooms. It can be identified by its characteristic seed head that usually escapes the mower reel. It also exhibits a bunch-type growth, has a coarse texture and grows rapidly in a vertical fashion.
Unlike most bunch-type grasses of its kind, dallisgrass does produce short rhizomes – a continuously growing underground stem, which potentially increases the overall diameter of the plant.
Besides sending forth lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals, rhizomes also store carbohydrates. This well-organized carbohydrate reserve makes the control of dallisgrass extremely difficult because it perpetuates incessant growth and proliferation.
Their ability to grow under the influence of carbohydrate stores has greatly antagonized the effectiveness of some powerful herbicide applications.
It germinates mainly in the spring and summer months but goes dormant in winter. It thrives more in either clay or sandy soil and grows quicker than any other grass type.
Control and prevention
The fastest way to control these grasses may as well be the fastest way to kill your good lawn grass. Although most lawn grasses are able to withstand the chemical against crabgrass and dallisgrass, not all grasses are safe.
The most common chemical used to manage these weeds is the monosodium acid methane
Some of the products you can use for control include:
This product is very effective, though it has been met with a lot of negative product reviews. This could be a case of user error. Nevertheless, it is a common chemical that sufficiently controls weeds, especially crabgrass.
Tenacity turf herbicide
This is a powerful herbicide that should be used with care. It is very important that you read the instructions carefully because when used incorrectly, this product can kill other grasses in the lawn.
Sulfonylurea herbicides – tribute total, revolver, celsius, monument
These are products– specifically for dallisgrass. Tribute total is labeled for dallisgrass control while revolver. Celsius and monument suppress its growth.
Do not mow your lawn prior to applying chemicals because you want more leaves of the weeds to get soaked by the chemicals. Besides, do not water your lawn within 24 hours after spraying. When rainy weather is forecast, you need to wait and spray only after the rain is passed.
Besides using herbicides, you can dig up the weeds or call a professional to help you manage your lawn. Being that most weeds are able to withstand harsh conditions, maintain your lawn in conditions appropriate for your lawn grasses so that these weeds may not get a chance to proliferate.
You can do this by deep watering your lawn, repairing lawn damages to eliminate bare spots that encourage the growth of crabgrass, as well as feeding your lawn regularly with fertilizers to boost the thickness of your lawn.