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Is it too late to apply crabgrass preventer?

We get that question at PRO-TURF Services A LOT, anytime from mid-March to mid-June. The correct answer is that the best time for crabgrass prevention varies on soil temperature.

Crabgrass is an annual and germinates from a seed every year, so crabgrass control works by creating a seed germination barrier on the ground. That is why a “pre-emergent” works to control weeds and does not affect the established grass, which is a perennial.

Quick Fact

Dandelions and many other broadleaf weeds are perennials, just like grass, so a pre-emergent doesn’t work on those. You need a post-emergent control product instead.

A crabgrass seed needs a soil temperature of at least 55 degrees for 10 consecutive days to start germinating. Most years, that occurs in early to mid-May in central Iowa.

If you apply crabgrass control too early, it can cause a problem with the product not lasting through the entire season. Its effectiveness could run out in July or August when the lawn really needs protection from annual weeds, like crabgrass. If you apply too late, then the crabgrass could germinate ahead of the treatment, and it won’t be as effective.

One advantage of the product PRO-TURF uses is that it also offers post-emergent control of newly germinated crabgrass seedlings, just in case!

If you ever wonder if it is too late to control crabgrass, get a soil thermometer and check the soil temp in a grass-covered area for 10 days. A more old-fashioned, but not as accurate, way is to average the daily high and low air temperatures for 10 days. If either method shows a temperature above 55 for 10 days, apply away!

Or skip all of the hassle and just have PRO-TURF do it for you at the right time to ensure your yard is protected against crabgrass all season long.

Contact us today for a free yard assessment.

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“But it’s the first week of March, and I just saw another company applying on my neighbor’s yard!”

Unfortunately, many lawn companies have so many customers that they start applications earlier and earlier and not based on soil temperature. So, if you see other lawncare companies applying in your neighborhood in early March or even earlier, don’t think that they are making those yards a priority and getting them done first! Quite the opposite – those companies are getting them out of the way so they can apply on priority accounts at the correct time.

PRO-TURF Services doesn’t do that. We make sure to apply the right product, at the right time, every time.