, Newburyport, MA


March 28, 2012

Tim's Tips: It's not too late for crabgrass control

This past week has been interesting. We saw temperatures reach a record high and then drop back to normal — and possibly a frost thrown in for good measure. This is the type of week where the phrase "If you don't like New England weather, just wait a minute" is really appropriate.

There have been quite a few customers asking questions about their lawn during the past week. I will discuss my answers.

Those of you who read this column each week know that I said to put down your crabgrass control when the forsythia is in bloom. The reason for this is that crabgrass seeds sprout at about the same soil temperature that makes the forsythia bushes flower.

Forsythia bushes burst into bloom in a very short period of time. This made quite a few people panic because they thought they had run out of time to apply crabgrass control. If you looked at the thermometer on the days the temperature reached the upper 70s and low 80s, the air temperature was enough to cause the forsythia to open their flowers. But fast forward to this week and the temperatures are cool, if not cold.

These temperatures will cause the forsythia flowers to last a long time. Since there is always a catch, we also have relatively dry soil conditions. If the forsythia needs to take up water to make the flowers last, the flowers may drop prematurely.

Totally confused? Just think how the plants feel in this kind of weather. Ultimately, if you have the lawn raked up, you can — and should — be applying the crabgrass control. Do you have more time to do this application? Yes, due to the arrival of cool weather. The extended forecast calls for normal temperatures this week and into the weekend. This should allow you enough time to get the product onto your lawn.

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