Controlling Crabgrass

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As winter stretches on, you may find yourself with brown lawn areas that you swear we’re healthy green turf a few months ago. If so, the culprit is likely crabgrass. This grassy, warm season we can’t take the cold, but it will most likely return.

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is a warm season annual that germinates, lives and dies all in the same year. But crabgrass problems don’t end with the growing season. While they live, each crabgrass produces up to 150,000 seeds. Those seeds stay behind, ready to germinate the following spring and start the cycle all over again. Seeds that don’t germinate right away can remain viable and stick around to germinate in future years.

Getting Rid of Crabgrass

Once seeds germinate and crabgrass sprouts emerge, then it’s time for post-emergent herbicides, which Target plants instead of seeds. Crabgrass killers are designed to kill existing actively growing crabgrass plants before they can produce more seed.

Unfortunately, once crabgrass has germinated and begins to grow, there are very few or no herbicides available to homeowners or commercial applicators that can kill it without harming most types of turfgrass growing in Florida.

When using crabgrass killers or any herbicides, it’s important to understand whether the product is a selective or non-selective herbicide. Selective herbicides target specific weeds or plant categories, such as grassy plants versus broadleaf plants. Non-selective herbicides kill all plant types, including lawn grasses and other plants you want to keep. Post emergence control is limited. Currently, there are no labeled post-emergent herbicides for selective control of crabgrass in St Augustine grass turf. Newly labeled herbicide triphloxisulfuron (Monument) is not labeled for use on residential turf and foramsulfuron (Revolver) although labeled for professional use on residential turf, is injurious to St Augustine grass and therefore cannot be used. 

Footnotes

  1. This information is from ENG1134, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2009. Revised February 2013 and April 2016. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/.
  2. Darcy E.P. Telenko, former postdoctoral research associate; Ramon G. Leon, assistance professor, Agronomy Department; and J Bryan Unruh, Professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center, Jay, FL 32625.

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Fort Myers Pest Control has proved that with experience, commitment, and deep family roots, you can eradicate pests for the long haul. Established in 1966 by George and Doris Smith, Fort Myers Pest Control has been locally owned and operated for two generations. Experience and commitment to innovation are standards throughout the industry, but it’s Fort Myers Pest Control’s deep roots in the community, the pride of ownership, and local decision-making that account for the outstanding reputation the company has earned over the past 50 years. With Fort Myers Pest Control, you get everything you would from a national brand with more personal contact, customized solutions, and a higher degree of flexibility.

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