Crabgrass…in Early Spring?!

Every spring, our Weed Man franchises throughout the US field a fair amount of calls regarding possible Crabgrass infestations in home lawns.

To most homeowners, the thick-bladed grass that they’re noticing in their lawn must be Crabgrass. But since Crabgrass is an annual weed, what they are actually seeing (especially this early on in spring) is not, in fact, Crabgrass. However, in very rare cases, if there was no cold weather in the very southern states, the existing Crabgrass may not have died off.

In most cases, homeowners are misidentifying a weedy grass, such as Tall Fescue or Quackgrass. Both grasses are thick-bladed and look a lot like Crabgrass, so it’s not surprising that they presume that’s what they are seeing grow in their lawn.

Above: Crabgrass in August;                     Above: Quackgrass in April


Because Crabgrass is an annual, there are things that we can apply in the spring, such as pre-emergent weed control, that will help prevent it from germinating. There are also products that will help control it after it has germinated, although this method is a bit tougher to accomplish. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those weedy grasses like Tall Fescue and Quackgrass. Because these grasses are biologically similar to desired grasses, there really is no way to get rid of them other than digging them out or using a non-selective herbicide and re-sodding the area.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the germination of Crabgrass can vary, often starting in a sunny location, a full month ahead of other parts of the lawn that may be more shaded. A good way to know when Crabgrass is about to germinate is to use an indicator plant, such as the Forsythia Bush.  Keep an eye out for when the Forsythia Bush starts to flower, as this is a good indication that Crabgrass could be starting to germinate. However, in my opinion, the best way to tell is once you see the farmers in the fields planting their corn crops. This means the soil temperatures are just right and you can bet that the Crabgrass is going to be germinating as well.

If you have any questions about your lawn? Weed Man would be happy to help you. Find your local Weed Man using our locator map HERE.

Keep those lawns healthy,


Early-Blooming Dandelions

Something that I expected, and we are already experiencing, is Dandelions blooming extremely early this season. This can be explained pretty easily, but what can be done about them is a bit more complex.

To fully understand why we are witnessing so many dandelions blooming so early this spring, it’s as simple as looking back at last fall’s weather conditions. In many places, last fall we experienced fairly warm weather compared to the last few we’ve had. On Christmas day, I was actually able to get pictures of some dandelions blooming, which was the first dandelionstime I’d ever seen this. I jokingly mentioned to my wife that we might actually receive some calls from customers wanting us to treat their lawns. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t complaining about the nice weather (it did extend the golf season), but I knew seeing all of those weeds so late in the year would spell some headaches this spring.

Due to the warm fall weather last year, those pesky dandelions were able to germinate late in October and early November and grew pretty big, even blooming in late December as I mentioned above. Typically in the fall, dandelions will germinate and start growing prior to the winter season and will then enter a state of dormancy once the temperatures drop. Typically they are small in the spring and some will germinate once the soil warms up. They are usually the first weed that you notice on the lawn due to their yellow flower.

A lot of people, once they see dandelions flowering, want to get out there and treat them immediately. However, treating them when the nights are still cool and the soil temperatures are as well can mean slower results. I have seen early applications take more than a month for the weeds to die. Also, treating dandelions too early on can lead to having to treat the lawn a number of times rather than just once. Keep in mind, herbicides used to control broadleaved weeds do not prevent them from germinating, they only get rid of the weeds that are up and growing. So if you’re too early, you will miss a lot of those late-germinating plants such as plantain or knotweed (to name just a few), therefore resulting in having to re-treat your turf each time a new set of weeds germinates throughout the season. Those who wait to treat their lawn will experience better results, with less amount of time and product required, saving you some cost.

What if the dandelion flowers and turns to seed? Not to worry! It will anyways once the herbicide is applied; and regardless, if it does or doesn’t, there are thousands of seeds lying dormant in the soil already, so adding more really won’t make much of a difference. The best defense against weeds is a healthy, thick lawn that will help prevent those seeds from germinating. A lush and nutrient-filled turf will also keep them from getting the sunlight they require in order to germinate.

Questions about your lawn? Weed Man would be happy to help you. Find your local Weed Man using our locator map HERE.

Keep those lawns healthy,


Weed Control – Frequently Asked Questions

At this time of year we often get many customers asking about weed control applications. Read on below for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

ImageHands down, the number one call we get at this time of year is: “I have dandelions on my lawn…why haven’t you been here to treat for them yet?” This is always a tough call for anyone in the lawn care industry, as we know we’ve been hired to make sure our customers’ lawns are free of weeds. At the end of the day, this is how we are judged by our clients. However, the issue at hand is that weed control for broadleaf weeds must be completed after the weeds are up and growing, and those pesky dandelions are always the first broadleaf weeds to pop up — way before any of the others. While we would love to get out and treat every one of our customers first thing, this is not possible, and, in actuality, those customers who wait until later in the application cycle see far superior results. Why, you may ask? Oftentimes, other broadleaf weeds do not germinate as early on in the season as dandelions, and if we treat as soon as yellow flowers start to pop, we end up missing out on controlling many of the other lawn invaders: plantain, oxalis and knotweed, to name a few. The longer we wait, the more likely we are to get all of the weeds in one application. Not to mention that if you wait a bit later to apply weed control, you’ll likely see more suitable weather conditions as well.

The second question we often get is: “My dandelions are now going to seed…isn’t it too late to apply weed control?” In reality, Imagedandelions going to seed is not a concern, as there are thousands of weed seeds already in the soil just waiting to germinate given the right conditions. In fact, when an application of weed control is applied to a lawn, it will actually make the dandelions go to seed anyway. This is because the herbicides used to control broadleaf weeds rely on their ability to mimic the natural growth hormones (known as auxins) found in broadleaf plants. Auxins are absorbed through the leaves of the weed and translocated to the meristems of the plant. Uncontrolled, unsustainable growth ensues, causing the stem to curl over, the leaves to wither, and eventual plant death. In other words, the plant grows very quickly and the stress of this accelerated growth is what leads to the eventual death of the plant.

The third most frequently asked question we receive is: “Under the ‘special instructions’ section on the invoice, it says not to water or cut the lawn for 24-48 hours following a weed control application. What happens when it rains the day after? Will the application still work?” The short answer to this question is yes, absolutely. We build in a lot of extra time to ensure the application has enough time to dry on the plant and work before the homeowner waters or cuts the lawn. Typically, though, the application is rainfast after just a few hours. Customers may also mow their lawns within a few hours of the application (as long as they mow high). Always give it at least 14 days to assess whether or not the application has worked. If the weeds don’t seem to be curling or dying, keep in mind that Weed Man provides a 100% guarantee on our services. Our team will happily come back and retreat the lawn free of charge.

Lastly, a question that we sometimes field after an application of weed control is: “Why is there an area of the lawn that looks like it was burnt by weed control?” It is almost impossible to burn a lawn with weed control, and in all of my twenty years of being in the lawn care industry I’ve yet to personally see turf burned by a herbicide application. So then why is there sometimes a large bleached out area on the lawn following an application? As the season turns from spring to summer or from cooler weather to warmer weather when our weed control is being applied, a very common turf disease called leaf blight may arise. Leaf blight can bleach out large areas of turfgrass very quickly, creating a burnt appearance. This disease will clear up quickly on its own. The best thing a homeowner can do is call Weed Man for a quick diagnosis and advice on how to avoid turfgrass diseases.

Remember: the best defense against weeds is a healthy, thick lawn. If you have any questions about your turf, Weed Man would be happy to help.

Keep those lawns healthy,


Find your local Weed Man using our locator map HERE.