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News » Natural Crabgrass Control Methods for New England Lawns

04/04/2024 - Lawn Care, Organic Gardening


Crabgrass is a common weed that can quickly take over your lawn if left unchecked. In New England, where the climate is conducive to crabgrass growth, it's essential to use effective control methods. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to manage this pesky weed without resorting to chemical herbicides.

  1. Maintain a healthy, thick lawn The best defense against crabgrass is a dense, healthy lawn. Mow your grass at the proper height (about 3 inches) to encourage deeper roots and shade the soil, making it harder for crabgrass seeds to germinate. Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade at a time to prevent stress on your lawn.

  2. Overseed and fertilize Overseed your lawn in the fall with a grass seed mix appropriate for New England, such as a blend of perennial ryegrass, fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass. This will help fill in bare spots and crowd out crabgrass. Apply a natural, slow-release fertilizer in the fall and spring to promote strong grass growth.

  3. Use corn gluten meal Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating. Apply it in the early spring before crabgrass seeds start to sprout. Keep in mind that corn gluten meal will also prevent other grass seeds from germinating, so avoid using it if you plan to overseed. Like most natural herbicides and pesticides, corn gluten meal works slowly and is a long-term treatment.

  4. Hand-pull young crabgrass If you spot young crabgrass plants in your lawn, remove them by hand before they have a chance to set seed. Make sure to pull out the entire plant, including the roots, to prevent regrowth.

  5. Apply natural herbicides For larger crabgrass infestations, consider using natural herbicides like vinegar or boiling water. Be cautious when applying these treatments, as they can also harm desirable plants. Spot-treat the crabgrass and avoid spraying nearby grass or ornamental plants.

  6. Improve soil health Crabgrass thrives in compacted, poorly draining soils. Improve your lawn's soil health by aerating it annually and adding organic matter, such as compost or leaf mulch. This will help your grass grow stronger and more resilient against weeds.

  7. Plant a tree Crabgrass needs full sun to grow. Planting trees can create a more shady environment and eliminate this weed's chance of growing. Trees provide numerous other benefits as well.

By implementing these natural crabgrass control methods and maintaining a consistent lawn care routine, you can keep your New England lawn looking its best without relying on chemical herbicides. Remember, a healthy, well-maintained lawn is the most effective way to prevent crabgrass and other weeds from taking over.