Late May is the time when Western Massachusetts and Rhode Island see one particular infamous weed take over fields, gardens, and lawns in the blink of an eye. Crabgrass is a tough menace; it has strong, gripping roots and thick blades that make it resistant to damage. While the roots are shallow, this weed can live in the most uninhabitable environments like bare soil and between cracks in concrete.

Crabgrass is like a seed bomb that spreads over 150,000 seeds per plant across your lawn. It’ll cling to the bare spots in your turf and spread rapidly. Once crabgrass has made its way into your yard, it can feel impossible to keep up with the spread. This is why it’s essential to use crabgrass prevention. Let’s talk about when the right time to use crabgrass prevention is, and what to do if it’s already invaded your lawn.

First, how does crabgrass prevention work?

Crabgrass prevention usually comes in the form of a pre-emergence control product. This product targets the seedlings’ growth and prevents them from germinating fully. Crabgrass is so invasive that you may have seeds sprinkled among your yard right now, but pre-emergent ensures that they won’t develop into mature crabgrass.

Since pre-emergent herbicides kill all seeds in the location they are applied, it’s recommended to work alongside a professional lawn care expert. Pre-emergents will prevent newly laid grass seed from growing, so having that expert assistance will help you eliminate crabgrass and let your own lawn thrive.

How can forsythia bushes help me plan my crabgrass prevention?

Even though we’re here to help in your lawn care journey, you don’t need us to know when crabgrass is about to appear – simply ask the forsythia! Forsythia is a popular yellow bush in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In fact, you may already have it yourself.

When forsythia blooms are flourishing, it’s time to put down your crabgrass prevention. While the blooming time completely depends on the climate and the soil temperature, watching the cycle of these bushes gives you a good estimate of when it’s time to fend off crabgrass.

If your forsythia bushes are already blooming, you’re right on time! The bushes will slowly flower when the air temperature is above 55 degrees, giving you a couple of weeks to put prevention down. Crabgrass on the other hand needs the soil temperatures to be constantly above 55 degrees, delaying its appearance. The trick is to apply the prevention during the blooming phase since the crabgrass is bound to sprout up within the following month.

Once I use crabgrass prevention, will it prevent it totally?

No weed prevention has a 100% effectiveness rate, but continuous annual crabgrass prevention will inhibit its growth tremendously more than letting it grow wild. Crabgrass has an annual growth cycle; In only one year, the seeds germinate, the mature plant spreads new seeds, and the crabgrass dies.

If there are any leftover crabgrass seeds from the previous year, they have the potential to germinate in the next warm season. This is why annual crabgrass prevention is crucial to protect your lawn for both this year and the coming year.

But what if I already have crabgrass?

Once crabgrass is inhabiting your lawn, it’s hard to remove completely. It’s important to nip the problem in the bud quickly (that is, before its seed dispersal). It’s fairly easy to manually remove matured crabgrass with a hand trowel, but it’s another task to prevent seed spread in the process.

When you uproot existing crabgrass, there’s a possibility that its seeds will scatter in the soil below. This is why post-emergent herbicide spot-treating may also be helpful. Post-emergent herbicide is most effective when the crabgrass has between 2 and 5 leaves. However, it will only target mature crabgrass – not its seeds. A blend of both pre and post-emergent applications will aid you in removing crabgrass infestations.

When crabgrass attacks, we have your back.

We know how much of a nuisance crabgrass is to Massachusetts and Rhode Island homeowners. This is why we’re ready to help you banish it for good. In fact, a crabgrass treatment is already included in our lawn care program because it’s in our spring fertilizer. When you’re ready to step up your lawn care game, we can help you prepare your lawn for this spring and the coming seasons. We also offer an optional Crabgrass Booster treatment for an added cost.

Have crabgrass questions? Shoot us an email at or call us today. We can’t wait to help you and your family reach your lawn care goals!