• 57°

Blackwelder column: Make way for a better lawn

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
Lawns look better than last summer, but bermuda and crabgrass now dominate many cool season lawns. Unfortunately, these weeds thrive in heat and the extra rain has given them an extra boost.
Fescue doesn’t coexist with these weeds and they must be killed before reseeding in September.
These grassy weeds are entirely different plants with different methods of control. Unfortunately, homeowners often confuse the weeds, so identifying the grass is very important.
Bermuda is a warm season perennial grass that invades weak or thinned fescue lawns during hot weather when fescue becomes semi-dormant. The weed easily becomes established via seed, stolons (above ground stems) or rhizomes (underground stems). Roots form at the nodes or joints, allowing the grass to become well established over a short period of time.
Bermuda grass is often introduced in lawns by contaminated topsoil. Bermuda grass turns brown and becomes dormant after the first hard frost. The grass remains dormant until the return of warm weather in early summer. Patches of “dead” bermuda grass give fescue a spotty and unsightly appearance during the winter months.
Systemic herbicides containing glyphosate controls bermuda grass, but repeated applications may be needed to control this aggressive grass. Timing is critical since herbicides become ineffective as the soil temperature starts to drop in September.
Crabgrass is a lawn weed often confused with bermuda grass. It is a warm season annual grass which also thrives in hot weather. Crabgrass is endogenous, easily adapting to both wet and dry summer conditions of the Piedmont. It is the first grass in early summer to invade thin or weak fescue lawns.
Crabgrass grows as a clump grass, similar to fescue, but with a faint blue color to the leaf blade. A single crabgrass plant produces thousands of minute seed, remaining in the soil for years.Crabgrass is best controlled with pre-emergence herbicides in early spring or with post-emergence herbicides during the early summer. It is too late to control crabgrass with pre-emergence herbicides. Post-emergence herbicides kill young seedling crabgrass, but do poorly on well established plants.
Post-emergence herbicides such as MSMA may burn established fescue in hot, dry weather. Crabgrass dies out completely with the first killing frost. Dead plants can be raked and fescue can be seeded to fill the void. Glyphosate or herbicides containing diquat quickly kill crabgrass clumps.
Bermuda grass is a perennial, returning each season from underground stems. Conversely, crabgrass is an annual germinating from seed. Bermuda grass must be completely destroyed this month before reseeding fescue in September. Be certain that the bermuda grass is dead before reseeding. Your effort will be in vain if the grass is not completely killed.
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-897.
Web sites:
http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu
http://www.rowanmaster gardener.com
http://www.rowan horticulture.com

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards