• 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.

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

BREAKING NEWS

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

Local

Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after truck overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project