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What do I do about crab grass and other weeds?

Q: What do I do about crab grass and other weeds?
A: Over-seeding in the fall, when weed seeds are dormant, and improving soil health by spreading screened organic compost is your best defense. For spring planting, if you plant Pearl’s Premium when the soil temperature hits 50 degrees, you should have a thick, healthy lawn that is 3 1/2 to 4 inches tall by the time the soil temperature hits 70 degrees. This will shade out the weed seeds in the soil. Weeds and crab grass don’t sprout until the soil warms up to 70 degrees (and if your Pearl’s Premium is tall and thick enough) most weeds do not get the sunlight they need to germinate. If you will not be seeding in the spring, you can top-spread corn gluten (a natural broad weed killer) in the early spring just when the forsythia blooms. Please note that you must wait at least six weeks after spreading corn gluten before you can plant seed.

Another way to discourage weeds is to core aerate the lawn. For best results, core aerate in one direction, then aerate at 90 degrees to that and finally in a diagonal direction on your lawn. Do this when the lawn is dry in the early spring and again in late August, just before seeding/ over seeding. When you over-seed, cut the DRY grass to one inch with a sharp blade if you have 50/50 good Pearl’s Premium grass or just about down to the soil with a dull blade if you have 80% weeds. If you want to kill your old grass and weeds, cut down to the dirt with a dull blade in one giant step to stress it the bad grass and weeds. If you’re over-seeding to enhance your existing lawn, or thicken up your Pearl’s Premium lawn, cut it in stages to bring it down from 3 inches to 1 inch for over-seeding, cutting only a third of the height at a time. Then heavily over-seed with one of the two Pearl's Premium seed mixes, "Sunny" mix for 50% sun to full sun OR use "Shady Mix" for 50% or less sun to full shade.

If you are impatient or have a really bad lawn, have a lawn care professional burn the weeds with a propane torch or spray on an organic weed and grass killer like Phydura (concentrated vinegar and clove oil) which kills everything, then a week later, carefully rake away all the dead stuff and plant a new lawn by following our  installation instructions.

Once you've installed your new lawn, remember to follow our low maintenance lawn caer instructions to keep your soil and lawn healthy, cut the grass to 3 1/2" or 4" high always using a sharp blade. When you use a sharp blade, it will quickly seal the cut, and grass will not get diseased through the cut area. Taller, healthier grass will be able to out-compete weeds. When all these steps are used altogether, (aerate, top spread 1/4 inch compost, add a little lime to make pH nuetral and cut high with a sharp blade) these techniques will favor the grass and greatly reduce weeds. Following these steps two years in a row should get rid of most weeds.