Crab Grass + Moss Problem

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by silicuda, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Amateur hour again. I have a 2 foot soil moisture probe and brown probe along with my TDR, soil coring ability to 4 feet, and turf profiling tools. I leave the shovels to the amateurs (you) who like to pretend they know something about managing soils and irrigation.


    Water early in the morning, trying to get all your irrigation complete before 9-10am. How do you help your turf develop deep roots? Determine the correct amount water to apply at the frequency and depth in the soil it is needed at. If you have significant compaction or a confining layer, deal with it.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Sometimes I hear the most sensible advice for the homeowner and sometimes I hear someone bragging about how much better they are, compared to the homeowner...

    My apologies to the OP... if I was really on the ball I should've told you that you need unnecessary equipment to see how the water is soaking into the soil... it is too complicated for your eyes,,, alone!!!
  3. silicuda

    silicuda LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    UPDATE: went through and pulled out all grab grass by hand, used a weed killer to kill all the other stuff... had to reseed in damaged areas but the new baby grass already started showing (i did all this 3 weeks ago after i posted this thread)..

    now fall has arrived, and the sun damage is at minimal... we had some nice rain, and im letting the sprinklers do their thing..

    made one major change, stopped cutting stuff very short... incredible effect, the grass looks amazing..

    also started regular lawn feeding via fertilizer... never did this but i did a test patch and there saw incredible changes in 2 week period too

    im using whats available here... everris (scotts) pre-winter fertilizer..
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Have you gone to 2-3 irrigation times per week?? even less, now that it is Fall???
    The moss will come back with daily waterings...
  5. silicuda

    silicuda LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    nope, i will turn down the sprinklers now to run only every 3rd day i guess..
    thanks for the tip
  6. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,722

    Crabgrass is sun-loving...and moss is not, right? Were these in the same area? Just curious...
  7. silicuda

    silicuda LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    same zone, but not same area

    moss appears where i over watered, im pretty sure that is what caused the moss... need to have some more static sprinkler heads added in places, then i can avoid this over watering next year
  8. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    There's a simple way to see this and understand the fix:

    Cutting it higher, means that it will grow deeper roots. Grass height gives an approximation of root depth. Deeper roots means it can get water deeper down and survive the hot weather. Therefore, you want deeper roots, and must cut higher all year round. With cold season grasses, 2-1/2" in spring and fall, 3-4" in summer at it's hottest.

    Roots are always growing and replenishing, but tend to stop in the hottest weather. Therefore when you have a low cut grass and shallow roots (because you have cut it short all year), the grass cannot get water from anywhere except on the surface where the roots are. With deeper roots, it pulls water from deeper in the soil and can survive hot weather much longer. As warm weather approaches, raise your cutting height from 2-1/2" to 3 or even 4". When the cool weather returns later in the year, return back to 2-1/2".

    Crabgrass doesn't grow well in a thick stand of grass. And if the stand is tall, it is even harder for the crabgrass to compete. Therefore, a well-grown lawn that is cut to a higher height in summer and has filled in over a season or two will make crabgrass much less prevalent. You can't beat hand-pulling it also as it is very effective, albeit time consuming.

    You pros keep the squables to a minimum! Just give the homeowners basic advice and let them go back to enjoying their pool!
  9. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Step 2 is then to read up and learn about watering, and stop watering every day. The watering needs vary with the weather but the principles are clear...and watering everyday is a fix to a problem, not a long-term solution.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    This is a good example of Ol' Wives' Tale... Does this basic fact apply to Fescue? per. Ryegrass?? or KBG???

    Cutting higher in the summer does indeed help to shade the turf from the burning sun and have more mass to draw from as it dries out struggling for survival...
    It essentially does the same thing as corn does when it starts to dry out and fortuneately the agri-sites talk about it realistically, but we seem to have a problem with sound information relating to Summer Burnout of cool-season grasses... :)

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