Drought and Crabgrass

FerrisDiesel

LawnSite Senior Member
Hi Guys,
I wanted to get your opinion on an issue I had with one of my customers this week. His property manager called me because the owner was furious that the lawn had crabgrass and was "Dead".

Let me back up and tell you a couple things first. I did a pre-emergent crabgrass early spring, my post emergent late spring and everything looked great. The lawn has irrigation, however they have not been using it much because the well cannot keep up with the irrigation and the household. They also have a golf cart and run it up and down the lawn back and forth to the dock where the boat is, this does not help the lawn what so ever. We had about a month of no rain what so ever, that coupled with the lack of irrigation, and a week of heat made the lawn brown. Que the crabgrass and nutsedge! So last week, I went and put down the merit app. with fertilizer hoping to see what that does.

So yesterday I got a call from the "landscape Architect" who along with the property manager takes care of the properties. She asked what I had done, I told her and expressed my concerns about the irrigation, the lack of rain, and the traffic on the lawn with the golf cart. She relayed that to the owner, and I got a phone call back saying I was no longer taking care of the lawn.

I was devastated to say the least, this is a big property and alot of $$$$

MY questions:
Did I miss a step with my applications? I was always told I could put all the fert down in the world, but if you don't water it's pointless.

Has anyone else had a problem with crabgrass after no rain for a while?
How do you combat this?
Thanks in advance!
 

jbturf

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
groton, MA
I suspect u have had the same weather pattern as my area, hot and no rain for about a month, then good heavy rains finally in july for a week and now right back to 90+ and dry again.
Its like clock work, once the rains finally come the crabgrass erupt and sometimes nutsedge as well.

Here is case where having historic data or expeience with a site will aid you in your treatment plan. But perhaps its a new account. Its a shame u didnt even get the opurtunity to do a post emergent app to help with the weeds.

Some people just have unreasonable expectations. I had a call today from a customer concerned and unhappy with lawn. She stated she jad all her trees cut down and removed and now has full sun. She also stated she has a well and cant water lawn. She said lawn went browning from month of no rain and that its just not greening up well from the rains . All i could suggest was to try and keep up on watering of she didnt want it to go drought and dormant.

Anyways,
live and learn
Posted via Mobile Device
 

turfmd101

LawnSite Bronze Member
I would say this is a very common scenario in the turfgrass industry. Most companies experience them.

Sounds like the property owner had an issue. Then you told him/her you had issues. Everybody had issues.

Should have tried to talked to the owner directly. Told him you had the same concerns and what your plan of action was to correct the situation of your SHARED concern. Left out the issues YOU were effected by until you enacted your plan.

I'm also sure the person who relayed what you said to the owner did a poor job at your JOB. That was mistake #1.

Just an opinion and yes, the greatest of nutrients applied have no ability to conquer drought.
Posted via Mobile Device
 
Last edited:

Smallaxe

LawnSite Fanatic
May have done the pre-M too early and by the time is was need, the time of effectiveness had expired...
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
I think Axe is right. A few weeks of drought followed by a good rain really stimulates crabgrass. You said you applied post-emergent--do you mean broadleaf control or quinclorac for crab?
When you did the grub control (why?) you would have been better off to kill the crabgrass with Quinclorac (Drive).

Also, live and learn about customer relations. It takes skill and experience.
Never blame the customer (for driving the golf cart on the grass). Accept responsibility for the crabgrass and nutsedge.
Never blame the customer for not irrigating the grass. (Blame the weather.) Also, use a moisture meter to check the soil moisture with the owner or manager present--if it reads dry--this puts them in the position of arguing with a machine. Point out that the grass in the shadow of the house which is protected from the hot sun has remained green. I suppose he cannot pump out of the boat slip water for irrigation.
Never treat for something else and charge them for it (grub control).
Do not ignore the second problem. Treat for nutsedge--surely you didn't expect your pre-emergent to control the nutsedge.

Did you know that the site had a big crabgrass problem? What pre-emergent did you use? At what rate? Did you calibrate carefully? Clearly a second pre-emergent in June would have saved this account. It must have rained if the crabgrass came up. Clearly the property manager didn't think fertilizer was a good idea.
If the customer is angry--he is about 90 percent likely to cancel--unless--you give him something for free. (Like a nutsedge and crabgrass treatment). Skip the fertilizer--kill the crabgrass. Skip the grub control, if not needed.
 

DA Quality Lawn & YS

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rochester, MN
Also keep in mind, once grass enters deep dormancy due to drought, it takes a LONG time to re-emerge and green up again.
 
OP
FerrisDiesel

FerrisDiesel

LawnSite Senior Member
I think Axe is right. A few weeks of drought followed by a good rain really stimulates crabgrass. You said you applied post-emergent--do you mean broadleaf control or quinclorac for crab?
When you did the grub control (why?) you would have been better off to kill the crabgrass with Quinclorac (Drive).

Also, live and learn about customer relations. It takes skill and experience.
Never blame the customer (for driving the golf cart on the grass). Accept responsibility for the crabgrass and nutsedge.
Never blame the customer for not irrigating the grass. (Blame the weather.) Also, use a moisture meter to check the soil moisture with the owner or manager present--if it reads dry--this puts them in the position of arguing with a machine. Point out that the grass in the shadow of the house which is protected from the hot sun has remained green. I suppose he cannot pump out of the boat slip water for irrigation.
Never treat for something else and charge them for it (grub control).
Do not ignore the second problem. Treat for nutsedge--surely you didn't expect your pre-emergent to control the nutsedge.

Did you know that the site had a big crabgrass problem? What pre-emergent did you use? At what rate? Did you calibrate carefully? Clearly a second pre-emergent in June would have saved this account. It must have rained if the crabgrass came up. Clearly the property manager didn't think fertilizer was a good idea.
If the customer is angry--he is about 90 percent likely to cancel--unless--you give him something for free. (Like a nutsedge and crabgrass treatment). Skip the fertilizer--kill the crabgrass. Skip the grub control, if not needed.

Riggle, thank you so much for the reply, alot of great points for me to consider.
I really didn't have any crabgrass showing until after we got the rain. There were a couple spots and some nutsedge which I treated, but when the rain came it exploded with crabgrass.

You are right though, I could have taken a better approach in handling this. It is tough to deal with 3 people, instead of one on one. I feel like I was playing the telephone game, and my point did not get relayed properly at all.

I am relatively new to the herbicide side of the business, I still have ALOT to learn, Thank you for the advice I will take it to heart!!
 
OP
FerrisDiesel

FerrisDiesel

LawnSite Senior Member
So just so I have peace of mind here:

Early Spring: Pre-Emergent

Late Spring: pre-emergent/ Q4

Summer:, Merit/Fert

Spot spraying as needed

Late Summer: Fert to recover lawn

Fall: Crabgrass application to help for the next year and lime
 

Smallaxe

LawnSite Fanatic
So just so I have peace of mind here:

Early Spring: Pre-Emergent

Late Spring: pre-emergent/ Q4

Summer:, Merit/Fert

Spot spraying as needed

Late Summer: Fert to recover lawn

Fall: Crabgrass application to help for the next year and lime

When would you ever plant grass seed to regenerate the lawn with this schedule??? Why would you need an early Spring pre-M for warm weather weeds???
 
OP
FerrisDiesel

FerrisDiesel

LawnSite Senior Member
When would you ever plant grass seed to regenerate the lawn with this schedule??? Why would you need an early Spring pre-M for warm weather weeds???

Late summer do an over seed with starter fert instead of the recovery fert.

What would you recommend?
 

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