Even though "weed season" has passed, the weeds and crabgrass in our lawn were incredibly bad this summer. We leave our grass long as you recommend, but it didn't seem to help. What happened to our lawn this past summer? Chris
Actually what you saw happened all over New England this year; the bottom line is things should return to normal next year if the weather cooperates. Here's what happened in 2018. Our desirable turf grasses are "cool season" plants and crabgrass and other weeds are "warm season" plants. This spring throughout New England, temperatures were too cold initially and then got too hot too quickly for cool season plant growth. Once the temperature got hot, it stayed hot. As a result, the cool season turf grass growing season was cut very short (it was half as long as it was 2017). The warm season plant (crabgrass and other weeds) was significantly lengthened compared to last year (it was twice as long as it was 2017). The result was all over New England there was less turf grass establishment and a significant increase in crab grass. The good news is that the crab grass situation should improve next year assuming the weather and temperatures get back to normal.
Leaving your lawn grass long (3-1/2 to 4") is a good thing because it shades the soil and keeps it cooler which helps deter crabgrass. If you had cut it short, your crabgrass would have been much, much worse.
Thank you for your very good question.
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.