Long Winter Delays Crabgrass Applications, Increases Concern Among LCOs

Lawn care operators throughout the Northeast and Midwest are trying to beat the clock this spring as it ticks away the days until crabgrass germinates, a recent survey suggests.

Two out of three lawn care operators surveyed said they are making preemergence crabgrass applications later than normal this year because winter weather conditions, including extended snow cover in the Northeast, lasted longer in their area. As a result, nearly three out of five LCOs (57 percent) are at least somewhat concerned that crabgrass will emerge before they get the chance to prevent it. Concern increases among respondents from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio and New York.

Of those surveyed, 120 cited a primary crabgrass control product. More than half use formulations of either Dimension specialty herbicide (39 percent) or pendimethalin (30 percent) while 31 percent said they used other products.

“The problem with crabgrass is you have to stop it before tillering. And that window of time can close pretty quickly if winter weather lasts longer than usual,” says Mike Melichar, a customer agronomist for Dow AgroSciences LLC. “But with products containing dithiopyr on the market, the application window is open longer because products with Dimension offer early postemergence control.”

The e-mailed survey, conducted in April by Dow AgroSciences, asked about 2,700 lawn care operators in the upper Midwest and North Atlantic regions if they had to make applications later this year, their concern level, and what crabgrass prevention products they use. Response rate was almost 5 percent.

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