Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 28, 2009

From: Middletown, MD
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Eliminating crabgrass in Middletown MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am having trouble with my lawn, specifically with the crabgrass in it. It now covers over 1/3 of it. I started using corn gluten meal this year, with limited tangible success. Corn gluten meal is a pre-emergent and sometimes hit-or-miss on when to apply it. Is there an environmentally responsible POST-emergent weed control product that I can apply to hit the crabgrass on multiple fronts? In the near future, I hope to transition/replace my exotic grass with native alternatives. Thank you.

ANSWER:

We found a website from The University of Illinois Purdue Extension Control of Crabgrass in Home Lawns. We recommend neither for nor against herbicides, so you will have to judge for yourself whether the products suggested in this article are suitable for your purposes. Crabgrass is an annual, so the more you can do to prevent seeding, the better. Mowing twice a week will not necessarily wipe it out, but it should help control it. And the best deterrent for crabgrass is a good, healthy turf. 

Since you mention wanting to replace your non-native exotic grasses with native plants, please read our How-To Article Native Lawns. Of the three grasses mentioned in that article, both Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) are native to Missouri, while the other, Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite) is more of a southwestern grass and not native to Missouri. 

Since the grasses should probably be seeded or sodded in Spring in Missouri, we would suggest you start now planning the native area of your lawn, getting rid of the crabgrass in the process, and follow the instructions in the How-To Article on preparing the soil. Out with the Bad Plants, In with the Good.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua gracilis
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native plants that are dog-proof in South Texas
July 13, 2008 - I live in Odem, Texas and would like to use only native plants in my front and backyard. I have two puppies who love to dig. What plants should I use that require minimal attention from me and will no...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
view the full question and answer

Establishing native pasture in East Texas
October 29, 2011 - We are the owners of a 20 acre parcel in Harrison County, Texas. It is currently planted in pine trees. Our intentions are to thin and harvest the pine trees over the next 10 years. We would like t...
view the full question and answer

Arisaema triphyllum as an insect eater
April 14, 2007 - Is the Jack in the Pulpit an insect eater?
view the full question and answer

How to eliminate Sawgrass from a small lake in Lindale, TX?
February 23, 2015 - We live on a small acre lake (about 65 acres) and the majority of the lake is surrounded by what the locals are calling saw grass. From the description on the website, I believe they are correct. The...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.