Texas AgriLife Extension Erath County and the Erath County Master Gardeners will be offering a Backyard Pecan Program for homeowners that have one tree to several trees April 11, 2019. Registration will start at 9:30 at the Tarleton Southwest Regional Dairy Center (2929 North US 281 Stephenville). One CEU will be given for pesticide license.

Program topics and speakers will include Pecan Tree Management & Production, Monte Nesbitt, State Pecan Specialist and Pecan Insect Management, Bill Ree, State Pecan Entomologist.

Registration fee is $20 with lunch sponsored by Ag Workers Insurance.

Please RSVP by April 8 for meal count at 254-965-1460 or erath-tx@tamu.edu

Crabgrass

Crabgrass germination typically occurs in late winter (February to mid-March), but varies from year to year, based on temperature, rainfall, and location. Crabgrass germination usually begins when the soil temperature at a 2-inch depth reaches 55°F for at least 3 days. Since crabgrass is the first summer annual grassy weed to germinate, we apply pre-emergence herbicides based on its germination.

Selecting a Product

A pre-emergence herbicide is the most effective way to control crabgrass. They are especially recommended for lawns with a history of crabgrass problems.

Common active ingredients found on products available to homeowners include pendimethalin, dithiopyr, and prodiamine. Trade names for these products include but are not limited to: Pre-M, Bonide Crabgrass Preventer and Halts Crabgrass Preventer. Pre-emergence herbicides that contain these active ingredients will usually provide suitable crabgrass control when applied before crabgrass germination and according to the product label. These products mostly control grassy weeds, although they may control some broadleaf weeds. Always check to ensure that the product can be safely used on the turfgrass species in your lawn. 

Many pre-emergence products that contain dithiopyr are labeled for early post-emergence control of small (seedling) crabgrass plants. This includes products such as Bonide Crabgrass and Weed Preventer. Consider using these products if you cannot make the application before germination and check the label to ensure it contains dithiopyr and is labeled for early post-emergence control. 

Corn gluten meal is an organic option for crabgrass control. Research has demonstrated that crabgrass control with this product is inconsistent, but it may be effective in some situations.

It is best to select a pre-emergence product that does not contain nitrogen fertilizer. Many companies that distribute products nationally crabgrass preventers with nitrogen. While these products may be suitable for northern regions of the U.S. they should not be used in Texas. Warm-season grasses are still mostly dormant when crabgrass germinated, and nitrogen fertilizer should not be applied until the lawn is mostly green. 

Pre-emergence herbicides are effective only if they are applied uniformly and are watered into the soil by rainfall or irrigation before the crabgrass or other target weed emerges. See the product label for information on the amount of irrigation or rainwater needed.

Lonnie Jenschke is an Erath County extension agent.