Southern crabgrass (Digitaria ciliaris) is an annual invading species of grass. Also known by the names summer grass, tropical crabgrass and topical finger-grass, this hardy weed grows in areas where grass is wanted, but often grows out of control, robbing nutrients from the desired grasses and turf.
Native to the United States, crabgrass grows mainly in the warmer areas in the southern states. South and Central America, Mexico, Asia, and the West Indies are also home to this variety of crabgrass, although it can probably be found just about anywhere on the planet. Any place that has a temperate climate can be home to this invasive weed.
Southern crabgrass can grow as tall as 3 feet in the right conditions. Plants grow in clusters, forming mats along the ground. Leaves are normally 2 – 6 inches long and about a half-inch wide. The blades can be hairy or rough, with long hairs growing by the hairy sheaths. Growing season if from July to October.
Crabgrass does not usually spread over a wide area by itself. It’s human activity that helps southern crabgrass travel great distances. Mowing lawns and cutting hay are great ways to spread any type of crabgrass. The best way to deal with southern crabgrass on grasses like Bermuda and zoysia is by hiring a lawn care service that uses the right pre-emergent weed control products.
Southern crabgrass is a big problem in crops that grow in rows, pastures, fields, and gardens. It also invades prairies and waste areas and grows freely along the side of the road. Unless you use a cloth or plastic barrier, there is no way to control the spread of southern crabgrass.
The best way to keep crabgrass off your lawn or property is by implementing proper weed control measures. The appropriate pre and post-emergent weed control products need to be used, based on turf type, in order to groom these invaders from your yard.