[permaculture] crabgrass & bermuda graa/Charles waters' book

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Fri Jun 15 23:33:41 EDT 2007

Michelle Maggiore wrote:
> Hi...
> Is bermudagrass  the same as crabgrass? I found by accident this year that
> an area that had a winter cover crop of rye did not have ANY  bermuda grass
> (in an area heavily prone and surrounded by it). Unfortunately, I did not
> plant rye grass in all the new beds I built over the winter, so I am looking
> for a summer alternative until I can plant rye grass in there in the fall.
> The calcium defiiciency sounds like a probability here, too. The book sounds
> very interesting; will try to get a copy from interlibrary loan.
> Many Thanks,
> Michelle in VA

What he was calling crabgrass was actually Bermuda grass, the single worst weed I have ever encountered.


Weed  	 Smooth crabgrass and large crabgrass
Scientific Name 	Digitaria ischaemum and D. sanguinalis
Family 	Grass Family (Poaceae)
Life Cycle 	Summer annuals
Reproduction Method 	Reproduce primarily by seeds. Large crabgrass can also reproduce by long, rooting tillers.
Appearance 	Both crabgrasses are much-branched and upright or prostrate. Large crabgrass is normally mat forming, often 
has purple stems, and can grow to more than 3 feet in height. Smooth crabgrass is usually 15 inches or less.
Leaves 	The leaves of large crabgrass are pale blue green, pubescent on both sides, and with margins that may be rough. 
They are flat, sharply pointed, 1/4 to 2/5 inch wide, and 2 to 6 inches long. Smooth crabgrass leaves are normally dull 
green, sometimes purple tinged, and with margins that may be rough. They are sharply pointed, sparsely pubescent near 
the base, 1 to 4 inches long, and 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.
Flowers 	Large crabgrass flowers are borne in a raceme with 3 to 13 purplish finger-like spikes up to 6 inches long. 
They occur in whorls at end of stout stalks during August and September. The flowers of smooth crabgrass are borne in a 
raceme with 2 to 6 finger-like, purplish spikes up to 4 inches long, and at end of flowering stalks. They also occur 
August and September.
Occurrence 	Both crabgrasses can be found in most warm, moist, fertile lawns in sun where turf is thin or mowed too 
short. They will tolerate hot, dry, compacted soils after establishment, and may spread aggressively to crowd out 
desirable grasses.
Non Chemical Control 	To control without chemicals maintain turf density and health through proper culture; avoid light, 
frequent irrigation, spring cultivation, short mowing, and summer fertilization. They can also be hand-pulled or 
mechanically removed.

Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Venaura Farm
lfl at intrex.net

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