Smooth Crabgrass

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Description

Smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum) germinates from March through early May in North Carolina when soil temperatures reach 53 to 58°F at a 4-inch depth. Alternating dry and wet conditions at the soil surface in the spring encourages germination. Crabgrass germinates and grows best when adequate light and moisture are present. Stems have a prostrate growth habit and may root at the lower nodes. Smooth crabgrass is similar to large crabgrass, but the leaf blade of large crabgrass has more hairs, with short hairs on both surfaces, and scattered hairs on the edges.

Cultural Control

Crabgrass will grow under close mowing conditions. Competition is enhanced by thin open turfgrass stands, improper mowing heights for the desired turf, summer fertilization, and light, frequent irrigation. For crabgrass control, practice procedures outlined to maintain a dense, actively growing turf.

Species Data

  • SEEDHEAD / FLOWER
    • raceme; 2 - 6 spikes at top of stems
  • VERNATION TYPE
  • LIGULE TYPE
  • GROWTH SEASON / LIFE CYCLE
    • summer annual weed
  • AURICLE TYPE
    • absent
  • LEAF BLADE TIP SHAPE
    • sharp-pointed; smooth above, with mostly a few hairs near base, edges not hairy or sparse hairs along edge, dull green or tinged with purple
      Figure 5, Figure 6, Figure 7, Figure 8
  • LEAF BLADE WIDTH
    • 0.2 - 0.4 inches (5 - 10 mm) wide
      Figure 9
  • STOLON PRESENCE
    • present
  • RHIZOME PRESENCE
    • absent
  • COLLAR TYPE
  • SHEATH MARGIN
  • SHEATH TYPE
    • flattened; sheath is not hairy, lower sheaths may be sparsely hairy
      Figure 15
Smooth crabgrass vernation
Smooth crabgrass ligule
Smooth crabgrass ligule
Smooth crabgrass ligule
Smooth crabgrass leaf blade
Smooth crabgrass leaf blade
Smooth Crabgrass leaf blade
Smooth crabgrass leaf balde
Smooth crabgrass lead blade width
Smooth crabgrass collar
Smooth crabgrass collar
Smooth crabgrass collar
Smooth crabgrass sheath margin
Smooth crabgrass sheath margin
Smooth crabgrass sheath type