Crabgrass & Roses

Q. Please tell me the best time to control Crabgrass. I treat it every year and it always comes back. Is there anything I can do without replacing my lawn?100303766

A. Now is the time of the year to control the dormant seeds of Crabgrass. It is also the time of the year to make your first application of a lawn food. There are several combination turf products available. They include a fertilizer along with a pre-emergent herbicide for Crabgrass and other weeds such as Scott’s Super Turf Builder plus Halts. It’s the pre-emergent herbicide that prevents the dormant seeds on the ground from germinating. For the actively growing Crabgrass, you would apply a different herbicide later in the year. I’m going to assume that you are applying the right product at the right time. Your lack of success can only be from one other thing. You have some other weed other than Crabgrass. Today,

“Crabgrass” is used as the universal label for all the unwanted vegetation that shows up in a grass lawn. My primary suspect that isn’t controlled by a Crabgrass herbicide is a perennial weed called Bermuda Grass. Bermuda Grass is a mass of wiry stems that goes dormant or turns brown in mid-November through mid-March. It spreads rapidly with warm temperatures. The brown stems are very visible today. On the other hand, Crabgrass is an annual that dies out in cool temperatures. It disappears during the winter leaving behind bare ground or spots where it was. This is a distinguishing characteristic that separates it from all the other suspects. Your first step is to determine what the problem is. The nursery professional at your favorite garden center is an excellent resource in sorting through possible solutions. There is more than one right answer.

Q. My roses are still blooming should I prune them now or wait? Also, after pruning which of the following dormant sprays should I use; Volck Oil Spray, Sun Spray Ultra Fine Oil, or the Lime Sulfur fungicide? Is there anything else, I should be doing?

A. I wouldn’t delay pruning my roses just because they’re in bloom. However, it is early enough in the pruning season not to be in any great rush, so you can wait if you so choose. You could apply any one of the three products but my preference of dormant spray would be the Lime Sulfur fungicide. I’d save the Volck and Sun Spray Oil for use during the spring and summer months. They are excellent organic controls for the pests and diseases of roses. Before spraying, clean up all the debris around and under the bushes and be sure to strip off any of the foliage on the canes that remain from the previous year. Finally, loosen or relocate the metal name tag. All too often the wire griddles the stem causing it to die. I’d attach it to a nail at the top of a wooden stake placed in front of the plant(s).

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is and you can send questions by email at or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. ‘D’, Pleasant Hill, California 94523.