Q: I brought in some soil this spring to level a few low spots in the lawn and planted grass seed. Now I'm plagued with crabgrass. What can I do about it?
—Phil DeLuca, Jr., Alsip, ILl.
A: Roger Cook replies: Life would be so easy if only we could settle for crabgrass-covered lawns. Here's the problem. When you plant grass in the spring, any crabgrass seed that's around—and there's plenty of it—will germinate and outcompete your delicate grass seedlings, particularly in a sunny location.
That's why I prefer to plant grass in the fall, when crabgrass won't fight you. Grass seedlings love the cool, wet conditions, and by the end of the growing season you'll have a reasonable stand of grass. Then, in the spring, apply a pre-emergent weed control that will stop any crabgrass seeds from germinating.