What is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is a form of plant that is more formally known as digitaria. Its name comes from the word "digitus," which means finger. This describes the plant's long leaves accurately. Besides crabgrass, it is also known as finger-grass and fonio. Crabgrass has long, slender shoots and most often can be found growing in a home owner's front yard. Some people like this plant, while others consider it to be a pest. Large crabgrass is the most common type found in North America. It comes in two varieties: hairy and smooth. Because it attacks other plants by stealing their nutrients from the soil, it is often found in yards where the other plants are dying.
How Does Crabgrass Grow?
Crabgrass is usually considered a weed because it absorbs nutrients from the soil and kills off other plants. It has a long germination period and must be killed before it starts to grow. It grows in different regions of the world in climates that are tropical, subtropical, as well as temperate. It grows the same way as most common plants. Water is absorbed into the soil where the roots drink it up into the plant. The plant's leaves take in nutrients from the sun, and use sunlight and water to produce energy for it to live off of. This energy helps the crabgrass continue to grow. Normally it spreads out into long, thin shoots will slender leaves coming off of them. If the plant doesn't receive enough light or water, its growth will be stunted and it may not spread very far, or it will have a pale color instead of a healthy green.
What Use is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is not just a nuisance. It does have good qualities as well. The seeds can be made into flour. It is considered an important crop in parts of Africa. It is also a good crop for cattle to graze on. For those who do not like crabgrass, however, there are herbicides that can kill the crabgrass before it emerges from the soil. It has to be applied at the right time or the crabgrass won't be killed and will grow as normal. The roots of the plant are very protected, and the herbicide must get into the plant's system to kill it off so it doesn't come back to pester the homeowners.