I have a confession to make to all my readers and to the Higher Powers of gardening. I absolutely love the sound of crabgrass. "Wait, you say, what do you mean? Crabgrass doesn't have a sound!" Of course it does, you silly gardener. It simply makes the most delicious scrunching sound imaginable when I rip it out of the hot dry ground at this time of year. It's really one of the most joyful sounds I know.
We seem to be fully in the midst of a crabgrass epidemic this year in the Flint Hills. The cool wet spring followed now by the usual hot and dry July and August weather has tufts of crabgrass forming everywhere in my garden beds. I'm resigned to a little crabgrass now and then, but this year the clumps seem to be destined for world domination. The crabgrass most prevalent in my garden seems to be Digitaria sanguinalis, also known as hairy crabgrass, if I've got it identified correctly. Some sources list it as a native grass in the United States, while the Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses website (http://www.kswildflower.org/) tells me that it was introduced from Europe and is now naturalized. It spreads and re-roots along the culm (stem) nodes, almost growing fast enough for gardeners to see the expansion as we watch, starting out as a single star-shaped grass clump and then moving on to cover full beds in the span of a few days. It's pretty useless as a forage grass, although apparently the seeds are eaten by wild turkey and some songbirds. Regardless of its value to wildlife, though, in my garden, it's about as welcome as Darth Vader.
Use "The Force." Feel AND Hear the satisfaction as you rip out that crabgrass.