Name: Hairy Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)
Other names: hairy finger-grass, large crabgrass, crab finger grass, purple crabgrass
Higher classification: Finger-grasses
Clades: Angiosperms, Monocots, Commelinids
Description: It is an annual grass with an inflorescence of up to nine very long, very thin, radiating branches atop its stems. Each branch is lined with pairs of very tiny spikelets. The inflorescences may be reddish or purplish.
Usage: Digitaria sanguinalis was brought to the United States by some immigrants to serve as hand-foraged grain. The grass is also highly nutritious, especially before the plant exhausts itself producing seed. It is frequently sown in fields to provide graze for animals, or clipped and bundled as hay. Compared to other grasses, it has a relatively high protein percentage. Farmers will sometimes till patches in their pastures in the late spring, with the intent of encouraging crabgrass seed.
Invasive Nature: Its usefulness to nineteenth-century homesteaders has made its seed widespread, and today is generally considered an unattractive nuisance. Crabgrass takes advantage of low fertility and drought, since this tends to weaken other grasses and it tends to invade manicured turf. It is difficult to kill, as it will regenerate, and chemicals will likely harm surrounding grasses. As an annual, it can be controlled by preemergent herbicides. The most efficient means of control is to pull patches, and keep the rest of the lawn watered and mowed at a height of two-three inches.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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