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Main Content

Get Rid of Crabgrass in Your Lawn

Out with Crabgrass

There are different ways that you can control crabgrass and keep it from making itself at home in your landscape.

Many people dread the sight of crabgrass growing in their lawn during the summer months. However, you don't have to resign yourself to the presence of crabgrass every year. There are different ways that you can control crabgrass and keep it from making itself at home in your landscape.

Crabgrass is a low-growing weed with dark green leaves that are approximately 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. wide and 5 in. long. Crabgrass grows outward, sending out shoots that root wherever they touch the soil, forming a clump. It's an annual weed, which means that even though it dies every year, it sprouts again from seed. A single clump of crabgrass produces over 150,000 seeds a year. That's a lot of seeds.

Early Prevention of Crabgrass Is Key

Chemical Controls
The keys to controlling crabgrass are preventing seed from germinating in spring and making growing conditions difficult for the young crabgrass plants that do sprout. Once crabgrass matures, it becomes more difficult to control, so it's important to treat it early. There are both chemical and cultural ways to control crabgrass that can both be used in conjunction with each other.

Chemical controls for crabgrass include herbicides, which kill weeds. Two different types of herbicides are helpful for crabgrass control: pre-emergent and post-emergent.

  • Pre-emergent herbicide is applied before crabgrass seed has germinated. It creates an invisible layer on the soil that keeps seeds from sprouting. Crabgrass germinates when soil temperatures reach 50 to 60 degrees, so apply pre-emergents in early spring, depending on where you live. Pre-emergent herbicides are available in liquid or granular forms.
  • Post-emergent herbicide kills plants after seeds have germinated. There are two types of post-emergent herbicides: selective and nonselective. Selective post-emergent herbicides will kill only weeds, not other plants, and are the best solution to control crabgrass and other weeds growing in your lawn. Nonselective post-emergent herbicides kills all plants, including grass plants in your lawn. They work well if you have bare areas full of weeds and no other plants.
crabgrass in your lawn

Nonchemical Controls
In addition to chemical controls for crabgrass, there are other things you can do that make it difficult for crabgrass to grow in your lawn. The key is to maintain a thick and healthy lawn. The following guidelines will ensure that your lawn is not only healthy, but also free of crabgrass.

  • Fertilize your lawn in fall and spring. Grass needs the nutrients from fertilizer to grow thick and healthy.
  • Water deeply but infrequently. Crabgrass has shallow roots that dry out quickly, meaning it will die without frequent water. But grass grows best when watered deeply but infrequently.
  • Increase the height of your push mower or riding mower. Taller grass blades keep the sun from reaching crabgrass seeds, in turn keeping them from germinating.
  • Apply grass seed to any bare spots in your lawn to prevent crabgrass from growing there.

If you are battling crabgrass, follow these tips to attack it early. You will soon be enjoying a beautiful and healthy lawn.

Lawn Fertilizing Supplies:

  • Crabgrass Control
  • Fertilizer with Pre-emergent
  • Fertilizer with Post-Emergent
  • Spreader
  • Garden Hose