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Kill Crabgrass in Your Lawn: Effective Methods and Prevention (2023)

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how do i kill crabgrass in my lawnHaving trouble with crabgrass in your lawn can drive any homeowner crazy. With its ability to spread quickly and outcompete other grasses, getting rid of crabgrass can seem impossible. But there are several effective methods for controlling and killing this weed so you can enjoy a lush lawn again.

There are several methods for killing existing crabgrass as well as prevention techniques that will keep future invasions at bay. Organic treatments like pulling up weeds by hand and adding compost mulch are options.

For successful eradication of crabgrass, you can use organic methods such as hand-pulling weeds and applying compost mulch. Chemical herbicides formulated for post-emergent crabgrass control can also be very effective.

With the right techniques, you can get rid of this pesky weed and restore your lawn’s lush appearance.

Key Takeaways

  • Organic methods such as hand-pulling, compost mulch, proper mowing, and fertilization can aid in controlling crabgrass.
  • Chemical methods like applying post-emergent and pre-emergent herbicides, reseeding in fall, spot treatment, and monitoring as well as retreating when necessary can also prove effective.
  • Preventing crabgrass entails utilizing compost, maintaining proper mowing height, deep watering, applying pre-emergent herbicides at the correct soil temperature, and sustaining consistent soil moisture.
  • Early detection, timely treatment and control measures, closely following herbicide instructions, and diligently employing proper methods are key considerations for eliminating crabgrass and obtaining a stunning lawn.

How to Kill Crabgrass

How to Kill Crabgrass
How ’bout controlling that pesky crabgrass with some strategic preventative care, neighbor? A lil’ organic compost worked into the soil in spring, proper mowing height to shade out the invader, and corn gluten pre-emergent applied before those thousands of seeds can germinate – that’ll give your lawn the upper hand.

Crabgrass identification in the early season is key for targeted treatment.

Early prevention starts with proper fertilization, mowing height, watering, and pre-emergent herbicide before the ground temperature reaches 55°F.

For existing crabgrass, post-emergent herbicides can be applied according to label instructions.

Maintain thick, healthy turf through proper lawn care to crowd out crabgrass and weeds.

With some strategic timing, you can gain the upper hand against crabgrass without using harmful chemicals.

Preventing Crabgrass in the Spring

Preventing Crabgrass in the Spring
To prevent those annoying patches of crabgrass from invading your lawn this spring, be sure to mow at the proper height for your grass type, fertilize regularly every 6 to 8 weeks, and use deep watering methods.

Doing these simple lawn care steps will help shade the soil, nourish the roots, and crowd out crabgrass and other weeds before they can establish themselves. Alternating between shorter and longer sentences as well as varying sentence structure improves readability and avoids a robotic tone.

Mow at the Proper Height

You’ll shade soil and deter crabgrass germination by mowing at the proper height of 2-1/2 to 3 inches. Statistics show that consistent mowing practices are one of the best preventive measures against crabgrass infestations.

Mowing higher creates a canopy effect that shades out crabgrass seeds. Proper mowing combined with lawn aeration relieves soil compaction for improved grass growth. Time mowing before crabgrass germinates. Maintain grass health with proper watering techniques and fertilization.

Regular Fertilization

To encourage a dense, weed-resistant lawn, feed it a premium fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the growing season. Regular fertilization encourages deep roots and thick turf that crowds out crabgrass and other weeds.

Follow the label directions for spreader settings and coverage. Apply the first application in early spring, once soil temperatures reach 50-55°F. Select a fertilizer without phosphorus to discourage crabgrass growth. Continue fertilizing through autumn to prepare your lawn for winter.

Deep Watering Techniques

Water deeply, but infrequently to promote healthy turf growth down to the roots, where a 4-6 inch depth allows the grass to better withstand heat and drought.

Here are 4 tips for deep watering your lawn:

  1. Water early in the morning, when evaporation rates are lowest.
  2. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings so that the roots grow deeper seeking water.
  3. Check soil moisture level by pushing a screwdriver into the ground. It should plunge in easily up to 6 inches when ready to water again.
  4. Inspect and adjust sprinklers to target the root zone rather than saturating the upper surface.

Deep watering boosts your lawn’s resilience against summer stresses such as heat, drought, and crabgrass invasion.

Organic Methods for Crabgrass Control

Organic Methods for Crabgrass Control
When it comes to eradicating crabgrass organically, begin by thoroughly soaking the impacted areas, then carefully pulling out the intrusive plants, roots and all. Once the crabgrass is removed, work some nutrient-dense organic compost into the soil prior to laying new grass seed and shielding it with a straw cover to assist with moisture retention as the new growth becomes established.

Pulling Out Crabgrass

After soaking the soil, grasp the crabgrass firmly near the base and pull it out, roots and all, using a weeding tool. To remove young crabgrass organically, first soak the area for 30 minutes to loosen the soil.

Then use a pitchfork or crabgrass puller to extract the entire plant, including the roots, to prevent regrowth. Persist in seeking out any remaining crabgrass plants and pulling them. Maintaining thick, healthy grass through proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing helps crowd out crabgrass naturally.

Adding Organic Compost

Work organic compost into the soil to nourish the grass and stimulate deep root growth. Cultivating healthy soil is the foundation of organic lawn care. Integrate compost to enrich the soil with organic matter and nutrients.

This boosts the soil’s ability to retain water and stimulates microbial activity, facilitating vigorous turf growth. Compost’s beneficial microbes also help break down thatch while enhancing disease resistance.

Thoroughly blend compost into the top few inches of soil before seeding or sodding. The enriched soil will provide nutrients to help new grass roots establish lush, weed-free turf.

Seeding and Straw Covering

You should seed the area with grass and cover it with weed-free straw like a protective blanket, keeping the soil moist until the new seeds sprout.

  1. Prepare the seed by mixing it with fertilizer or compost to provide nutrients.
  2. Lightly rake seeds into loose soil for good contact.
  3. Mist the straw covering daily until grass emerges.

Organic methods like seeding give you greater control and improvement. Careful seeding and moisture protection establishes grass naturally, shading out crabgrass for an attractive lawn.

Using Pre-Emergent Herbicides to Kill Crabgrass

Using Pre-Emergent Herbicides to Kill Crabgrass
To prevent crabgrass from taking over your lawn, a pre-emergent herbicide should be applied in early spring before the seeds have germinated. Applying products containing chemicals like prodiamine or pendimethalin before the soil reaches 55°F will form a barrier, preventing the crabgrass seeds from developing into mature plants over the summer.

Proper Application of Herbicides

Measure the area of your lawn and mix the herbicide as directed before uniformly applying it to the affected spots. For effective treatment, apply pre-emergent herbicides before crabgrass germination in spring; timing is crucial for control.

For herbicide safety, wear protective clothing, avoid windy days, and apply on a rainy day so the water can carry it into the soil. Thoroughly spray the herbicide and observe for browning. If needed, repeat the treatment.

Reseeding the Affected Area

After waiting patiently for the crabgrass to wither away, it’s time to breathe new life into your lawn by gently scattering fresh seeds that will sprout into a lush, verdant carpet. Reseed in fall when temps drop below 70°F for quick germination. Rake lightly and spread seed evenly before covering with straw.

Mist often until sprouted, then resume deep watering. Thick grass shades soil, preventing future crabgrass intrusions. Overseed annually to maintain thickness. The dense turf will help choke out weeds while giving your lawn a fuller appearance.

Consider incorporating organic fertilizer to encourage deep root growth and hardy blades that can better withstand disease and drought. Proper mowing, aerating and periodic overseeding will keep your lawn lush while crowding out crabgrass and other weeds.

Using Post-Emergent Herbicides to Kill Crabgrass

Using Post-Emergent Herbicides to Kill Crabgrass
To effectively kill crabgrass that has already emerged in your lawn this season, proper herbicide application technique is crucial. Carefully spraying the weed killer thoroughly on a calm, sunny day, then continuing to monitor the affected areas and provide follow-up treatments as needed until the crabgrass is completely browned out.

Effective Weed Spraying Techniques

Let’s ensure you spray those weeds thoroughly, friend. To effectively kill crabgrass, apply herbicide on a sunny, windless day. Thoroughly spray crabgrass leaves and reapply if needed. Avoid spraying near desirable plants.

Wear protective clothing and carefully measure herbicide amounts. Prepare the soil by removing weeds and debris before seeding new grass. Proper soil preparation helps grass establish while deterring future weeds. Maintaining healthy turf through proper care is the best organic weed control.

Monitoring and Additional Treatments

Closely observe the grass for any remaining hints of crabgrass browning and be prepared to retreat if needed. Effective post-emergent herbicide requires careful monitoring and possible additional treatments for crabgrass control.

  1. Inspect treated areas weekly.
  2. Retreat if any active growth remains.
  3. Allow proper herbicide absorption time.
  4. Promote thick turf growth.

Thorough monitoring and timely follow-up treatments ensure herbicide effectiveness and prevent recurring crabgrass infestations. Healthy soil cultivates robust grass that resists weeds. Persistent observation and maintenance leads to a vigorous lawn free of crabgrass.

Tips for Effective Crabgrass Control

Tips for Effective Crabgrass Control
You’ve gotta carefully spray the suckers thoroughly on a sunny, windless day.

  • Spot treat early before crabgrass sets seed. Catching it early prevents spreading.
  • Time applications carefully. Pre-emergent herbicides before seeds sprout. Post-emergent after.
  • Follow herbicide labels meticulously. Proper application prevents reapplication and lawn damage.
  • Keep soil consistently moist before and after seeding. Thwarts crabgrass germination.
  • Mow high, 2 1⁄2-3 inches. Tall blades shade soil, deterring crabgrass.

Detect and annihilate crabgrass early. Timing is everything, so obsessively monitor for first signs of infestation. Adhere religiously to product instructions for flawless applications. Moisture management and proper mowing height weaken crabgrass’s foothold.


A lush, green lawn free of crabgrass can be yours! By following effective control methods, you can kill crabgrass in your lawn and keep it out for good.

Start by controlling crabgrass in the spring with proper lawn care techniques like mowing at the proper height, regular fertilization, and deep watering.

If you want to take an organic approach, you can pull out crabgrass, add organic compost, and seed with grass.

With some effort, you can be rid of crabgrass and have a beautiful lawn to enjoy.

Take action today and kill crabgrass in your lawn for good.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.