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How to Kill Crabgrass and Get a Weed-Free Lawn Full Guide of 2023

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how to rid of crabgrassYou can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs, so if you want a lush, weed-free lawn, you’ve got to get your hands dirty removing crabgrass. Don’t let those creeping green invaders take over your yard. Tackle a crabgrass problem head-on by identifying infestations early, pulling weeds manually, applying targeted herbicides, and taking preventative measures.

Mow high, fertilize smart, and nip crabgrass in the bud before its nasty seeds spread. With some elbow grease and lawn care know-how, you’ll give crabgrass the boot and cultivate the lawn of your dreams.

Remember, the best defense is a good offense when battling crabgrass. So take control of your turf and banish those weeds for good.

Key Takeaways

  • Use pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent crabgrass growth.
  • Maintain a healthy lawn by mowing at the proper height, fertilizing regularly, and watering adequately.
  • Employ preventive measures such as using mulch to block sunlight and crowding out future crabgrass with a thick turf.
  • Utilize treatment methods like hand-pulling small patches, spot-treating with post-emergent herbicide, and smothering patches with trays.

What is Crabgrass?

What is Crabgrass
You’re dealing with those pesky crabgrass weeds spreading all over your lawn again this summer. Crabgrass is an annual weed that germinates each spring once soil temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thousands of crabgrass seeds lie dormant in your lawn just waiting for the right conditions to sprout.

Crabgrass thrives in thin, stressed lawns and bare spots. It grows low to the ground with stems radiating out like crab legs.

The best defense is a thick, healthy lawn that shades out crabgrass seeds. Reseed bare areas in fall using the best grass type for your climate. Aerate compacted soil to allow nutrients to reach grass roots. And keep mowing regularly at the ideal height for your turfgrass.

Hand-pull small crabgrass patches to remove roots and prevent spreading seeds. With some persistence, you can gain the upper hand on crabgrass through cultural practices that favor grass over weeds.

How to Identify Crabgrass

How to Identify Crabgrass
Look here, that sneaky crabgrass spreading like an infection across your beautiful lawn. Crabgrass has adapted to sneak into your turf by varying color from light green to purplish, blending in before taking over.

It stays dormant in soil for years before conditions are right and tolerates low soil pH levels down to 5.5 that favor its growth. Once the soil reaches 55°F, it germinates and grows rapidly in summer.

Regular mowing traps crabgrass, stopping it from going to seed. But by mid-summer, bare clumps of crabgrass become obvious as surrounding grass thins out. Eliminate crabgrass as soon as you spot it to prevent its thousands of seeds from sprouting next year.

How to Remove Crabgrass From Your Lawn

How to Remove Crabgrass From Your Lawn
Getting rid of crabgrass requires a multi-pronged approach. You will need to use a chemical treatment on any remaining crabgrass, manually remove established plants, and properly dispose of the pulled weeds to prevent the spread of seeds.

By combining herbicide application with thorough hand-weeding and cleanup, you will be able to successfully remove crabgrass from your lawn this season.

Using a Chemical Treatment

You’d better annihilate that cursed crabgrass before it conquers your entire lawn! When using herbicides for crabgrass, proper application and timing are crucial for short-term effectiveness. Follow label instructions carefully to maximize results while minimizing environmental impact.

Apply pre-emergent in early spring before the soil temperature hits 55°F to prevent crabgrass from sprouting. Spot treat existing weeds for removal. Fertilize your lawn regularly to choke out crabgrass and nourish healthy grass.

Manual Removal Techniques

Pulling crabgrass by hand removes the roots and stops seed production. Target individual plants growing in your lawn’s partial sun and summer heat. Insert a garden weeder near the center, pry up and remove the entire plant. Check for and preserve any earthworms disturbed.

Bag and trash the crabgrass to contain spreading seeds and roots. Cover bare spots with mulch to smother regrowth until new grass fills.

Proper Disposal of Removed Crabgrass

After yanking those crabby clumps, you’d best bag them up quick as a bunny or they’ll spread like wildfire. Seal removed crabgrass in heavy bags or buckets to prevent seeds from spreading. Cover the disposal bag or bucket with a tarp while transporting to block wind. Store sealed containers in a cool area until garbage day because they still contain live seeds ready to sprout at the first chance.

How to Prevent Crabgrass in Your Lawn

How to Prevent Crabgrass in Your Lawn
When it comes to preventing crabgrass in your lawn, you’ll want to focus on proactive lawn care measures such as using pre-emergent herbicides, mowing at a higher height, regularly feeding your grass, and watering deeply.

By taking preventative steps in early spring before the soil temperature reaches 55°F, you can prevent crabgrass seeds from germinating and taking over your lawn. Adjusting your mowing height, fertilizing schedule, and irrigation techniques now will help you grow a lush, healthy lawn that is resistant to crabgrass invasion.

Using Pre-Emergent Herbicides

You’ll stop crabgrass before it starts by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring when soil temperatures hit 55. Monitor soil temperature and apply pre-emergent when the ground starts waking up.

Multiple treatments may be needed as the protection wears off after 60-90 days. Reapply until the ground hardens in late spring to prevent germination all season. Pre-emergent forms a barrier, stopping seeds from sprouting when conditions are right.

Adjusting Mowing Height

You’d better mow your lawn around 3 inches tall to help shade out and prevent crabgrass seed germination. Adjusting your mowing height is key. Mow frequently, keeping the grass 2-3 inches tall. This shades the soil, inhibiting crabgrass seeds. Sharp blades cut cleanly. Leave clippings to compost.

Regularly Feeding Your Lawn

Don’t you know that regular fertilization grows a lush lawn that crowds out crabgrass?

  • Apply a balanced fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.
  • Follow label directions carefully to avoid burning the grass.
  • Alternate between fast and slow-release formulas for steady feeding.

Avoid too much nitrogen, which promotes weeds. Mow the grass to a height of 3 inches so that it shades the soil. Water deeply, around 1 inch per week. Thick turf resists crabgrass from invading bare spots.

Deep Watering Techniques

You need to water your lawn deeply and infrequently to help the grass develop a deep root system that will choke out crabgrass before it can even get started. Aim to water your lawn about an inch per week, preferably in one or two deep waterings.

This forces the grass roots to grow down deeper into the soil instead of spreading out near the surface where crabgrass thrives. Consider installing an irrigation system on a timer or setting up sprinklers that encourage thorough, infrequent watering.

Understanding the Life Cycle of Crabgrass

Understanding the Life Cycle of Crabgrass
Now that you’ve prevented new crabgrass from invading, it’s time to break the life cycle of existing plants. Crabgrass is an annual that germinates when soil temperatures hit 55 degrees. It grows rapidly in summer’s heat, spreading thousands of seeds before dying off when cooler temperatures arrive in fall.

You’ve got to disrupt its life cycle. Pull plants before they spread seeds and continue prevention measures like pre-emergents in spring. With some diligence each season, you’ll break the crabgrass life cycle for good.

Focus on growing thick, competitive turf so your lawn withstands this summertime invader.

How to Treat Poa Annua Weeds

How to Treat Poa Annua Weeds
You’d kill two birds with one stone by using the same pre-emergent herbicides for poa annua that you’d use for crabgrass when the soil’s still cool in early spring before it reaches 55°F.

  • Time pre-emergent application for early spring when soil is below 55°F to prevent seeds from germinating.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide again in the fall to stop new poa annua growth.
  • Use prodiamine, dithiopyr, or pendimethalin, which prevent seeds from sprouting.
  • Spot treat any existing poa annua patches with post-emergent herbicides like glyphosate.

With proper timing of pre-emergent herbicides in spring and fall, you can prevent poa annua from invading your lawn just like crabgrass.

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn to Prevent Crabgrass

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn to Prevent Crabgrass
To prevent crabgrass in your lawn this summer, allow the grass to grow 2-3 inches tall to shade the soil and deprive crabgrass seeds of sunlight. When removing existing crabgrass, be sure to bag the weeds to prevent seed spread.

Pulling crabgrass by hand removes the root system completely. Also, fertilize your lawn every 6-8 weeks for thick, lush grass and practice deep, weekly watering for deeper roots and thicker turf. These lawn care tips will help you maintain a healthy lawn and prevent future crabgrass infestations.

Allowing Grass to Grow Longer

Letting the grass grow a little longer creates shady conditions that help prevent those pesky crabgrass seeds from germinating in your lawn. Set your mower to 3 inches or higher, based on your grass type, to keep the soil cooler and block sunlight from reaching dormant weed seeds.

The slight change makes a visible difference in preventing a summer crabgrass takeover.

Preventing Seed Distribution

Bagging up pulled crabgrass will help contain those nasty seeds from spreading in your yard.

  1. Seal bags tightly after pulling plants to prevent windborne seeds.
  2. Dispose of sealed bags in the trash, not the compost pile.
  3. Wear gloves when handling to avoid spreading seeds on clothes.
  4. Wash gloves after pulling crabgrass to prevent further spread.

Crabgrass spreads thousands of seeds before dying each year. Blocking wind and animal spread prevents future infestations.

Removing Crabgrass by Hand

Digging up those pesky weeds by the roots keeps your lawn crabgrass-free. Focus on removing large clusters before they spread further. Time treatments just as new sprouts emerge for easy pulling. Properly dispose of crabgrass in sealed bags so seeds don’t spread.

Containing the seeds is crucial. With some elbow grease and quick action, you’ll be crabgrass-free in no time.

Proper Lawn Fertilization

You’re fertilizing the lawn every 6-8 weeks with a balanced fertilizer to help the grass grow thick and strong, crowding out those pesky crabgrass weeds. Get the timing right by testing your soil pH first – too much fertilizer actually feeds the weeds! Mow regularly to prevent thatch buildup and overseed bare spots for a lush, healthy lawn that chokes out crabgrass before it sprouts.

Watering Best Practices

You’d be smart to deeply soak your lawn just once a week, letting those roots really drink down for thicker, greener grass that chokes out weeds. Schedule watering for the early morning before the hot sun dries the grass blades.

Check soil moisture and percolation rate to determine the ideal watering frequency. Adjust watering with the seasons as temperature affects moisture levels. Proper hydration means healthier turf and fewer weeds like troublesome crabgrass.

The Best Weed Killer for Crabgrass

The Best Weed Killer for Crabgrass
Having trouble with those persistent crabgrass weeds invading your lush lawn? Using the right herbicide can nip that prickly problem in the bud, restoring your yard’s glory in no time.

Sick of staring out at a lawn overrun by annoying crabgrass? The most effective way to wipe out those wily weeds is spot-treating with a powerful post-emergent herbicide. If your once-pristine lawn is now more crabgrass than grass, don’t despair – applying a targeted herbicide at just the right time can eliminate those stubborn invaders for good.

Tired of doing battle against the spreading crabgrass hordes in your yard? The best weapon to annihilate that army of weeds is a potent, crabgrass-specific herbicide applied at the first sign of sprouts.

  1. Apply herbicide on a calm, sunny day to maximize absorption.
  2. Use a targeted post-emergent crabgrass killer, not a general weed control.
  3. Spot treat weeds instead of blanketing the entire lawn.
  4. Read and follow all label instructions carefully.

The key to vanquishing a crabgrass infestation is using the right herbicide properly to free your lawn from those prickly invaders.

Alternative Control Methods for Crabgrass

Alternative Control Methods for Crabgrass
You’re looking for ways to get rid of crabgrass without using chemicals. Two effective options are using mulch to smother crabgrass and blocking sunlight from reaching crabgrass with physical objects. Both approaches stop photosynthesis, weakening the crabgrass until it dies – an eco-friendly solution that utilizes common household items.

Using Mulch to Smother Crabgrass

Lay down a thick mulch layer over the areas where crabgrass tries to grow before the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees to keep it from ever sprouting. Use 3-4 inches of mulch to block sunlight and absorb moisture before crabgrass seeds germinate.

Vary mulch materials like wood chips, pine needles, or shredded leaves. The thicker the mulch layer, the better it prevents weed growth by disrupting germination conditions.

Blocking Sunlight With Objects

Place overturned plastic planting trays over the crabgrass to smother it by blocking sunlight.

  1. Pick a sunny day when the crabgrass leaves are fully open.
  2. Use trays large enough to fully cover each patch.
  3. Weigh down trays at the edges with a few rocks.

Leaving trays in place deprives the crabgrass of light. Without sunlight for photosynthesis, the plants will die back within 1-2 weeks. Be sure to monitor and remove any trays blown over by wind or rain. Blocking the sun with everyday objects offers an easy, chemical-free way to control crabgrass.

Home Depot Recommendations for Crabgrass Control

Home Depot Recommendations for Crabgrass Control
You’ve removed the crabgrass, now head to Home Depot to grab pre-emergent and grass seed. Diligently seek their expert weed control guidance. The friendly staff readily provides reliable purchase options and handy store tips about crabgrass treatment.

Easily find the products you need. Confidently select the right pre-emergent herbicide and high-quality grass seed for your lawn. With Home Depot’s easy treatment guidance, you’ll have the power to keep crabgrass out and grow lush green grass this season.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is hand-pulling effective for removing crabgrass?

You bet! Hand-pulling is your best bet for total crabgrass annihilation. Yank those pesky weeds out by the roots, leaving nothing behind. With some elbow grease, you’ll be the king of your lawn, ruling over a lush, crabgrass-free kingdom.

How long after treatment will I see results from crabgrass killer products?

You’ll begin seeing results from crabgrass killer products in 3-10 days. The products work by interrupting the plants’ growth hormones, so it takes a few days for the crabgrass to stop thriving and start dying.

Be patient and keep an eye out for new sprouts to spot treat. With persistence, you’ll gain control.

Does applying crabgrass preventer also feed my lawn?

Yes, you can apply crabgrass preventer along with fertilizer to nourish your lawn and help prevent crabgrass at the same time. A robust, healthy lawn can suppress weeds like a dominant lion in its jungle territory.

Seek out combination products that include both pre-emergent herbicide and lawn food to effectively address crabgrass prevention and fertilization in a single application.

Can I spot treat crabgrass without harming my desired grass?

Yes, you can spot treat crabgrass without harming the desired grass. Carefully apply a crabgrass-specific herbicide to individual plants, avoiding contact with the surrounding turf. Follow the label directions for the correct amount of product and safe application.

For optimal results, treat on a calm day to prevent drift onto the good grass. Then, reseed the treated areas so that the desirable grass can fill in.

When is the best time to sow new grass seed after crabgrass removal?

You’ll want to sow new grass seed after crabgrass removal in early fall when soil temperatures drop below 70°F. This allows the grass to establish before winter dormancy without competing against heat-loving crabgrass.


In closing, after ridding your lawn of crabgrass, take steps to promote a fertile, vibrant turf. A healthy lawn, mowed to the proper height and watered appropriately, will help crowd out future crabgrass.

Your grass should thrive through spring and choke out new crabgrass before it sprouts. While only 10% of weed seeds may germinate each year, stopping new growth prevents a crabgrass explosion. With some thoughtful care, you’ll keep your lawn crabgrass-free and enjoy the fruits of your labor all season long.

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.