Crabgrass can be relentless and frustrating to many homeowners who are trying to keep their yards lush with healthy green grass. In this guide, we’ll dive into what causes crabgrass as well as the best strategies for getting rid of it. Timely action is a very important part of maintaining the healthy appearance of your lawn and we are here to give you the knowledge you need to have the best looking yard on the block. 

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is a type of weed that can start in thin or bare areas of your lawn but quickly spread to the healthier parts of your lawn. It has wiry stems and distinctive seed heads and can actually look like a clump of grass. By understanding the growth habits and the reasons it can appear in your yard is the first step in effectively controlling this nuisance weed. 

a patch of crabgrass, for visual reference
This is what crabgrass looks like

Early Detection and Prevention

The best defense against crabgrass is early detection. Learn to identify the signs of crabgrass and make a plan with preventive measures to discourage its growth and stop the spread. There are lawn care practices that not only discourage crabgrass but also promote the overall health of your lawn. Having a thriving, dense, and healthy lawn will go a long way in preventing weed proliferation. 

Manual Crabgrass Removal Techniques

person wearing gloves to pull weeds from lawn
Crabgrass is a persistent invader but there are effective manual removal techniques that you can use to try and clean up your lawn. Follow these tips step-by-step to successfully remove crabgrass manually. 

Step-by-step Crabgrass Removal

  1. Identify Crabgrass Locations - Identify the areas where crabgrass has started to grow in your lawn. Look for its distinctive wiry stems and low-growing habit. 
  2. Moisten the Soil - Before you try to remove the crabgrass, moisten the soil so that it is easier to pull out the weeds and their roots. By making sure you pull the roots out, you will reduce the chances of regrowth.
  3. Use Gloves or a Weeder Tool - If you are using a weeder, insert the tool into the soil next to the crabgrass clump so that you can gently pry it loose. If using your hands, grab the crabgrass clump entirely and hold it as close to the surface as possible.
  4. Ensure Root Removal - Grab the crabgrass near the soil and pull steadily. Make sure you pull the entire root system to prevent regrowth. If it is a large patch, you may need to do this in multiple sections and repeat these steps.
  5. Dispose of Removed Crabgrass - Place the pulled weeds in a bag as you pull them, rather than tossing it on the grass. This will prevent the potential spread of seeds and minimize the likelihood that the weeds come back into your lawn.
  6. Monitor and Repeat - Keep a close eye on your lawn for any new crabgrass growth. If you see any new sprouts forming, promptly repeat these steps. Consistency will go a long way in preventing crabgrass in the future.

Controlling Crabgrass With Herbicides

TA less labor intensive option for removing crabgrass from your yard is through chemical control. here are two popular types of herbicides: pre-emergent herbicides and post-emergent herbicides. 

Pre-emergent Herbicides

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide before crabgrass seeds germinate. By applying it early, you can form a barrier in your lawn that prevents crabgrass seedling from developing. This is a highly effective method of preventing crabgrass from ever appearing in your lawn. 

Post-emergent Herbicides

If you already see crabgrass growing in your lawn, you need to treat it with a post-emergent herbicide. It will specifically target actively growing weeds but won’t harm the grass in your lawn. It’s a great option if you didn’t pre-treat your lawn or catch crabgrass early in its growth cycle. 

Person spraying lawn with herbicide
A less labor intensive option for removing crabgrass from your yard is through chemical control.

Herbicide Techniques and Safety Tips

If you decide to treat your lawn with pre or post-emergent herbicides, always follow the instructions on the herbicide packaging. Apply pre-emergent herbicides in early spring before temperatures favor crabgrass germination. When temperatures consistently reach 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, crabgrass can begin germinating. When you start to apply herbicide, use a spreader so that you are evenly distributing it throughout the problematic areas. Consistent coverage will maximize the effectiveness.

Always wear protective gear including gloves and eye protection whenever using herbicides. Be mindful of the wind so that you avoid distributing herbicides on plants or flowers in your yard. There are plenty of eco-friendly herbicides available that offer a more greener approach to chemical lawn care. 

a man running his hands through a lush, healthy lawn
With persistence, can have one of the lushest lawns in your neighborhood. 

Crabgrass Prevention Products

Fleet Farm has the tools you need to keep your lawn free of pesky crabgrass. Shop weed killer products from Preen, Gordon’s, Roundup, and much more. Make sure you pick up a spreader or sprayer to ensure even application in your lawn. If you are choosing to pull crabgrass weeds manually, we have a large variety of weeders to help you remove crabgrass at the root. Finally, have protective garden gloves whether you intend on manually pulling crabgrass or if handling pre or post-emergent herbicide. 

mowing a healthy lawn

Mastering the art of crabgrass control doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By retaining the knowledge, remaining pro-active, and always being persistent, you’ll be able to have one of the healthiest yards in your neighborhood.