Crabgrass is a very common grassy weed that grows in the US and it’s one that many people have trouble getting rid of. Crabgrass will invade and take over a turf especially if it’s weak. So in this article we’ll demonstrate you how you can identify crabgrass and control it for the seasons to come.
Crabgrass will not only ruin the look of your lawn that’ll actually crowd and choke out your desirable turf grass, stealing essential nutrients, water and sunlight. It’s easy to mistake other grasses for crabgrass especially if your turf contains patches of different species. So it’s important that we identify crabgrass correctly because some products will work on crabgrass where others won’t.
Crabgrass can be very difficult to get rid of because even after mowing they can release hundreds of thousands of seeds. So we’ll go over how you can identify crabgrass and what you can do to get rid of it and some lawn care tips to help you keep it away.
4 Easy steps to get rid of crabgrass in the lawn
1. Identification of the crabgrass
Crabgrass is a grassy weed. So like the name suggests it looks like grass. Crabgrass stems and grass blades grow in clusters with the stems growing outward.
Crabgrass actually gets its name because after the stems have grown out they’ll look similar to crab legs from above. When crabgrass sprouts it’ll take on light green color and it will darken as it matures. Some varieties of crabgrass even take on a purplish color towards the base of the stem.
2. Inspection of lawn
Now that you know what crabgrass looks like you need to inspect your lawn to see where it’s growing. This will help you focus your area of treatment but will also give you some insight as to why the weed is growing there in the first place.
Crabgrass will grow in areas that see plenty of Sunlight. Generally, crabgrass does not grow in shaded areas. So check the parts of your lawn that are exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day.
Crabgrass will grow better where there is little to no turf grass, this weed thrives when it has less competition. This is why it’s important to make sure that your turfgrass is healthy, which we’ll get to in a little bit.
It’s also a good idea to get an accurate reading of your soil temperature. Crabgrass seeds will sprout once the soil temperature has been about 55 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three days.
3. Treatment program to get rid of crabgrass
Before starting any herbicide treatment always wear your personal protective equipment or PPE and keep all people and pets off the treated areas until dry.
The typical treatment program for crabgrass is more focused on prevention and pre-emergent herbicides. But if you already have some crabgrass established in your lawn then you’ll want to get rid of it using a post-emergent herbicide.
Post-emergent herbicides are weed killers that are used to kill weeds that are established in lawns. For an effective crabgrass killer use Quinclorac 75 DF.
Quinclorac 75 DF is a selective post-emergent herbicide used to treat crabgrass in a variety of other weeds. This is a dry flowable herbicide so that just means it’s going to be in a dry formulation to be mixed with water and sprayed with a sprayer.
Since this is a selective herbicide that means it can be sprayed in certain turf types and it’ll target the weed while leaving the grass unharmed.
Before using Quinclorac it’s very important that you know which turf type you have because this product can be used on certain turf types where it can’t be used on others.
Quinclorac is labeled for use in many cool-season types of grass-like bluegrasses, ryegrasses, or fescues. Warm-season grasses like st. Augustine, Bahia grass, and centipede grass are susceptible and less tolerant to Quinclorac applications and may be damaged or killed.
So if you live in a warm-season grass region with grasses like st. Augustine, we do not recommend using Quinclorac.
To treat established crabgrass we’re going to use Quinclorac with a pump sprayer and do spot treatments. But before applying we’re going to make sure that we don’t mow two days before or after the application. This will help make the application more effective and will prevent damaging the grass.
Use the labeled mix rate of 0.367 ounces of product in 1 gallon of water. A solution of one gallon of water and product will usually treat up to 1000 sq ft.
To mix the solution add half the water into the pump sprayer and then add the proper amount of product, close your sprayer and shake it to agitate. Open your sprayer again and add the rest of the water to reach the 1-gallon mark. Close the sprayer and shake again to ensure a thorough mix.
We’re going to apply our solution to individual weeds rather than broadcast it over the entire lawn. We want to spray the weed too wet not to the point of runoff.
Be sure to spray on calm days when temperatures are not too high and when wind speeds are low to minimize drift.
The time to kill may vary base on the ambient temperature. But generally, you should see results in one to two weeks.
For those of you with warm-season grasses honestly, the best way to get rid of it without damaging your grass is to simply pull up the weed.
Use a small garden trowel or a spade to dig around the weed to find its roots. Crabgrass has fibrous roots that are white and are very shallow.
Once you’ve located the weeds roots loosen the soil around it and dig it out make sure that you dig out the entire root system, if any roots remain in the soil the crabgrass will grow back.
Those are some of the ways that you can get rid of crabgrass once it’s established on your lawn. But really the best practice is prevention.
Preventing weed growth in the first place will make it much easier to control as the season goes on. To prevent crabgrass from going into on we’re going to use a pre-emergent herbicide like a barricade.
Barricade is a granular pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent crabgrass and other weeds from sprouting and it can be safely used on both warm and cool-season types of grass.
Because barricade is a pre-emergent herbicide it must be applied before the weed seeds have germinated and sprouted. So you’ll want to apply a barricade early in the season generally in the springtime before soil temperatures reach 55 degrees for several days in a row.
Barricade pre-emergent herbicide is a granular formulation so unlike the Quinclorac we’re actually going to broadcast this over our entire lawn.
To apply barricade you’ll first want to measure the square feet of your lawn by measuring the length and width and multiplying them together.
Depending on your turf type you’ll use a barricade at a rate of 1.5 to 4 pounds per thousand square feet. Be sure to check the label for the exact rates for your turf type. Because barricade is a granular formulation we’re going to apply it like a fertilizer.
First measure out the proper amount of barricade you’ll need and load it into your spreader. Broadcasts half your granules in parallel lines once across your area then broadcast the other half at a perpendicular angle to cover the area in its entirety almost like a checkerboard.
Once the product is fully applied water it in. Most effective control can be achieved with at least half an inch of water within 14 days of application. This is important because the water will actually push the granules down deep into the soil where the weed seeds will be.
Along with pre-emergent herbicides, a good way to prevent crabgrass is to make sure that your turfgrass is healthy enough to choke them out. Crabgrass does not grow well when there’s strong competition, so here are some basic lawn care tips to keep your lawn healthy.
Basic lawn care tips to get rid of crabgrass
Be sure to mow your grass to the proper height. Your grass blades should be about 3 to 4 inches tall. Taller grass encourages deep root growth which leads to a healthy lawn. Adjust your mower accordingly.
Be sure to perform routine maintenance on your lawnmower to make sure it’s in good shape. Don’t forget to change out the oil and make sure that the blades are sharp.
Also, be sure that you water your lawn properly it’s always best to water deeply once or twice a week rather than a little every day.
Your lawn should have one to one and a half inches of water per week, whether by watering it yourself or with rainfall.
Be sure to water in the morning before it gets too hot and when sunshine is low so that the water has a chance to absorb into the soil and doesn’t evaporate.
These tips will help you maintain a healthy and green lawn. So if you liked this how-to guide please share and tell your friends and family about this article.