How to Get Rid of Crabgrass in Your Lawn Quickly and Effectively (2023)

Are you tired of crabgrass ruining the pristine appearance of your lawn? You’re not alone. Crabgrass is a pesky weed that can quickly take over your lawn if not dealt with properly. But fear not, because we’re here to help you learn how to get rid of crabgrass quickly and effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various methods of crabgrass removal, from natural techniques to chemical control, as well as preventive lawn care practices. So let’s dive in and reclaim your lawn from the clutches of crabgrass!

Short Summary

  • Understanding crabgrass and proper lawn care are key to preventing its growth.
  • Natural methods such as hand-pulling, baking soda solution, and corn gluten meal application can be used for removal.
  • Chemical control of crabgrass is a last resort. Regular mowing, fertilizing & watering help prevent growth while professional services may be necessary in unmanageable cases.

Understanding Crabgrass


Crabgrass is a stubborn weed that thrives in difficult environments. It often germinates in areas where lawn grass is thinning, allowing direct sunlight to reach the soil.

While there are several methods to eradicate crabgrass, such as manual removal, weed killers, or professional lawn care services, it’s essential to remember that the most effective defense against crabgrass is a well-maintained lawn.

Identifying Crabgrass

Crabgrass is an annual weed that typically grows in compacted soil where the grass is in a weakened state. This pesky invader has rough, yellow-green foliage and grows in clumps, which resemble the shape of a crab or an array of soldiers on a battlefield.

To prevent crabgrass from taking over your lawn, it’s crucial to identify it early and take action. Applying a crabgrass preventer in the spring can be an effective way to inhibit its growth. However, make sure to consult the product label before applying a pre-emergent herbicide, especially if you plan to sow new grass seed.

Life Cycle of Crabgrass

Understanding the life cycle of crabgrass is essential for effective removal. Soil temperatures need to be between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit for crabgrass germination during early spring. The seeds should be planted approximately three inches below the surface. It naturally dies off in the fall annually, but not before producing numerous seeds that can germinate the following year. To effectively control crabgrass, it’s best to remove it early in the season before the plants form seeds.

For the best results, apply crabgrass preventers in early to mid-spring, prior to the emergence of crabgrass. Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food is recommended for preventing crabgrass and nourishing your lawn. If you are seeding new grass, consider using Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action Built For Seeding, which protects new grass from crabgrass and other weeds.

Natural Methods for Crabgrass Removal


If you prefer natural methods for crabgrass removal, consider the hand-pulling technique, baking soda solution, and corn gluten meal application. Each of these methods offers an eco-friendly way to rid your lawn of crabgrass without resorting to chemicals.

Depending on the severity of your crabgrass infestation, you may need to combine these natural methods with other lawn care practices for optimal results.

Hand-Pulling Technique

The hand-pulling technique is a simple, natural method for eliminating crabgrass. Using a claw weeder, like the recommended Fiskars 39″ 4-Claw Weeder, you can uproot crabgrass plants from your lawn.

Keep in mind that manually removing crabgrass may cause slight damage to your lawn, but a healthy lawn will recover quickly.

Baking Soda Solution

Another natural option for crabgrass removal is the baking soda solution, which involves mixing baking soda with water or vinegar. The solution works by causing desiccation and wilting of the crabgrass leaves through the absorption of water from the plant’s tissue.

Be cautious when using the baking soda solution, as it can eliminate any vegetation it comes in contact with. Apply it only to individual patches of crabgrass, avoiding widespread infestations.

Corn Gluten Meal Application

Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent substance that can inhibit the growth of various grassy and broadleaf weeds, including crabgrass. Applying 20 pounds of corn gluten meal per 1,000 square feet can help prevent crabgrass growth and serve as a natural alternative to chemical herbicides.

Keep in mind that manual removal, rather than using herbicides, is the most effective way to eradicate crabgrass and perennial weed grasses.

Chemical Control of Crabgrass

For those seeking a more aggressive approach to crabgrass control, chemical methods are available. Pre-emergent herbicides, post-emergent herbicides, and selective herbicides are all options for targeting and eliminating crabgrass.

Remember that chemical control should be used with caution and as a last resort, especially when natural methods and proper lawn care practices have been exhausted.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Pre-emergent herbicides are chemicals applied to the soil before weed seed germination, forming a chemical barrier that prevents the seeds from sprouting. These herbicides work by disrupting the germination process, causing the seeds to perish upon absorption.

Pre-emergent herbicides should be applied in the spring for optimal results. This action should take place before crabgrass has had a chance to germinate. Products like Syngenta Tenacity Turf Herbicide are effective choices for cool-season grasses. Be sure to monitor soil temperature, as this is an essential factor for the effectiveness of pre-emergent herbicides.

Post-Emergent Herbicides

Post-emergent herbicides target actively growing weeds in your lawn. To effectively control crabgrass, use selective post-emergent products containing Quinclorac. These herbicides are designed to target crabgrass without harming the surrounding grass, making them an ideal solution for those dealing with stubborn crabgrass infestations.

Quinclorac is a powerful post-emergent herbicide that can be used to control crabgrass and other weeds. It is important to read.

Selective Herbicides and Spot Treatment

Selective herbicides, such as triclopyr and 2,4-D, are formulated to target specific plant species while leaving others unaffected. Using these herbicides for spot treatment can help control crabgrass in limited areas without damaging the rest of your lawn.

However, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product label and take necessary safety precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and avoiding contact with skin and eyes.

Lawn Care Practices to Prevent Crabgrass Growth

A well-maintained lawn can discourage crabgrass growth and make it difficult for the weed to thrive. By implementing proper mowing techniques, fertilizing and feeding your lawn, and employing efficient watering methods, you can create a lush, healthy lawn that keeps crabgrass at bay.

Prevention is always better than cure, so focusing on these lawn care practices can save you time and effort in dealing with crabgrass infestations.

Proper Mowing Techniques

To discourage crabgrass growth, mow your lawn regularly with a sharp blade at one of the top two settings on your mower. Mowing at the proper height allows for longer roots to grow, enabling them to access moisture more easily and promoting a healthier lawn.

A well-maintained lawn can effectively impede the germination and growth of crabgrass by obstructing the weed and making it difficult to thrive.

Fertilizing and Feeding Your Lawn

Fertilizing and feeding your lawn is essential for providing the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Regular fertilizer applications, such as Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food, can help your lawn stay thick and lush, making it less inviting to weeds like crabgrass.

A well-fertilized lawn can also deter pests and improve the overall appearance of your outdoor space.

Efficient Watering Methods

Watering your lawn efficiently can also help prevent crabgrass growth. It’s advised to water deeply but infrequently, as this promotes deeper root development and helps the grass become thicker, outcompeting weeds like crabgrass.

By monitoring the weather and adjusting your watering schedule accordingly, you can provide your lawn with just the right amount of moisture it needs to thrive.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, crabgrass infestations can become unmanageable. In such cases, it’s essential to know when to seek professional help. Patches of coarse, discolored-looking grass, leaves that are lighter in color, and matted or clumped residue may suggest an unmanageable crabgrass infestation.

If you believe your crabgrass infestation has become too severe for DIY methods, it’s time to consider professional assistance.

Signs of Unmanageable Crabgrass Infestation

Keep an eye out for signs of severe crabgrass infestation, such as patches of grass that appear coarse and discolored or leaves that are lighter in hue. These indications suggest that crabgrass has spread too much and is difficult to control.

If your lawn exhibits these symptoms, it might be time to seek professional help to reclaim your lawn from crabgrass.

Choosing the Right Lawn Care Service

When selecting a lawn care service for crabgrass removal, consider the specific requirements of your lawn, the quality of the services provided, the company’s reputation, and the cost of the services. A professional lawn care service can assess your lawn’s needs and provide tailored treatments to not only eliminate crabgrass but also maintain the overall health of your lawn.

With the right help, you can finally enjoy a lush, crabgrass-free lawn.


In conclusion, getting rid of crabgrass in your lawn is achievable through a combination of natural methods, chemical control, and proper lawn care practices. From hand-pulling techniques to selective herbicides, there’s a solution for every level of crabgrass infestation. Remember that prevention is key, and maintaining a healthy lawn can do wonders in keeping crabgrass at bay. Armed with the knowledge in this guide, you’re now ready to tackle crabgrass head-on and reclaim your lawn’s beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will kill crabgrass but not grass?

The best way to kill actively growing crabgrass in your lawn is to apply a selective post-emergent herbicide, such as Scotts® Spot Weed Control – For Lawns or Ortho® Weed B Gon® Plus Crabgrass Control, that kills crabgrass while leaving grass unharmed.

How do you get rid of crabgrass permanently?

To get rid of crabgrass permanently, you should soak the soil, pull out existing crabgrass, add compost, topseed with turf grass seed, keep the soil moist, switch to deep watering, and mow the new grass.

Weed as needed to ensure that no new crabgrass grows.

Does mowing crabgrass spread it?

Mowing your lawn is an essential part of keeping it healthy and looking its best. However, taking care when mowing can help to limit the spread of crabgrass. Crabgrass produces a large number of seeds, which can be spread with every mowing or rake of the lawn, making the existing problem worse.

Taking appropriate precautions when mowing is advisable if you have signs of crabgrass in your lawn.

What will kill crabgrass but not grass?

Herbicides containing Quinclorac are an effective way to get rid of crabgrass without harming the grass. Vinegar and citrus-based solutions can be used to kill crabgrass but may damage surrounding grass.

Make sure to properly identify the weed in question before applying any form of herbicide.

How do I fix crabgrass infestation in my lawn?

To effectively manage crabgrass, take steps to prevent it in the first place. Mow your lawn at the highest level allowed and rake up any dead grass clippings. This will help reduce the chances of crabgrass taking hold.

For existing infestations, manually remove the weeds, apply pre-emergence herbicide, and fill in any bare spots with grass seed.

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