Crabgrass Removal

Top 10 Tips For Crabgrass Removal

The need for crabgrass removal is something that nearly every homeowner can relate to.  This lawn weed presents itself annually during the warm season, reproducing by seed.  For some people, herbicides are the only option while for others, preventative measures are all that are needed to maintain a lush, fabulous looking lawn all season long.

General Tips

  1. Crabgrass removal begins with prevention.  Keep your grass thick because crabgrass cannot take root if the sunlight is not able to reach the soil.
  1. Do not get over ambitious when you are mowing your lawn.  Keep your lawn about three inches high at all times so that the soil does not see sunlight.
  1. As soon as you see crabgrass, you must take the time to remove it immediately.  These weeds are very fertile and can spread remarkably fast.
  1. After crabgrass removal, mulch the soil so that the sunlight cannot get to the bare areas.
  1. Before you remove the crabgrass, water heavily.  If the dirt is damp it will be loosened so that the roots can be completely removed without breaking.


  1. Aim to remove the whole root of the weed.  Crabgrass will grow wherever the roots touch the soil.
  1. Avoid using chemicals unless absolutely necessary because other plants will be vulnerable to them.
  1. If you do use pre-emergent chemicals, be cautious of your timing.  If you use it too late there is a good chance that you will already have crabgrass and if you apply it nearly it may wear off before it is needed.
  1. When exposing yourself to harsh chemicals, always wear gloves so your hands are well protected.  Additionally, it is a good idea to wear protective eye wear as well and be sure that there are no pets or children around.
  1. Accept the fact that you may not be able to get every bit of crabgrass so, get what you can and try to enjoy your lawn.  You can always fight the battle again next season.

Organic Crabgrass Removal

At all costs, the goal is to avoid using chemicals for crabgrass removal.  While herbicides will kill the weeds, controlling the situation will promote a healthy lawn.  It is recommended to fertilize heavier in the autumn, not the spring because by this time, any left over crabgrass will have been killed by the frost.  Also, in the fall, you should fill any bare spots by over-seeding.

When To Apply Herbicides

If it comes down to needing herbicides, it is helpful to understand the life cycle of this weed.  In the spring when the soil hits 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it is an ideal environment for the seeds of crabgrass to germinate.  The middle of summer until the fall, seeds are produced and then in the autumn the plants are killed but not the seeds.

Herbicides are purchased in either liquid or granular form and they work by killing the seeds while they germinate.  Their job is to kill the crabgrass before the seedlings have the opportunity to emerge.  Therefore, crabgrass removal is all about timing.

Pre-emergent herbicides need to be applied before germination however, not too far in advance.  The best way to judge the perfect time is to apply the herbicides just prior to the lilac bushes blooming.

Herbicide Application Tips

There are actually herbicides that can be applied after the weeds have germinated however, they only kill young plants which can be quite difficult to find in the lawn.