Suggestions on Controlling Crabgrass in Your Lawn

— Written By Bill Hanlin and last updated by JoAnne Gryder

crabgrassCrabgrass is one of those weeds that is very common in area lawns. Since it is a grass like fescue or bluegrass it may be difficult to control without hurting your lawn. Crabgrass can be controlled by using a variety of methods.

Crabgrass sprouts from seeds beginning in spring when the soil temperature reaches around 50 degrees F. As the plant grows, it forms roots at stem nodes called tillers. One crabgrass plant can form up to 700 tillers and produce 150,000 seeds.

Homeowners have a couple of options when trying to control crabgrass with herbicides. Many lawn and garden centers will sell different weed killers that can help control crabgrass in the landscape. When purchasing a crabgrass killer it is important to know if you are buying a pre-emergent or post-emergent product.

Pre-emergent herbicides are applied before the crabgrass seeds germinate, but you do not want to apply it too early. One rule of thumb is to apply the pre-emergent about the time that dogwoods bloom, which is right now. If you do not properly time a pre-emergent application then you will not get the control you want.

A couple of herbicides are called post-emergent weed killers and are applied after crabgrass has emerged in the spring,. In most cases, these weed killers work best on young plants and may have very little effect on mature crabgrass. Make sure to read the label on these herbicides since they can also damage your lawn if not properly applied.

Do not think you have won the war if you are successful in controlling crabgrass this summer. Crabgrass seeds can remain dormant in the soil for years, so repeated yearly applications may be necessary