Fight Crabgrass With A Healthy Lawn
Fight crabgrass most effectively by shading it out with a thick, healthy lawn. A thick lawn provides a dark canopy of grass blades over the seeds, so they wont sprout.
Thoroughly water your lawn once a week to encourage the grasss root system to go deeper, making the whole lawn more hardy and heat tolerant. Avoid short, frequent waterings. These sips will promote a shallow, weaker root system in your lawn.
Keep your lawn mowed to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Mowing it shorter than 2 inches will reduce the grasss vitality and give weeds a chance to move in. Be sure to keep your lawn mower blades sharp so they wont tear the grass. Leave grass clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer.
Reduce compaction. Weeds thrive in areas where compacted soil deprives the grass roots of the air and water circulation they need. If your yard is prone to compaction, rent and run an aerator over it every other year, especially if your soil contains a lot of clay.
Avoid lawn fertilizers that say quick green-up on the label. These have excessive nitrogen ingredients that will actually weaken your lawn over time, making it more susceptible to weeds. Instead, select a fertilizer product with half of its nitrogen in a slow-release form. For a 1,000-sq.-ft. lawn, use less than 3 lbs. of nitrogen annually.
Reseed as needed. Weed-damaged or thin areas should be seeded in the fall, when the days are warm, the nights are cool and you have dew in the mornings.
Some Options To Eliminate Crabgrass Naturally
For homeowners wanting a more natural approach to eliminate crabgrass, there are a couple of non-chemical options. These methods are more environmentally sustainable but may take longer to get rid of the weeds. You can pull weeds by hand or apply corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent.
The first option is to pull crabgrass plants by hand. To make pulling weeds easier and more successful:
- Pull crabgrass plants as soon as you see them. Smaller plants are easier to pull than larger ones.
- Try to remove all of the roots if possible when pulling crabgrass. Grab each plant by the base and pull slowly and steadily upwards.
- Weed just after it rains or water the lawn thoroughly.
- Use a weeding tool such as a hoe or a weed popper.
Manual removal is the most labor-intensive option and may not be feasible for homeowners with physical limitations.
Corn gluten meal can also be used as an alternative to chemical pre-emergents, applied at a standard rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. It is an organic approach that prevents roots from establishing after the seeds germinate.
Using corn gluten meal for crabgrass control isnt as straightforward as chemical options. Timing is critical and impacts the effectiveness considerably. Corn gluten meal may also take more than one application to see the full benefits, and it may not get rid of the crabgrass entirely.
Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
Green Gobbler is a safe and effective weed killer that will eliminate crabgrass in your lawn. It contains 20% acetic acid to kill the roots quickly so you can keep them from coming back again soon! The active ingredients are absorbed by applying it to crabgrass. If used as directed there should only take 24 hours until all traces disappear completely. Completely eliminates and crabgrass without using toxic chemicals. Its made from for and is certified for organic use.
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When To Kill Crabgrass
It helps to familiarize yourself with the plant’s life cycle to effectively eradicate crabgrass. When spring soil temperatures reach 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, crabgrass seeds start to germinate. From mid-summer through fall, the plant produces more seeds in an attempt to increase its numbers. Once the first frost arrives, the plants themselves are killed.
When organic methods are used, gardeners must wait until the seedlings are big enough to hand pull, roots and all. While crabgrass doesn’t spread via its roots, it’s still essential to remove the whole plant in the spring before amending the soil and reseeding.
Pre-emergent herbicides come in either a granular or a liquid form and kill crabgrass seedlings right as they germinate. Think of pre-emergent herbicides as forming an invisible shield across the soil’s surface that stops emerging crabgrass dead in its tracks.
- Seed and fertilizer spreader or weed sprayer
- Organic compost
Leave Your Mower Blade Up
Another way to combat crabgrass from growing is by leaving your mower blade up throughout the summer instead of lowering it as the season gets underway. Yes, this means that youll probably have to cut your grass more often, but its also a great way to ward off crabgrass.
Crabgrass flourishes when it has direct sunlight. In arid climates, it can be difficult for grass and other plants to grow, which means the crabgrass receives direct sunlight. When you leave your mower blade up and leave your grass a little longer, the ground will be shielded from the sun by the taller grass. This will help to keep crabgrass from growing.
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Organic Crabgrass Control Methods
Beyond natural means, there are other organic means that can be used to help control crabgrass. If you need to completely replant your yard, taking black plastic and covering the ground, especially during the hot times of the year, will bake any weed seeds left in your soil and leave them unable to grow.
Another common organic method is using corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent, which will not only control the crabgrass by absorbing moisture away from the seed, but also provides fertilizer for your lawn and landscaping plants.
Like any pre-emergent, it needs to be put down at the right time, just as the chemical pre-emergent treatments above. Scattered at a rate of 10-30 pounds per 1,000 square feet, it provides a 9% nitrogen source that is released slowly into the soil. After application, be sure to water it in well and then allow it to dry to remove the moisture from the crabgrass seeds.
Because of the drying time that is required, corn gluten meal may not work well in areas that have excessive rainfall or have had a very wet spring.
Vinegar, or specifically the acetic acid in it, at more than 6% concentration. Most household vinegar is too low in concentration at 5%, but housecleaning vinegar is closer to 6% concentration. You can also increase the concentration by freeze distillation, basically putting the vinegar in a shallow plastic dish in the freezer, then removing ice crystals using a slotted spoon or skimmer.
Use Baking Soda To Kill Crabgrass Naturally
Baking soda is a phytotoxin and will damage almost any plant leaves it comes in contact with. The phytotoxic effects are presumably due to the sodium content.
Even at % concentration, baking soda can start to kill crabgrass in your lawn. Making a solution out of it may not produce great results on lawn weeds, so the preferred method is to use its powder.
Heres how to get rid of crabgrass naturally by applying baking soda on it.
Caution: Baking soda will kill any plant it will come adequately in contact with. Fescues, Bermuda grass, St. Augustine or even Kentucky Bluegrass lawns will get damaged if you apply baking soda on their leaves.
I would recommend using baking soda on single patches of crabgrass rather than extended invasions. Check out my detailed guide on using baking soda as a weed killer and its side effects here.
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What Helps To Prevent Crabgrass
It is a challenge to eradicate once smooth or hairy crabgrass sprouts, so focusing on prevention is critical. The best way to prevent crabgrass in your yard is to encourage healthy turn growth, so the desired grass crowds out the crabgrass. When your lawn is lush and thick, you will have fewer problems with weeds.
For a healthy lawn:
- Overseed any thin or bare spots to fill patches in with grass.
- Mow grass no lower than 3 in height. This taller height keeps the soil surface shaded from the sunlight and cooler in temperature, helping to see crabgrass seeds from germinating.
- Water the lawn infrequently but deeply versus daily, light irrigation. Watering less frequently promotes deeper root growth, making the grass more drought-tolerant and hardy.
Along with fostering a healthy yard, you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring to prevent crabgrass seedlings from establishing. Unfortunately, they dont always stop the seeds from germinating completely which is a misconception many homeowners have about this type of weed killer but instead, they inhibit shoot or root development so that seedlings cant become established plants.
Vinegar As Natural Crabgrass Killer
One of the most popular homemade weed killers for DIYers everywhere incorporates ingredients like vinegar, dish soap, and table salt. Both the vinegar and salt dry out the weed, while the soap breaks up the surface tension to allow the solution to soak into the plant. This recipe works best on a bright sunny day to speed up the drying out process.
- 1 gallon of white vinegar
- 1 cup of table salt
- 1 tbsp of liquid dish soap
When preparing this DIY natural weed killer, mix the contents in a large bucket but keep a spray bottle nearby for more accessible application to specific weeds.
For the best way to get rid of crabgrass, liberally spray the weed, soaking all the blades of grass with the solution and allowing it to sink deeply into the roots. Use this method once a week as necessary, though you will generally notice results within two days of spraying. Pull up whats left of the weed and add some grass seed to the area to discourage further crabgrass growth.
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Leave The Weed To Die Off Completely
After sprinkling crabgrass with sodium bicarbonate powder, the weeds foliage will start appear white because of the paste. Watch out for the following signs that crabgrass is dying:
- Wilting foliage
- Leaf discoloration leaves will start turning brown or black
- Stunted growth
These are signs that the baking soda weed killer is working and that the crabgrass is dying. Allow enough time for the weed to die off completely before going to the next step.
How To Get Rid Of Crabgrass In A Lawn
Get Rid of Crabgrass and Have A Healthy Lawn
Ever had someone say “I’ll mow your lawn for a case of beer?” Some people like the sound of that. But it’s not all bad news if you’re struggling with crabgrass and want to get rid of it. Crabgrass is a weed that loves to grow in your lawn. Not only does it make the look of your yard bad, but it also can reduce the quality of your grass and cause problems with other plants growing in your garden. Check out these tips on how to kill off crabgrass, so you can enjoy having a healthy lawn again!
Lay the Groundwork
Kill that crabgrass with a few simple steps. Not only will this help keep your lawn looking beautiful, but it is also great for the environment! Follow these steps to get rid of pesky weeds for good.
In a nutshell
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What Does Crabgrass Look Like When It First Comes Up
A light, emerald green color is common for new crabgrass seedlings. This color, and the wide blades, help identify the weed in some lawns. This group of crabgrass seedlings is competing with each other and the lawn. They grow tall first, trying to dominate, before they sprawl out in their typical pattern.
Biological Control Of Crabgrass
Biological control is the use of one organism to control another living organism. In the case of Crabgrass, biological control refers to the use of a fungus to control another fungus .
The fungus Puccinia graminis, known as the rust fungus, is a prevalent fungus that attacks many types of grass. It causes a disease called rust. The fungus attacks the leaves of the plant and causes yellow spots.
Rust is very common, and the fungus may be present in your garden without causing problems. When this fungus attacks the leaves of Crabgrass, however, it forms large, orange, sausage-shaped growths on the leaves.
The fungus also produces structures called sori in the leaf sheaths. These are small, yellow, circular bodies that are surrounded by a dark brown ring. When the sori are mature, the fungus produces spores.
The fungus infects Crabgrass by producing spores. The spores are tiny and light enough to be carried by the wind. Once they land on the plant, they produce a germ tube, a slender structure that grows into the plant and produces an infection.
The fungus produces spores on the leaves, on the stems, and on the heads. They are produced on the leaves from late spring through the fall. The spores are produced on the stems from late spring into the summer and on the heads during the fall.
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Natural Ways To Prevent Crabgrass For Growing In Your Lawn
Crabgrass is a weed the grows annually meaning if you had it the previous year, it will most likely come back this year. By starting preventative measures in the early spring, you can help keep it away all summer. After the first frost, crabgrass will die off and become easy to remove however, that doesnt mean that there arent any crabgrass seeds left beneath the surface of the soil, waiting for spring. Keep reading to see how you can get rid of crabgrass naturally.
- Keep your lawn watered
- Leave your mower blade up
- Get rid of crabgrass seeds by bagging clippings
How To Get Rid Of Crabgrass In Lawn
What a crazy summer its been! If youre living in St. Louis, by now youve probably experienced a few things going on with your lawn: Brown spots , nutsedge , and crabgrass. Does this sound about right?
Even in Dowco lawns weve seen an unusual amount of crabgrass this year. Why? The answer is the same across the board. Heat and rain. Rain. Heat. And more rain with heat…
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Can We Prevent Crabgrass Before It Becomes A Problem
The good news is that yes, we can take specific measures to prevent crabgrass from taking over our lawns. One of the main ways in which you can prevent crabgrass is by maintaining a healthy lawn throughout the year. Crabgrass loves bare, warm soil, so if you can water your lawn and keep it healthy, you reduce the risk of crabgrass popping up in the spring.
Applying nutrient-rich fertiliser regularly to your lawn supports your grasses to grow regardless of the weather and can be an excellent way to offset the arrival of those pesky weeds. Replacing dry patches of lawn with new pieces of turf where possible is also really helpful, as it is from these patches that crabgrass emerges and begins its takeover.
In addition to these natural lawn care methods, you can also prevent the spread of crabgrass by treating your lawn with specific pre-emergent chemicals. However, dont fall into the trap of misusing the chemicals, as this could spell disaster for the health of your lawn in the long-run.
In order for pre-emergent chemicals to be useful, timing is paramount. You need to monitor your soils temperature and only apply the chemicals when the soil is reaching 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature of optimal growth for crabgrass. You then need to apply the chemicals again approximately six weeks later.
There are lots of pre-emergent chemicals on the market, but some of the best include:
What Is Crabgrass
Crabgrass is an annual weed that favors compacted soil where the grass is in a thinned and weakened condition. During the early spring and summer, crabgrass germinates when soil temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees about 3 inches below the surface.
With coarse, yellowish leaves, this weed is easy to spot among the green, fine leaves of turf. Crabgrass grows in bunches, like the arms of a crab, or like troops spread out across a battlefield.
The real concern is the crabgrass growth cycle. A single plant produces as many as 150,000 crabgrass seeds. And these seeds can lie dormant for as long as 30 years.
What this means: Each growing season is just one battle in the ongoing war against crabgrass.
With proper planning and preparation, it is possible to be victorious against crabgrass. While its unlikely you will ever totally sign a peace treaty with this weed, you can control crabgrass and come out of this fight on top.
Read on for your tactical training.
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