The Best Way to Get Rid of Crabgrass


Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that sets seed and dies in the autumn of each year, and often is found in lawns that have poorly maintained soil and turf, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Crabgrass weed begins germinating when the soil is 60 degrees F for three to four days at the quarter-inch level of topsoil. It spreads seeds in July before dying off in the fall. Early cultivation and chemical control of the weed is essential to prevent new crabgrass in the next year.

Step 1

Mow the lawn to a height of 2-1/2 to 3 inches, never removing more than one-third of the blade at a time.

Step 2

Water the lawn to wet the soil to the depth of rooting, which depends on the main grass variety in the lawn. In turf grass, the lawn will turn bluish gray and footprints will appear when walked on if not watered enough.

Step 3

Apply 2 to 4 lbs. of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet per year, once in September and again in November. Avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn during the summer as this makes crabgrass more resistant to control.

Step 4

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide such as bensulide or pendimethalin around the last three weeks of April or the beginning of March to kill crabgrass seed. Apply according to the directions on the label.

Step 5

Spray a post-emergent herbicide such as MSMA or quinclorac to crabgrass on rain-free, no-wind days. Apply directly to the crabgrass area to prevent spraying desirable plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Mower
  • Fertilizer
  • Herbicide


  • Purdue and University of Illinois Extension: Control of Crabgrass in Home Lawns
  • Colorado State University Extension: Control of Annual Grassy Weeds
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension: Crabgrass Control
  • Ohio State University: Annual Grass Weed Control in Home Lawns
Keywords: crabgrass control, rid of crabgrass, grassy weed control

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.