Lawn Fertilizer and Crabgrass


Both time and effort are necessary in maintaining plush green lawns. Grasses need to be fed, watered, and protected from multiple environmental threats. Grass weeds are exceptionally dangerous to an otherwise healthy lawn. Crabgrass, for instance, can drain the resources and crowd out wanted grasses. Proper fertilization practices will help keep grass weeds at bay, extending the life and vitality of your lawn.


Crabgrass is an invasive, fast-growing grass that will steal resources from nearby grasses, causing deficiency. Since well-rooted turf is much more likely to prevent invasions, fertilization is absolutely necessary. Crabgrass is a very common weed that many gardeners constantly fight to control. Smooth crabgrass and hairy crabgrass are the two most common varieties found in the North American region.

Traditional Fertilization

Traditional fertilizers are typically manufactured from synthesized components that offer both slow-release fertilization over time and quick-release nutrients. When properly used, they pose little threat to the environment and are often more cost-effective compared to various organic counterparts. Inorganic fertilizers are available at most gardening centers around the country. The goal of these fertilizers is to provide the three major macronutrients that all plants need for proper, sustained growth. These nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A balanced mixture of nutrients provided to the environment will help grasses develop fully, which can crowd out various invasive weeds.

Organic Fertilizers

Natural organic lawn fertilizers are able to provide adequate nutrition to the lawn environment. They are designed from animal manure and organic compounds that typically release nutrients slowly into the soil, providing nutrition for longer periods of time and allowing more control for most gardeners. These fertilizers are considered safer for the nearby environment and will not bring accidental chemical runoff into local water systems.

Herbicide Mix

A number of fertilizers combine fertilization and weed control into one product. These herbicidal mixes must be used with extreme caution around pets and children but can prevent and fight off the growth of weeds within the lawn. You must avoid these products for certain grasses that are particularly susceptible to shoot growth at the expense of roots. Otherwise the health of your lawn will be adversely affected. According to Nick Christians Scotts, author of "Lawns," grasses such as zoysia and bluegrass will utilize the chemicals within these particular fertilizer-herbicide products to expand leaf growth. Unfortunately, the resources spent also weaken the plant's root systems, making it easier for weeds to spread throughout the lawn.

Herbicide Tips

A number of alternative herbicides will help reduce the seed production and emergence of crabgrass within the garden. Corn gluten, for instance, is sometimes used as a safe pre-emergent for invasive weeds. Also look for herbicides that are selective towards crabgrass, to protect the rest of the lawn from potential herbicide damage. Carefully apply all herbicides by strictly following the manufacturer guidelines found on the product package.

Keywords: crabgrass weed control, common herbicide troubleshoot, lawn maintenance basics

About this Author

Jonathan Budzinski started his writing career in 2007. His work appears on websites such as eHow and WordGigs. Budzinski specializes in nonprofit topics, as he spent two years with Basic Rights Oregon and WomanSpace. He has received recognition as a Shining Star Talent Scholar in English while studying English at the University of Oregon.