How to Plant Crabgrass


Crabgrass (scientific name Digitaria sanguinalis) is an annual grass that is usually considered a troublesome weed. This red-stemmed plant gets its name from the Latin words "digit" and "sanguine," which, translated, mean "finger" and "blood." Despite the fact that it's a weed, some people like the appearance of crabgrass in their lawn because it adds color and dimension. Like other grasses, you can plant it by seed. Because it's an annual, you will have to replant it every year. Plant crabgrass seed in the spring or fall.

Step 1

Loosen the top 2 to 3 inches of soil with the hoe. Remove any debris, including stones and leaves.

Step 2

Break up large soil slumps that are more than 2 inches in diameter. Keep small clumps in place. Make sure the planting area is as level as possible, to avoid the pooling of water.

Step 3

Plant crabgrass seed by spreading it out evenly. If you're working with a small planting area, spread it by hand. Use a lawn spreader or a mechanical seeder in bigger areas.

Step 4

Drop about 16 seeds per square inch. This will ensure they get the nutrients they need to grow. Too many per square inch will result in them fighting for room.

Step 5

Drag a thin layer of soil over the seed bed with a rake. Aim for no more than 1/4 inch of dirt over the seeds.

Step 6

Fertilize the crabgrass seeds with a starter fertilizer. It will hold the seeds in place and keep the moisture in the soil. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 7

Water the seed planting area regularly to promote germination. Add water once a day but don't saturate the seeds. Keep up the watering schedule until the crabgrass is 2 inches high.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't use weed killers before or after planting crabgrass seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Crabgrass seeds
  • Hoe
  • Lawn spreader or mechanical seeder
  • Rake
  • Fertilizer


  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Waddell School
  • GreenView
Keywords: crabgrass, plant crabgrass, plant grass

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.