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Removing Crabgrass From a Zoysia Lawn

grass,lawn image by Greg Pickens from

Crabgrass is a perennial weed that's prevalent throughout North America, wreacking havoc in lawns and spreading rapidly if not controlled. Though zoysia lawns are relatively low-maintenance and, if cared for appropriately, too dense for crabgrass to creep in, they are sometimes afflicted with this weed. Remove crabgrass immediately to contain the problem before it gets out of hand.

Use a handheld spade to remove the crabgrass manually. This is ideal for small bunches of crabgrass. Slide the spade under the crabgrass bunch and pull it upward.

Treat your lawn with herbicides for widespread crabgrass removal. Start with a pre-emergent herbicide applied in February before the crabgrass seeds germinate. Chemicals include oryzalin, bensulide and trifluralin. Administer onto your lawn according to the herbicide's label, since toxicity varies by product. These chemicals kill the dormant crabgrass seeds and break the weed's life cycle.

Follow with a post-emergent selective herbicide such as clethodim and fluazifop. This kills any crabgrass plants in your lawn that have already germinated without harming your zoysia.

Maintain your zoysia lawn to prevent a return of the weed. Mow the lawn at the maximum allowable height of 1 inch to help crowd out any other plants. Fertilize the lawn during the summer months of May through August with a standard lawn fertilizer to boost the lawn's vigor and further reduce the chance of crabgrass invasions. Zoysia is a warm season grass and fertilizing at any other time is detrimental--

Zoysia Grass & Crabgrass

Crabgrass is an annual summer grass that is classified as a weed. It is available in many cultivars and hybrids. “ Crabgrass sometimes grows upright but typically grows in a flattened, prostrate habit. The sheath and blades of large crabgrass (sometimes called hairy crabgrass) are covered with dense hairs. During winter dormancy, zoysia grass ceases growing and turns a pale, straw color. Zoysia spreads by stolens and rhizomes and, once established, forms a dense, carpetlike lawn. Zoysia is a slow-growing grass that can take several years to become established unless it is installed as sod. Crabgrass is grown as forage in some areas of the Midwest because it is palatable to livestock and withstands conditions that many cool-weather grasses cannot tolerate.


Non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate are sometimes recommended against crabgrass, but such products are systemic and will kill both the weeds and your zoysia lawn.

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