Skip to main content

How to Deal With Crabgrass in Your Lawn

backyard grass

Unfortunately, crabgrass is a common problem we see here in the Portsmouth, NH area and all over the seacoast region. Crabgrass is a coarse, clumpy ‘grass-like’ weed that grows in the summer and can do a number on your turf. It does this by beating your grass to the punch when it comes to absorbing water and other valuable nutrients.

The good news is that there are several ways of getting rid of it; but most importantly, it’s just best to get out in front of it before it becomes an issue. Here are some ways you can deal with crabgrass if you experience an outbreak on your property.

What does it look like?

There are a few different kinds of crabgrass, but they all share more or less the same characteristics. They look like coarse, light green clumps of grass. The species gets its name large in part because the stems look like a crab’s legs, thus - crabgrass. 

How do I get rid of it?

As is the case with all weeds, your best bet to prevent crabgrass is to apply pre-emergent in the spring before it sprouts. That being said, be careful about what kind of pre-emergent you choose to use as certain kinds of pre-emergent solutions are used specifically for a certain type of weed. 

That being said - if it’s too late for that, you’ll be in a different mode. To kill it off over the course of the season and prevent it from coming back - be sure to do the following:

  • Keep your grass around 3 inches tall when you mow it. The lower you go, the more likely you are to create conditions for crabgrass and other weeds to flourish. Higher cuts, while they require a little more maintenance - will discourage crabgrass growth. 
  • Every time you mow, don’t cut more than a ⅓ of your grass at a time. 
  • Deeply water your grass 1-2 times a week. Try to get a solid inch or two soaks.
  • Fertilize your lawn to keep it healthy down to the roots. The deeper a grass’ root system goes, the stronger it will be.  
  • Crabgrass will naturally die in the fall as the temperature dips. Once you hit that colder weather, lay some pre-emergent down. Come springtime, you should be in the clear. 

If you’re looking for any help dealing with a large crabgrass infestation, give our team a call today and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process. Until then - good luck!

Killing crabgrass before it starts

Major spoiler alert: Crabgrass dies on its own in the fall. So unless you think it’s really important, you can essentially wait out the crabgrass and wait for it to die off. However, you will need to do one, critical thing before the start of the next growing season and that’s applying a pre-emergent in the Spring. Pre- emergent will help prevent crabgrass from ever growing and will make it easier for you to  take care of your lawn.

But if you can’t wait...

There are a few ways that you can get rid of crabgrass. The first is the good, ole fashioned weed-pull; ripping the plant out roots and all. While this will work to kill the crabgrass, it can be a bear to rip out of the ground sometimes, so be ready for a work out! If you want to cheat a bit, spray some water on the soil to loosen up the ground to make it easier to pull out. Once that’s done, you’ll want to immediately seed the bare area.

If there’s just too much of it…

Sometimes, there’s just too much crabgrass on your lawn and it’d take forever to pull it all out. When you’re stuck with too many weeds and you can’t look at your lawn anymore – you can go the chemical
route.

That being said – if you do elect to use chemicals, then you need to make sure that you’re hiring professionals to apply them. There’s two primary reasons for that. One is more or less legal. Each community has different standards when it comes to what’s good and what isn’t – so a professional will be able to ensure that you’re in compliance. The other reason is more straight-forward – and that’s that herbicides can severely harm your grass if you misapply them. There are literally dozens of forms of herbicides to choose from and the wrong chemical can produce undesirable results.