How to Get Rid of Crabgrass in Your Lawn

Crabgrass in flower bed mulchCrabgrass! The nemesis of homeowners across Illinois and the midwest.
People who work hard at their lawns have a common enemy: crabgrass. Besides dandelions, it’s probably the most common weed in midwestern lawns.
You may fight it all summer long and then next year rolls around and it’s the same thing all over again.
So how do you get rid of crabgrass in your lawn?


Weed control treatments are free when you sign up for the Green T fertilization program.

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Four steps to getting rid of crabgrass

Get rid of existing crabgrass

To get rid of crabgrass for the long term, the first thing you need to do is destroy the crabgrass you already have. If you want a crabgrass-free summer next summer, you need to get rid of crabgrass this summer. Your crabgrass will continue to spread, so it’s important to get rid of your weeds today. (Tips for destroying existing crabgrass below)
Related: Identifying crabgrass

Kentucky bluegrass plantKeep seeds from spreading

Crabgrass spreads from seeds, not from root systems. This means that if you can stop crabgrass from going to seed, you’ll be stopping next year’s crop of crabgrass.

Remove dead crabgrass

Part of how crabgrass spreads is that it crowds out other plants. It also has an allelopathic effect, meaning it emits chemicals that slow the growth of other plants. Make sure you get rid of the old crabgrass plants out of the lawn so that new grass can fill that space.

Seed bare patches on your lawn

Bare patches of lawn are an invitation for weeds to plant themselves in your lawn. A thick healthy grass helps keep out weeds. Reseed those patches where you pulled out the crabgrass or any other weeds. This will help build your defenses to keep weeds away in the future.
Related: Q & A on crabgrass prevention

How to kill existing crabgrass

Young CrabgrassUse a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring to stop crabgrass seeds from germinating during the warm summer months.
If you already have visible crabgrass in your lawn, then you may need to use a post-emergent herbicide to kill the crabgrass plants.
We recommend using a selective weed killer, rather than a powerful non-selective weed killer such as Roundup, which will kill everything it comes in contact with. You want to find a selective week killer which will not kill your grass.
Related: How to get rid of dandelions

Tips for using weed killer on crabgrass

  • Use your herbicide on a sunny day. Rain may wash away your herbicide before it has killed the crabgrass.
  • Apply your herbicide early in the day after the dew has dried. This gives the best opportunity for it to be absorbed.
  • Herbicides work best at temperatures of 60 – 90°F.
  • If the soil is extremely dry, water the target area the day before the application.
  • Follow the directions on your herbicide on when to plant new grass seeds.

We hope these tips are useful to you and that you have a crabgrass-free lawn this summer!


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