It is summer time and you are outside admiring the great looking lawn you cut a few days ago when you spot it, crabgrass. Crabgrass weeds blend in with your lawn when cut, but will quickly grow taller than the surrounding turf. Many people cut their grass more often to maintain the uniform appearance, only to have this weed pop up and drive them batty. Let's figure out how to get rid of crabgrass so you can get back to a normal mowing routine.
Prevention is the name of the game with crabgrass. Crabgrass is an annual weed. This means it will die off on its own each year (yay!). It also leaves a lot of seeds that will grow again next spring (boo!). If you want to really control crabgrass weeds in the long run, you need to use a pre-emergent herbicide. We use a product called Dimension which contains the active ingredient dithiopyr. Search your local hardware store for a pre-emergent product with either this active ingredient or any grassy weed pre-emergent labeled for both your turf type and crabgrass. Time the pre-emergent application for late fall and/or mid-winter depending upon the product label. Pre-emergents need to go down before the new weeds sprout or they will not work.
Prevention can also occur by keeping the rest of your grass healthy. Don't leave thin areas since this creates an opening for weeds to take root and grow. Fertilizer and water are your best option here. Keep healthy grass and the weeds can't get sunlight.
Prevention is great for next year, but what about the weeds in your yard today? Luckily, there are a lot of options available to consumers that are readily available at the hardware store or through the internet. Be certain to check which turf grasses the product can safely be applied over. You don't want to be the guy that has a brown yard because he didn't check the label first. (This happens more often than you would think.) Don't spray your whole yard if you only have a spot of crabgrass. No need to risk an accident when it is unnecessary. Additionally, most products require a second application a few weeks after the first for proper crabgrass control, but check the label to be certain.
If all else fails, grab a shovel and a few pieces of sod. It can be labor intensive, but the results are both guaranteed and immediate.