Crabgrass is a low growing, summer annual that spreads by seeding and is most often found in lawns, vegetable gardens and ornamental landscapes. It is truly a very obvious weed that is found in small patches initially, but if left to it’s own devices these initially small weeds can grow together to form large unsightly clumps.
Crabgrass removal can become quite a bothersome and time consuming task for homeowners and gardeners. If the smaller spring plants are not “nipped in the bud” immediately, these small ugly grasses can soon become unmanageable by ordinary pulling.
Crabgrass can get into your yard via birds or unclean lawn mowers. Birds love to eat the crabgrass seed and often drop it in lawns as they fly above or land in the yard. Lawn mowers which have the seed implanted into the blades and mechanisms need to be cleaned regularly to prevent further seeding and spread of crabgrass. Unhealthy turfgrass and unhealthy soil are the perfect conditions for germination of the crabgrass.
Initially, in the early spring, you will see the crabgrass as small 2-3 blade grasses that are few and sparse. However, without any means or methods of early onset crabgrass removal these small little innocent nuisances will begin to develop into larger plants, and eventually larger clusters.
Most Common Solutions To Crabgrass Removal
We’ll try to cover the most common and easiest solutions to crabgrass prevention and crabgrass removal.
Healthy Turfgrass and Healthy Soil=No Crabgrass
When healthy, your turfgrass (lawn-sod-grass) is much stronger than the crabgrass. Healthy turfgrass comes from healthy soil. Proper fertilization for your specific grass type along with proper irrigation make for a healthier lawn. These cultural activities will increase the vigor of your lawn and at the same time decrease the vigor of crabgrass.
Water your lawn deeper and less frequently to inhibit crabgrass invasions. Water to a depth of 4-6 inches which is the equivalent of 1/2-1 inches of rainfall. A good appropriate lawn food will feed your grass and at the same time provide a barrier for crabgrass germination.
Additionally your lawn mowing height should not be too low. Mowing too low and close to the ground promotes crabgrass growth and reseeding. Mowing at an optimum height will promote more vigorous turf growth and will reduce the reseeding and spreading of the crabgrass. One should also clean the mower blades after each mowing. The crabgrass seedlings can be left on the mower blades and can reseed the crabgrass with the next mowing.
Here’s a chart of recommended mowing heights from the University of California Natural Resources:
|Turf species||Mowing height
|bentgrass, creeping||0.5 or less|
Using Pre-Emergents and Weed Killers
As the name implies, a pre-emergent should be applied prior to crabgrass germination, but not too early in the season. This is sometimes difficult to determine. Timing is EVERYTHING with pre-emergents, and since the initial crabgrass clumps and blades are sometimes difficult to see, you may miss the timing and opportunity to apply pre-emergents.
Post-emergents and other chemical weed killers may give you temporary results, but very rarely kill the roots of the crabgrass and are mostly ineffective once the crabgrass has taken hold. Chemicals can also have a negative effect on your lawn, so it’s always suggested that you stay away from them even in the worst of cases.
Pulling The Crabgrass By Hand
When the crabgrass remains thin in your yard, the best thing to try and do would be to pull it all by hand, alternatively known as weeding. Before doing this, water the yard just as usual, making sure to go over the actual crabgrass-infected area. It is vital to remove the crabgrass by yanking out the roots entirely – these roots, which contain the seeds, are definitely the things that cause crabgrass to grow back, so they must be completely removed to protect your lawn.
Make sure to remove any stray clumps as well, as these can hold seeds which germinate straight into the ground. After yanking the crabgrass, spread a good layer of thick mulch as well as composted yard waste over the spots. A mulch will block out all sunlight the crabgrass needs to re-grow. Rake it out and make it even across the once-infected spots.
Extreme Measures for Crabgrass Removal
Once the crabgrass has spread too much and moved past the occasional stray clump phase, you could consider complete removal of the lawn and infected areas. Once the area has been removed you will need to aerate the soil, re-fertilize and then re-seed the lawn.
OR you could easier manage to work through the infected sections with weed removal tools such as the Grass Stitcher.
Crabgrass Removal With The Grass Stitcher
The Grass Stitcher is quite the unique little weed removal tool which is much easier than completely removing entire crabgrass infected lawn areas. It works well in both the initial germination cycle of crabgrass removal as well as when the crabgrass has essentially taken over large areas.
Once you “weeded” through the crabgrass with the Grass Stitcher, you’ll still need to re-seed and fertilize, but you won’t need to aerate because the grass stitcher will do that for you. Additionally, it’s much much easier on your back then using a spade and shovel to take out large sections of your yard.
The Grass Stitcher also works perfectly for bare spots and pet urine lawn spots. Check out these videos.
Perfect Crabgrass Removal Tool!
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