Many people are wondering: What is crabgrass? Why does it grow in my lawn? How do I get rid of Crabgrass?
Crabgrass will always be an issue for homeowners. Whether it is in your lawn, flowerbeds, or garden, you can’t escape this invasive weed that causes damage and creates a nuisance. The lawn is one of the most important aspects in any home, and when it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn, there are numerous tasks that need to be completed. One task is identifying and getting rid of crabgrass.
Crabgrass is a common weed in lawns and gardening. It grows rapidly, spreading its seeds to nearby areas of soil that are moist. Identifying crabgrass early on is key to ensuring its removal from your yard before it has time to grow roots deep into the ground or take over other plants. Knowing how to identify crabgrass as well as where and how it grows should help make removing this invasive weed easier than ever!
Just What is Crabgrass?
Digitaria, whose common names are Crabgrass, Finger Grass, and Fonio, is a type of grass. It is natively found in tropical and warm temperate climates, although it can also grow in tropical, subtropical, and cooler temperate locations.
The Latin name translates to the term “digit”, which refers to the inflorescences, which are long, finger-like structures that develop on these weeds.
The seeds of Fonio – a subtype of crabgrass that grows primarily in West Africa – are edible, and they can be used as a flour, made into a porridge or even fermented to create a type of beer. It is a staple in those parts of Africa, and can be used to provide nutrients for grazing livestock.
Where and How Crabgrass Grows
Crabgrass thrives in warm climates – particularly in areas with low-quality soil – and can quickly spread throughout your yard if not dealt with right away.
Because it requires just a few drops of water each week, Crabgrass can thrive in thin lawns that are rarely watered, under-fertilized, and badly drained.
The seeds are produced in large quantities every year, and one plant may yield up to 150,000 seeds during the season. The seeds develop in the late spring and early summer, often out-competing the cultivated lawn grasses.
Crabgrass then dies in the autumn, leaving large holes in the lawn. The crabgrass seeds may germinate the following season in these openings, which then become excellent sites for crabgrass to grow.
How You Can Identify Crabgrass
Crabgrass grow prostrate and expands outward in a circular mat that can be up to 12 inches in diameter. It doesn’t really leave the center spot and creep like ivy to another area of your lawn, so if you see a bunch of circular patches in your lawn, that will be a sure sign that crabgrass is growing there.
Crabgrass can be identified by thick, grass-like leaves it grows. Some may have white hairs sticking out from the joints between its blades, but they can also be smooth grasses. It may also have a small amount of long, thin spikelets that stick out over the grass leaves.
How to Remove Crabgrass From Your Yard
Now, you should be able to identify crabgrass without any trouble, but what you can do about it is another story. If crabgrass is present in your garden or lawn, the best solution for ridding yourself of this fast-growing weed is to pull it by hand.
We have a list of a few organic and chemical methods, so you can choose which you think would be the best way to remove crabgrass from your yard.
Biological control is preferable to herbicide use since crabgrass development is not the source of bad grass health but rather a symptom that will recur every year if the lawn isn’t maintained with fertilizer and adequate watering.
Because crabgrass is an annual plant that dies off in the fall and requires open conditions for its spring germination, it is rapidly outcompeted by healthy lawn grass.
Via Organic Methods
You can pull out crabgrass by hand, leaving the roots in the ground. Make sure to do this on a warm day when the soil is moist.
Another organic method is to use vinegar. Pour some vinegar on the affected area. The idea is that while it won’t kill the crabgrass, it will burn its roots and make it shrivel up, eventually killing it. An all-natural, vinegar-based herbicide that deals well with crabgrass is this Green Gobbler Weed & Grass Killer.
Baking soda and corn gluten meal are also effective ways to get rid of crabgrass. To use these methods, use a cup of each and sprinkle them over the affected area.
After sprinkling, water the area well so that the ingredients can dissolve into your soil. Corn gluten meal is an organic substance used by many homeowners who want to eliminate crabgrass without using harsh chemicals or synthetic compounds.
Via Chemical Methods
If you have a large area that needs to be treated or if you aren’t equipped with the right tools for pulling out the weed, then let an herbicide handle it instead. The type of herbicide you choose will depend on your yard and what kind of weeds you normally deal with.
Glyphosate is probably the most popular choice and weed killers using it can be found at your local home improvement store. If you go this route, make sure it’s an appropriate product for your yard. A very good herbicide that uses glyphosate is RoundUp Ready-To-Use Poison Ivy Plus Weed Killer.
Another great option would be the Ortho Weed B Gone with Crabgrass Control. This uses a combination of the active ingredients 2,4-D and Dicamba.
Be mindful when using chemicals though; they may kill everything around them so be careful not to apply too much!
Regardless of what herbicide you use, be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before each use and wear safety gloves and eye protection to prevent yourself from being injured or blinded.
Can You Prevent Crabgrass From Growing in Your Yard?
The best way to avoid crabgrass next year is by ensuring you have decent soil in the first place. Adding organic matter is a simple solution that will keep your soil healthy and allow it to retain more moisture, which crabgrass does not like.
Additionally, keeping healthy lawn practices, like mowing frequently, aerating and tilling on a regular basis, and over-seeding with grass seeds, all help to prevent crabgrass from getting a foothold in your garden or lawn.
A pre-emergent herbicide is also highly effective in stopping weeds such as crabgrass before they appear or re-appear. For example, Preen Extended Control Weed Preventer is a helpful option, as is RM43 Total Control Weed Preventer.
Your yard is one of the most important places in your life. It provides you with a space to relax, play and enjoy time outdoors with family and friends.
If you want to get rid of crabgrass in your yard, there are a lot of different ways that you can do it. We recommend using organic methods if possible because they’re less harmful and cheaper than chemical options, and crabgrass is especially susceptible to such methods more than most weeds.
However, in addition to these natural methods, we’ve also provided information about how to remove crabgrass with chemicals safely so that you don’t harm other plants in your garden during this process.
We hope this blog post has helped you understand what crabgrass is, where it grows and how to identify it. Once you know what to look for, getting rid of crabgrass should be easy – just find out which removal method best suits your needs!