Coarse and stubborn, crabgrass is the No 1 nemesis of lawn owners in North America.
Without proper management, it can quickly take over the lawn or garden. having a destructive effect on other plants. Not to mention how unattractive and unkempt it can make your yard look.
With a maximum height of about 3 feet, in just a few weeks crabgrass can make your garden look terrible. Only one plant can produce up to 150 thousand seed, so, once it takes a foothold in the yard, it spreads like wildfire.
When crabgrass overwhelms your lawn it needs to be dealt with. Before we dig deeper into answering how to kill crabgrass, there are a couple of things you need to know first.
Crabgrass is annual, which means that the plant itself dies out in the fall, with the colder weather. But, thousands of seeds remain on the ground to start the growth all over again in the spring.
As its name says, crabgrass is a strain of grass, making it tricky to destroy, meaning that the careless use of any herbicide will also endanger all of the surrounding planted grass.
How to Kill Crabgrass Naturally
There are several ways to fight against the crabgrass. They include some natural methods, as well as the use of pre and post-emergence herbicides. Often, they need to be combined to have successful results.
Pull It Out by Hand
One of the simplest, but also most tir
esome methods. It’s best done early in the growing season before crabgrass goes to seed.
To make it easier, do it after the rain or water the ground beforehand to make the soil softer. Dig up the plant using a small shovel or a hand rake, or even a knife.
Pay attention that you pull out the entire plant including the roots. After you’ve finished, dispose of it to prevent the parts of the plant to spread seed.
Mow the Right Way
Spread the intervals between mowing your lawn. Leave your grass to grow a little taller before mowing, between 2 to 3 and a half inches, and remove no more than a third of a grass blade.
Crabgrass, like other types of weed, enjoys moisture and light and tall and dense grass will leave less space for undesired invaders to develop.
Cover the Soil
If you have an area of the lawn overwhelmed by crabgrass, a good idea might be to cover it to prevent further development.
This limits the light and water sources for the weed and stops the seed spreading to other parts of the yard. You can do it by using dark tapes or tarp and tightly pressing them to the soil.
Covering the crabgrass should kill it within 4 to 6 weeks. After that, remove the cover and reseed the area with the desired strain of grass.
Also, during the formation of new garden beds, before planting, you can use landscape fabric to cover barren ground to stop the development of unwanted plants before it starts.
Pour Boiling Water
Pouring hot boiling water over the crabgrass and surrounding area (up to 3-foot radius) is an efficient way to deal with this pest.
The drawback is that it will also kill all the other plants in the field of attack.
So, this technique is mainly recommended if you have isolated areas of the lawn affected by crabgrass.
Use Baking Soda, Vinegar or Corn Gluten
If you are wondering how to kill crabgrass all-natural way, applying home-made killers such as baking soda, vinegar, and corn gluten is a great idea. It’s the stuff all of us generally have in our homes, so it will also save you a trip to the store and save you some money.
Phytotoxin content of baking soda will do harm to any pant it comes in contact with. As with touring hot water, it’s best used in isolated areas and single patches of crabgrass.
Simply spray some water over crabgrass or any other plant you need to be destroyed for that matter and sprinkle baking soda powder over it. In the course of a few days, you will see the results and then uproot the dead plants, rake the surface and plant new grass.
Using vinegar is a great method of dealing with crabgrass since, while it has the same effect on plants as the
Roundup, it does no damage to the soil, and after you apply it ground is ready for reseeding. The best way to use it is by combining it with salt and liquid dish soap.
Vinegar and salt will dry the crabgrass out and soap will allow the plant to soak up the solution. Pour 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of salt, and 1 tbsp of soap in a bowl or a bucket and mix it well. Spray the weed once a week, although you’ll generally notice the effect within a day or two.
One of the best organic preventers of crabgrass growth is corn gluten. It obstructs the development of weed roots.
It is also recommendable because helps fertilize your whole lawn due to the high nitrogen content. This will help your high-quality grass grow faster and stronger thus suffocating the weed.
‘Not So Natural’ Methods
As mentioned above, there are several ways to fight against the crabgrass. They include some natural methods, as well as the use of pre and post-emergence herbicides.
Often, they need to be combined to have successful results.
There is a variety of pre-emergent herbicides available on the market that you can use to prevent the crabgrass from rearing its head in the first place. they usually work by preventing the seeds from germinating in the soil.
Their advantage is that they do not cause any harmful side effects to the rest of your lawn.
When applying them, pay attention to a couple of things. Aerate the soil before the application and do not irrigate until you have applied the herbicides. You can re-apply them to ensure complete coverage. of course, always carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the crabgrass has already begun to grow in your garden, you might have to resort to using the post-emergent herbicides.
They contain chemicals that disrupt weed growth and work best on young plants, They will help you get rid of crabgrass within three days and keep your garden looking tidy and attractive.
Post-emergent herbicides usually come in the form of spray or pellets. Avoid using them in the windy weather and as always closely follow instructions regarding dosage and application.