When it comes to your lawn, there are many issues you might face. The most common are weeds. Things like crabgrass can quickly take over your yard and make it look unsightly.
If your lawn is already overrun, you need the best crabgrass killer. It should work quickly and target the weed. However, there is another option.
Preventative treatments are also available, which can keep the crabgrass from forming at all. We are going to explain about the various products and provide you with 12 that can work for your needs.
Table of Contents
- Life Cycle of Crabgrass
- Categories of Crabgrass Killers
- The Best Crabgrass Killers & Preventers on the Market
- Crabgrass Killer Reviews
- 1. Tenacity Turf Herbicide
- 2. Southern AG Amine 24-D Weed Killer
- 3. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
- 4. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer
- 5. Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer
- 6. Quali-Pro Prodiamine 65 WDG Pre-Emergent Herbicide
- 7. Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate
- 8. BASF Drive XLR8 Herbicide
- 9. BioAdvanced All-in-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer
- 10. RoundUp Ready-to-Use Weed & Grass Killer
- 11. Ortho Weed B Gon Plus Crabgrass Control Concentrate
- 12. Primesource Quinclorac Liquid Crabgrass Killer
- When to Apply Crabgrass Preventer?
- How to Apply Crabgrass Killer?
Life Cycle of Crabgrass
Typically, crabgrass seeds remain dormant for a short time frame once they fall from the plants. Then, the germination of the seeds is reliant on the temperature of the soil.
The temperature of the soil at the surface must be 55°- 65°F (13°- 18°C) for at least four days in a row. When that happens, crabgrass can start to germinate. It is often the best time through spring and late summer.
Crabgrass can continue to grow through midsummer, even as the days get shorter. However, growth does start to slow in late summer, and plants start their reproductive stages.
You may start to notice purple seed heads. This is going to continue until the first frost comes and kills the plants. Still, those seeds can fall off and spread, lying dormant until the next spring.
When the weed emerges earlier in the season, it has a longer time to grow. Therefore, it is going to get very big and can compete with the grass seeds.
Categories of Crabgrass Killers
Many people do not realize that there are many weed killers for crabgrass. It is important to understand the differences between these products so that you pick the right one.
However, you should be aware that you can control crabgrass without killing anything. For this method, you need to establish and maintain a healthy lawn at all times. This naturally discourages the crabgrass from popping up.
You should be planting an appropriate turf-grass and watering it properly. Of course, proper fertilization is key here. Dethatching and aeration are also important.
Organic, Non-chemical Treatments
Crabgrass is an annual weed and is hard to control if the lawn isn’t maintained. It can produce many thousands of seeds, which can germinate and take over bare spots. Most homeowners find that chemical treatments are the best choice, but you can use natural methods.
Consider plucking out each bit of crabgrass by hand. This is an excellent option if the weed hasn’t overwhelmed the yard. The best method is to water the area around the crabgrass thoroughly to loosen up the weed roots.
Next, grab the weed as close to the ground as possible. Pull gently and be patient until it is all removed. It’s best to do this early in the spring before the crabgrass has released its seeds.
Make sure that you don’t put the pulled plants in your compost heap. The seeds could survive and spread throughout the landscape when you mulch.
You may also use corn gluten meal to help prevent crabgrass. It’s established as a proven method for controlling this weed. Generally, it’s a by-product from manufacturing cornstarch.
When you apply it to the lawn, it prevents the weed from germinating. It also provides a dose of nitrogen, which grass needs to flourish. Keep in mind the corn gluten can prevent every seed from growing, which includes your grass.
Selective Herbicides Chemicals
Selective herbicides are those that target a particular weed or a category of weeds. It is designed to leave the other plants safe. Many general weed killers are considered selective.
They’re designed to kill the broadleaf weed while leaving the narrow-leaf plants (including turf grass). However, crabgrass is unique because it is considered a narrow-leaf plant.
Therefore, most weed killers aren’t very effective against killing crabgrass. However, you can find options that have specific chemicals designed to kill the crabgrass.
Non-Selective Herbicide Chemicals
Non-selective herbicides are chemicals that kill every plant. They don’t selectively target something in particular. This could sound self-defeating at first.
However, if your lawn is overrun with crabgrass, it might be best to kill everything and reseed it all from scratch. You can find two types of these herbicides.
The first is called a contact herbicide and kills green tissue with which it comes into contact. Systemic versions travel throughout the plant to destroy it from the inside, including the roots.
Preventative (Pre-emergent) Treatments
Preventative treatments are used before weeds ever sprout. They can help you prevent new ones from germinating and producing seeds. There are a variety of options, and this is often the best method for controlling and eliminating crabgrass.
The issue is that you must do so early in the spring before crabgrass has popped up in the yard. Often, you are going to be outside spraying in chilly weather. Remember, crabgrass can start germinating when the temperatures reach 55°- 65°F for four or five days in a row.
The Best Crabgrass Killers & Preventers on the Market
When it comes to choosing the right crabgrass killer or preventer, there are many options. We make it easy to see them all with our table below. Click on the ones about which you want to learn more.
|Pictures||Crabgrass Killers & Preventers||Types|
|Tenacity Turf Herbicide||Pre & Post-Emergent Herbicide|
|Southern AG Amine 24-D Weed Killer||Selective Herbicide|
|Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer||Organic, Non-Selective Herbicide|
|Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer||Non-Selective Herbicide|
|Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer||Pre-Emergent Herbicide|
|Quali-Pro Prodiamine 65 WDG Pre-Emergent Herbicide||Pre-Emergent Herbicide|
|Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate||Non-Selective Herbicide|
|BASF Drive XLR8 Herbicide||Selective Herbicide|
|BioAdvanced All-in-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer||Selective Herbicide|
|RoundUp Ready-to-Use Weed & Grass Killer||Non-Selective Herbicide|
|Ortho Weed B Gon Plus Crabgrass Control Concentrate||Selective Herbicide|
|Primesource Quinclorac Liquid Crabgrass Killer||Selective Herbicide|
Crabgrass Killer Reviews
1. Tenacity Turf Herbicide
Tenacity is a turf herbicide from Syngenta. Though it is geared as a pre-emergence product, it can also work if crabgrass is already present. Primarily, it’s a selective chemical that offers residual control for weeds within turfgrass.
When you apply the product as a pre-emergent, the weeds absorb the chemicals as they come out of the soil in the spring. It kills them on contact so that they cannot grow and produce seeds that can spread.
This product is designed to target a variety of weeds. These include carpetweed, barnyard grass, and chickweed. It also kills large and smooth crabgrass varieties, as well as clover, dandelions, and thistle.
The primary ingredient is Mesotrione. It contains 40 percent of the weed killer with a variety of other inactive items. These can help the chemical stick to the weed and penetrate it quickly.
Consider buying this product now, even if you don’t need it right away. It can last up to eight years from its manufacture date if it is stored correctly.
2. Southern AG Amine 24-D Weed Killer
The Amine 24-D weed killer is made by Southern AG. It is a selective chemical, so it only targets broadleaf weeds. Keep in mind many crabgrass varieties are considered narrow-leaf weeds.
This product offers no indication of the types of weeds it kills. However, you may use it for crabgrass, and it could work. It’s possible to utilize it in ditches, turf, around fences, and much more.
You should use it with a sprayer. If your garden hose is appropriate, you can attach the hose to the container itself.
Make sure it is a low-pressure spray and that it features a fan nozzle. This ensures that the chemical is applied evenly across the lawn, where you have crabgrass.
Of course, you must be accurate with the spraying technique. Try not to overlap the spray (go back over a treated part). This could cause the grass to yellow or die. Though it is selective, caution should be used around other plants that you wish to keep.
3. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
Those who prefer an organic weed killer may like the one from Green Gobbler. Keep in mind that this product is designed as a non-selective product. Therefore, it is going to kill all of the plants, including your grass.
If you only have a few weeds, you may be able to spot treat them. Otherwise, it is best to use this product to kill everything and start again.
You can use the product right from the container. It even has its own sprayer head, which attaches once you remove the lid.
This product is designed to kill grasses and weeds without any toxic chemicals and is made from corn. It’s OMRI listed, which means it is certified organic. Plus, it doesn’t contain glyphosate or cancer-causing chemicals.
Though vinegar is used, this product is about four times stronger than traditional vinegar. It is made using distilled corn grain, so ethanol is produced. Therefore, it can kill dandelions, crabgrass, and a variety of clover species.
4. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer
When it comes to killing both grass and weeds, you might want the Compare-N-Save brand. It’s considered a non-selective weed killer, and it can be rainproof in just a few hours. Therefore, you can apply it to your lawn regardless of the weather later.
In fact, you are going to want to water everything once it is applied. That way, it soaks into the ground and effectively kills everything. Just remember that results aren’t immediate.
It can take up to four days for the weeds to die. Also, this product is not organic. It does contain about 41 percent of glyphosate.
Of course, this product can cover a lawn of 25,000 square feet. It’s a concentrated liquid, so you should mix it with water. Though you only need three tablespoons for normal weed control, you can use up to five tablespoons in a gallon of water for brush and perennial control.
One gallon of the mixed product covers 300 square feet. You do not have to use it all at once.
5. Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer
Those who want to be proactive may like the Scotts brand. It’s a preventer product, called a pre-emergent. You spray it to kill weeds right as they come up through the soil.
One bag can treat 5,000 square feet, and you only need a single application for the season. It’s ideal to use it in spring before crabgrass has a chance to grow. Plus, it is going to keep weeds in check throughout the season.
You should also apply it in the fall to prevent winter weeds from coming up. These include chickweed, henbit, and Poa Annua.
It’s not going to matter if it snows, rains, or freezes. The application is still going to be set, and the performance isn’t affected.
To use this product, you need a spreader. You can use the Scotts brand, but there are others available, as well. Keep in mind that the spreader is an additional cost.
Add the product to the spreader and set the appropriate calibrations. Then, just run it slowly over the lawn like you do your lawnmower.
6. Quali-Pro Prodiamine 65 WDG Pre-Emergent Herbicide
If you want something to prevent crabgrass (and other weeds) from growing, Quali-Pro from Prodiamine might be ideal. It is a broadleaf weed product, so it can be used on a variety of unwanted plants.
This product features a flexible application process, so you can apply it in fall or spring. The bottle contains five pounds of weed killer. Its active ingredient is prodiamine, and it contains 65 percent.
You can use it on turf, landscapes, and in nurseries. It’s also possible to use it around trees and other plants.
Of course, it is effective against henbit, chickweed, knotweed, and foxtail. You can also use it to prevent goosegrass and Poa Annua. Though it doesn’t specifically mention crabgrass, it can be effective since it targets weeds before they grow.
Just make sure you’re using it in the spring before temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the best way to keep weeds from taking over your yard throughout the season.
7. Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate
The Spectracide brand offers a concentrated grass and weed killer. This is non-selective, so you are likely to kill your turf, as well as the weeds. However, if your yard is overrun, it might be ideal to start over.
You can use this product on walkways and driveways, as well as areas within the yard. The formula is designed to work quickly. In some cases, you can see results in just three hours.
This allows you to kill the weeds and then replant your new grass, trees, or flowers all within the same weekend. Of course, the product is waterproof in just 15 minutes. Therefore, if it happens to rain after applying the product, it is still going to be effective.
You do need a tank sprayer for this product. It must be mixed with the right amount of water, and it’s easy to find these rates on the label. Make sure that you cover the leaves thoroughly to ensure that it kills the entire plant.
8. BASF Drive XLR8 Herbicide
Those who want a liquid formulation are going to like the BASF brand. It’s a water-based formulation and can help you control many different weed types. This includes crabgrass.
One bottle can treat a whole acre of land with the regular full application needs on the label. This is a complete weed-control product and works very quickly. In fact, it can dry in just an hour, so it doesn’t matter if it rains later after you use it.
If you’ve got mature crabgrass on the lawn, you can use this product. It is designed as a selective chemical killer, so it only targets the crabgrass and not your turf.
Though it’s a standalone product, the manufacturer does recommend using Microyl Crop Oil Replacement along with it to increase the effectiveness of the herbicide.
This product can control a variety of weeds. These include crabgrass, dollarweed, and dandelion. It also works well on bindweed, Torpedograss, Foxtail, clover, and Signalgrass, among others.
9. BioAdvanced All-in-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer
The Bioadvanced brand is an all-in-one weed killer, so it can be used on crabgrass and many others. It is ideal for clover and dandelions, too. However, it guarantees to kill more than 200 common broadleaf weeds.
With its 40 ounce bottle, you can get more killing power, and the product is concentrated. Therefore, you mix the right amounts (found on the label) with water.
This product is a selective weed killer, so it isn’t going to harm the lawn. Therefore, you can easily spray it on the yard without fear that it is going to kill the grass. Please note, it shouldn’t be used on Bahia, Carpetgrass, St. Augustine, and Centipede grasses.
Also, it is rainproof in one hour. This means that if it rains the same day as you apply it, the product is going to stay on the plants and continue working.
One bottle treats 250 square feet six times. You can use a hose-end sprayer or dial-n-spray nozzle with this treatment.
10. RoundUp Ready-to-Use Weed & Grass Killer
When it comes to weed-killer, RoundUp is a popular brand. Its ready-to-use product features a comfort wand. This allows you to use it without having to mix anything or use a separate machine to apply it.
One bottle can treat 400 square feet, depending on the concentration level you use. Of course, the comfort wand is an extension of your hand. This means that you don’t have to bend over or continually ‘spray’ with your hands.
You can use this weed killer almost anywhere. It’s ideal for use in driveway cracks, vegetable gardens, and mulch beds. Of course, you can also use it around patios, fences, and flower beds.
Once you apply it, the product only needs 10 minutes to dry. If it happens to rain, it is going to stay on the weed. You can even start seeing results in just three hours.
It kills weeds at the root. This ensures that they aren’t going to come back for the rest of the season.
11. Ortho Weed B Gon Plus Crabgrass Control Concentrate
The Ortho brand offers Weed B Gon Plus. This product can kill over 200 weeds, including crabgrass. It is designed to target just the weeds and doesn’t harm the grass when you use it properly.
You must read the full product label to determine how much to use based on the size of your lawn. It is possible to use this weed killer on a variety of grasses, such as Fescues, Bermuda, Buffalo, and Zoysia grasses.
Since it is a selective weed killer, you can spray it over the lawn whenever you see weeds growing. It is a concentrated formula, so the 32-ounce container can cover about 5,000 square feet. You should use it with a dial-n-spray or tank sprayer setup.
However, you can use it with a regular garden hose, as well. This way, you aren’t going to need to measure or mix it. Keep in mind this works best as a broadcast application, but it can sometimes be used as a spot treatment.
12. Primesource Quinclorac Liquid Crabgrass Killer
Primesource is a selective herbicide, so it is designed to target only the weeds. You can spray it over your grass without fear, as long as you use the right measurements. The active ingredient here is 18 percent Dimethylamine or salt of quinclorac.
It’s typically used when weeds are already formed and growing. Though many homeowners prefer it, commercial properties can also benefit from using it. You’ve got about 28 days after you notice weeds to use this product most effectively.
Plus, it is designed to last 90 days, which means you can often spray it once a season and rid your lawn of weeds. The product works on grassy and broadleaf weeds, making it suitable for crabgrass.
Many times, people use it along with overseeding. Consider using this product seven days before you seed the lawn for new grass growth. This ensures that it has enough time to work and doesn’t harm the grass or ‘burn’ it when you do seed the lawn.
When to Apply Crabgrass Preventer?
Crabgrass seeds usually germinate when the soil’s temperature rises. Emergence can happen at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but most of the seeds start growing at 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature of the soil is influenced by wind, sunlight, shade, and moisture. Generally, in the Midwest, soil can reach such temperatures in the spring.
With all that to consider, you should apply the preventer (pre-emergent) crabgrass killer when your soil reaches about 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. You can purchase a special temperature tool to test it each day or use an online tool to help you determine generalized temperatures.
Timing is everything because if you apply it too early, it’s going to dissipate before the seeds start to grow. If you use it too late in the year, crabgrass is likely to overrun the lawn.
How to Apply Crabgrass Killer?
There are two primary types of crabgrass killer. One is liquid, and the other is a powder or small pellets. To apply the powder/pellet form, you need a spreader. These can be purchased separately, but most of them aren’t calibrated for accuracy.
The liquid option is often better for many homeowners. Some of them are designed to be mixed with water (concentrated formulas). Sometimes, you can use your garden hose for this.
Other versions are ready to use. They often come with spray wands that attach to the container.
We understand that you may want to focus on killing crabgrass before it starts growing. In that case, the Tenacity brand is your best choice. Plus, it can also be used once crabgrass has taken hold of your lawn.
Therefore, it is a two-edged sword and can also be used to target other types of weeds. This product is selective, as well, so it only kills the weeds and not your grass.
You may want to consider Green Gobbler if you desire a non-selective weed killer. This product is ideal when you want to kill the grass and start over anew.
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