Catching and Controlling Crabgrass

By TruGreen March 23, 2019

The summer heat is a trigger for everyone’s least favorite weed: crabgrass. It grows quickly, so it it’s taking over your lawn, it's time to take control! Learn how to tell crabgrass apart from other common weeds so you can prevent it from spreading and put together a preventative battle plan.

What Is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is a summer annual, which means it germinates fairly quickly in late spring when plants grow fast so it becomes fairly noticeable by mid-summer and thrives in the thick of the heat. Crabgrass usually invades thin and bare areas in your lawn, particularly along the edges of your plant beds and sidewalks. For our Florida friends, keep in mind that crabgrass pretty much thrives all year long.

Tips For Spotting Crabgrass In Your Lawn

The most common question for people who suspect a crabgrass invasion is “What exactly does crabgrass look like?” and we’ve got the answer for you.

The most distinguishing characteristic of crabgrass are its tillers, which typically grow flat instead of upright. This also sheds some light on the name, as the weed often resembles a gangly bunch of crab legs sprawling out from the center.

Sometimes, it might be difficult to tell crabgrass apart from the grass in your lawn. But there are a few key differences to spot the weed. Here’s what to look for:

  • Leaves that are a lighter shade of green than the surrounding turf
  • Leaves that are wider and broader than thin bladed-grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass or Bermudagrass

Don't Be Fooled by Crabgrass Lookalikes

Different types of weeds certainly have plenty in common. They’re frustrating, unsightly and a non-stop nuisance when it comes to maintenance.

But each type of weed requires an individualized type of treatment and control technique, so it’s important that you don’t mistake crabgrass for its most common look-alikes.


This is where it gets tricky. Goosegrass is an annual that grows in the summertime and closely resembles crabgrass, so it can be challenging to tell the difference. The main distinction is the goosegrass’ flat stems and its white, silvery center.

Crabgrass Prevention with Pre-Emergent Treatment

The best way to control crabgrass is to apply preventative treatment in the spring such as an application of a pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent seedling germination and growth. 

Pre-emergent herbicide applications are done in the early spring based on the grass type and geography so it is put down before the start of the crabgrass germination window. And typically, crabgrass begins to germinate once soil temperatures reach 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days.

A thick, healthy lawn is the best competition and defense against crabgrass emergence.   In addition to a good fertilization plan to thicken up your lawn, spring pre-emergent treatments can keep crabgrass in check during the summer months

Time To Get Crabgrass Under Control with TruGreen

Because crabgrass pressure can be high, let the experts at TruGreen take care of it for you.  We use low volume herbicide applications that are highly effective and achieve 100% control over any crabgrass weeds that emerge. For help kicking crabgrass to the curb, call TruGreen today at 800.464.0171, or scroll up to the orange box to request a quote.

Need Help? Call 1-844-567-9909

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