Here’s How to Get Rid of Crabgrass and Replace It with Actual Grass

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Here's How to Get Rid of Crabgrass and Replace It with Actual Grass

Have you noticed brown patches appearing in your lawn after autumn’s first frost? Those unsightly spots usually aren’t caused by disease; they’re likely caused by crabgrass when it dies in cold temperatures.

This annual grass is a universal problem to homeowners in the U.S. It pops up in spring and develops into large, flat, thick clumps that spread widely, crowding out surrounding lawn grass and other plants. Because it’s an annual, crabgrass dies after the first frost in autumn, which leaves behind patchy, bare spots in your lawn. If left untreated, those bare spots will fill in with more crabgrass or other weeds next spring when their seeds sprout. Here’s how to get rid of existing crabgrass and prevent it from popping up in the future.

Crabgrass Control Methods

Crabgrass Clover Section

Jay Wilde

Crabgrass loves hot, dry weather, so you’ll usually see it flourish over the summer. One of the best ways to control crabgrass is to maintain a lush, thick lawn and well-mulched flower and vegetable beds. Healthy landscapes (lawns dethatched regularly and mowed to an appropriate height or garden beds given enough water and nutrients) are less likely to be stressed and better able to shade out any weedy invaders like crabgrass.

Rely on an organic mulch to help control crabgrass naturally (without chemicals) in garden beds. Mulch acts as a suffocating blanket by preventing light from reaching weed seeds. At the same time, mulch holds moisture for your plants and provides nutrients for your soil as it decomposes. Apply coarse mulch, such as bark or wood chips, directly onto soil. Shredded leaves, grass clippings, or straw work better as weed deterrents with a separating layer of newspaper or cardboard between them and the soil.

9 of the Worst Mulching Mistakes That Are Easy to Avoid

To prevent crabgrass from sprouting on your lawn, apply a preemergent weed killer made from corn gluten meal in the spring, two weeks before your last expected frost. Doing this will kill crabgrass seeds before they have a chance to take root. However, don’t use any preemergent products when planting other seeds; they will prevent all seeds from germinating, not just the weeds.

The best indicator for applying crabgrass preventer during the season? Forsythia. This popular landscape shrub is grown for its striking yellow flowers in early spring when most trees and shrubs are still bare. When the blossoms start to drop to the ground, it’s time to put down the crabgrass preventer.

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass

Crabgrass also can be eliminated with a product labeled as a crabgrass killer or a non-selective weed killer, meaning it will kill any plant it gets on. If you prefer to avoid products with synthetic chemicals, look for ones that contain concentrated vinegar. Always make sure to follow label instructions when using weed killers. Even vinegar-based ones can burn skin, eyes, and lungs.

Weed Killers: 5 Things to Know Before You Spray

Weeding it out by hand is best if you find crabgrass in your edible garden. This plant has shallow roots, but using weeders or a trowel as a crabgrass removal tool will make the job easier. Don’t toss the uprooted weeds in your compost pile, though, because they could still reseed themselves. Instead, it’s better to toss them in the trash.

If you pull up crabgrass from your lawn, prevent it from coming back by filling in the bare patch with grass seed. Cover it with a light layer of topsoil, and water well to help the seeds sprout. Wait to mow the new grass until it reaches 3 inches tall.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in the USA

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
Northeast (e.g., New York, Massachusetts)Rose, Purple Lilac, Mountain LaurelSugar Maple, American Elm, White Pine
Southeast (e.g., Florida, Georgia)Orange Blossom, Cherokee Rose, Southern MagnoliaLive Oak, Spanish Moss, Saw Palmetto
Midwest (e.g., Ohio, Illinois)Carnation, Violet, Purple ConeflowerBur Oak, Prairie Grasses, Wild Bergamot
Southwest (e.g., Texas, Arizona)Bluebonnet, Saguaro Cactus Flower, Indian PaintbrushJoshua Tree, Agave, Mesquite
West (e.g., California, Washington)California Poppy, Coast Rhododendron, BitterrootGiant Sequoia, Redwood, Manzanita
Rocky Mountain (e.g., Colorado, Montana)Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bitterroot, Indian PaintbrushBlue Spruce, Aspen, Sagebrush
Great Plains (e.g., Kansas, Nebraska)Sunflower, Goldenrod, Purple ConeflowerCottonwood, Bluestem Grasses, Buffalo Grass
Pacific Northwest (e.g., Oregon, Alaska)Oregon Grape, Forget-me-not, Pacific RhododendronDouglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Ferns

This table includes the most popular flowers and plants in the USA by region, which considers a range of botanical species, including native and widely cultivated varieties.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in Australia

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
New South WalesWaratah, Bottlebrush, Flannel FlowerEucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia
VictoriaCommon Heath, Waxflower, Pink HeathMountain Ash, Silver Wattle, Victorian Blue Gum
QueenslandCooktown Orchid, Golden Penda, Umbrella Tree FlowerMoreton Bay Fig, Macadamia Nut, Queensland Bottle Tree
South AustraliaSturt's Desert Pea, Kangaroo Paw, Eucalyptus BlossomAdelaide Blue Gum, South Australian Blue Gum, Saltbush
Western AustraliaRed and Green Kangaroo Paw, Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Swan River DaisyJarrah, Marri, Karri
TasmaniaTasmanian Blue Gum, Leatherwood Flower, Tasmanian WaratahHuon Pine, Tasmanian Oak, Myrtle Beech
Northern TerritorySturt's Desert Rose, Frangipani, Desert RoseBoab, Gidgee, Spinifex
Australian Capital TerritoryRoyal Bluebell, Australian Daisy, CorreaSnow Gum, River Red Gum, Black Mountain

This table offers a basic overview of popular flowers and plants in each Australian region, focusing on a combination of state flowers, native species, and other characteristic plants. It's important to note that specific species' popularity and prevalence can vary. This table is a simplified representation. Consulting local botanical gardens or regional horticultural societies in Australia would be ideal for more detailed and accurate information.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.