If you are dealing with crabgrass in your lawn, you need to have the best crabgrass killer on hand.
Crabgrass is known as a fairly opportunistic and common pest. It’s most often found in areas like lawns and gardens, according to the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture.
If you have it, you probably notice it in patches where your grass grows thinly or doesn’t grow. Since crabgrass thrives in warm weather, you probably notice it more in the summer or late spring.
The main reason that homeowners want to get rid of crabgrass is that it’s unsightly. It isn’t commonly used as turfgrass is for filling in a lawn.
Luckily, there are ways to get rid of crabgrass in your yard or garden. We’ve broken down a buying guide and reviewed some of our favorite products to help you learn how.
The 11 Best Crabgrass Killers
1. Tenacity Turf Herbicide
The Tenacity Turf Herbicide is a liquid herbicide that comes in an eight oz. bottle. It targets both smooth and large crabgrass as well, so it’s a versatile choice.
Alongside crabgrass, this targets other common pests as well. This includes chickweed, clover, goosegrass, thistle, wild carrot, carpetweed, barnyard grass, dandelions, and more.
The formula is made to work both pre-emergence and post-emergence. So, no matter what growth stage your crabgrass is at, you don’t have to worry about it not working.
The Tenacity formula’s active ingredient is mesotrione. This is used at a 40% concentration.
The shelf life of Tenacity Turf Herbicide falls within a five to eight-year range. This means that it will last you through seasons of crabgrass growth if you have extra after application.
However, there are steps to take if you want it to last this long. It won’t have the same lifespan if it isn’t kept out of direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
2. BASF Drive XLR8 Herbicide
The BASF Drive XLR8 Herbicide comes in a generous ½ gallon container. A bottle of this size is recommended for treating a full acre.
You can even use this on mature crabgrass. In other words, you don’t need any concerns as to whether its “too late” to address your yard’s crabgrass.
This is a water-based liquid application herbicide. It dries in under an hour too, so you don’t have to worry about it running off if it rains.
Aside from crabgrass, this herbicide can help you with other pests. This includes, but isn’t limited to, bindweed, clover, dollarweed, foxtail, torpedo grass, signal grass, dandelions, Kikuyu grass, and more.
After you apply it, you only have to wait about 45 days before you start to see results. This is a maximum estimation too, so you may see signs earlier than this as well.
The product does warn against use on St. Augustine lawns. However, it works as intended on almost all other lawn types.
3. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass & Weed Killer
The Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass & Weed Killer comes in a one-gallon bottle that needs diluting before use. Once you mix it, it makes as much as 85 gallons of spray that’s ready to use right away.
Once you mix this concentrate into a safe and usable solution, it covers a large area as well. You can use one bottle on up to 25,000 square feet of lawn.
When you spray the concentrate on your crabgrass, it dries in about two hours. This means that it’s rainproof fairly quickly after it’s applied.
You also don’t have to wait very long to see results. In as few as two to four days, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the appearance of your crabgrass.
In addition, the manufacturer offers instructions for use around edibles as well. This makes it a good choice if you’re worried about crabgrass around your vegetable garden.
This is a post-emergent herbicide. This makes it a better choice if you already have visible crabgrass growing in your yard.
4. Ortho Weed B Gon Plus Crabgrass Control
The Ortho Weed B Gon Plus is made to specifically control crabgrass. However, the formula is also viable for use on over 200 common weeds such as dandelions as well.
The crabgrass killer also kills weeds down to the root. This helps to ensure that it serves as a long-term fix and the crabgrass doesn’t immediately come back.
It’s also designed so that it won’t harm your lawn when you use it. The manufacturer does warn that this is only guaranteed when the crabgrass killer is used as directed.
After you apply it, the weed killer dries in an hour. This makes it ready for rain very shortly after its initial application.
Since this is a ready-to-use formula, you don’t have to worry about diluting it yourself. Instead, all you have to do is spray it right where you need it with the nozzle.
5. Roundup Extended Control Weed and Grass Killer
The Roundup Extended Control Weed and Grass Killer is made to help you in the long-run. Not only does it kill the weeds but it also helps prevent new weeds from growing.
This effect lasts up to four months, so you don’t have to worry about spraying your crabgrass again for a while. It also helps that it kills current weeds down to the root.
You can use this spray on most areas in your lawn. From the edge of your lawn, the sidewalk, or even areas with decorative rock, you can cover it all.
This is also a quick-acting formula. It dries in 30 minutes to be rainproof and you can see results in as little as six hours.
The Roundup Extended Control Weed and Grass Killer comes in a bottle of 32 ounces. This makes it a great choice for covering larger areas.
6. PBI Gordon Ornamec Over-the-Top Grass Herbicide
The PBI Gordon Ornamec Over-the-Top Grass Herbicide is a post-emergent herbicide. This means that it’s best for crabgrass after it sprouts.
In all, it covers the control of more than 500 weeds and unwanted plants. It also selectively controls annual grasses you don’t want in your yard such as foxtail, crabgrass, and sandbur.
This is a selective herbicide as well. With this herbicide, you won’t have to sacrifice your healthy grass for a crabgrass-free yard.
As the name suggests, you can use this as an over-the-top application on ornamentals. It can even find use around young, newly emerging ornamentals alongside transplants safely.
If you live in a rainy climate, don’t worry! The formula dries in about an hour after you apply it.
You can also expect results in short order as well. The manufacturer promises that treated grasses stop growth in 48 hours and results are seen in one to three weeks.
7. RM43 Total Vegetation Control Weed Preventer
The RM43 Total Vegetation Control Weed Preventer is a great pre-germinate choice for crabgrass. You can even use it on bare ground to prevent any vegetation for up to a year.
That being said, this weed preventer is made for clearing all vegetation. So, before you use it, make sure this is an area you want completely bare for up to a year.
This makes it a good choice if you have somewhere that crabgrass and turfgrass aren’t wanted. For instance, on sidewalks or in driveways.
You can order this in a 0.25-gallon, 1-gallon, or 2.5-gallon bottle. This lets you cover as much area as you need with the right size for you.
The amount of weed killer for an area is marked clearly on each bottle as well. In example, a 0.25-gallon bottle is for an area of up to 4,324 feet.
8. Southern AG Amine Weed Killer
The Southern AG Amine Weed Killer is a selective weed killer. So, it will target the pests you want gone while leaving your lawn unharmed.
Specifically, it’s for broadleaf weed control. This means that it will tackle issues like crabgrass and other non-turf varieties.
The formula is meant to act economically which means it doesn’t require high amounts for large areas. You can use as little as one to four pints in a single acre.
You’ll need to dilute the liquid as well. For 1,000 square feet, the ratio of the product is two to three tablespoons for three to five gallons of water.
When you’re ready to apply it, all you have to do is use a low-pressure spray. It helps to ensure even and accurate coverage with a fan-shaped nozzle.
9. Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Plus Crabgrass Killer
If you’re concerned about crabgrass growth in your lawn, you don’t have to choose one or the other. The Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Plus Crabgrass Killer is a selective herbicide that saves lawns.
This formula attacks crabgrass at its root to kill it. You’ll see results soon too – the first signs will show up in as little as five hours.
Beyond crabgrass, this herbicide handles more than 250 common weeds. This includes dandelions, foxtail, clover, chickweed, and plenty more.
If you live in a rainy area or are expecting rain, this is a rainproof choice. Three hours after application, the herbicide will dry and won’t wash away underwater.
The manufacturer also made this formula to cover a large lawn. One bottle will cover an area of up to 5,000 square feet.
10. Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer
To stop crabgrass in its tracks, you want a herbicide that’s long-lasting. The Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer only needs one application to protect your lawn all season long.
If you apply this herbicide in the spring, it’s a great tool against crabgrass. In the winter, it works to help with plants such as henbit, poa annua, and chickweed.
Once it’s applied, it quickly becomes rainproof. This means that it isn’t going to run into a problem with rainy or freezing conditions.
This is also a pre-germinating option. As such, you can apply it before crabgrass is visibly growing in your yard to prevent upcoming germination.
This is a granular herbicide which comes in a 10-pound bag. This is enough to treat up to 5,000 square feet.
11. BioAdvanced Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate
The BioAdvanced Weed Killer for Lawns is a liquid concentrate. This means that you’ll need to dilute it before it’s ready to use.
Since this is a 32 oz. bottle, it will cover a treatment area of almost 16,000 square feet. It can even see use on lawns without damaging them.
As for the weeds it targets, crabgrass is one of many options. In all, the formula targets more than 200 broadleaf lawn weeds such as dandelions.
The manufacturer does warn that users shouldn’t apply this to variants of St. Augustine grass. This includes floratam, carpetgrass, or dichondra varieties.
After application, the herbicide isn’t vulnerable for very long. About an hour after application, the formula becomes rainproof and safe from washing away with water.
Best Crabgrass Killer Buying Guide
If you need to kill crabgrass, understanding that not all crabgrass killers are equally effective is crucial. Use these tips to find the best crabgrass killer that will keep your yard looking pristine.
Type of Crabgrass Killer
Different crabgrass killers have different purposes. There are two main types and you’ll use them depending on the state of your crabgrass.
If you’re noticing crabgrass in your lawn already, you’ll want a formula to match that. These formulas are meant to kill pre-germinated crabgrass down to the roots.
Alternatively, if crabgrass is a repetitive problem that you want to get ahead of, look for a pre-emergent killer. These are meant to prevent crabgrass from sprouting in the first place.
Selective Crabgrass Killer That Won’t Kill Grass
If you’re looking for a crabgrass killer, you’ll want a selective option. Specifically, you want the best crabgrass killer that won’t kill the grass.
When you have weeds like crabgrass around, the clear option to turn to is a type weed killer. However, a crabgrass killer has both pros and cons to it.
The pros are fairly obvious. The best spray for crabgrass is bound to get rid of your crabgrass.
On the other hand, if you make the wrong choice, you’ll end up with dead grass as well. You need to make sure that you choose a crabgrass killer that won’t damage your turfgrass.
If you’re only dealing with crabgrass, it’s a good idea to get something made for that specific purpose. A multi-killer is more likely to damage grass as well as pests.
If you need other pests like dandelions taken care of, a multi-killer isn’t completely out of the question. Yet, you should carefully consider what both the manufacturer and users say about what it does to healthy grass.
If you live in a climate where it rains frequently, you won’t want to reapply your crabgrass killer often. In these cases, it’s a good idea to look for something that won’t rinse off easily.
Oftentimes, this is something the manufacturer offers information about upfront. You can also look to user testimonials who live in rainy climates as well.
Liquid and Granular Formulas
When it comes to a crabgrass killer, there are two main options: liquid or granular formulas.
If you need a waterproof option like mentioned above, granular formulas are your best choice. Since they’re solid, they’re more likely to stay in place when it rains rather than to wash off.
Liquid formulas also have their merits, though. For one, they’re often easier to simply spray where you need them to go.
You’ll want to keep in mind that liquid formulas are more likely to need mixing or diluting before use. However, some formulas do come pre-mixed and ready to use.
The Area You Need Covering
The coverage area of your yard is also an important consideration. For one, you’ll want to buy a larger size if you need a larger amount of crabgrass covered.
Depending on the type of crabgrass killer you buy, the units of measurement will display differently. For granules, measurements are in pounds while liquids are measured in ounces.
If you’re using a pre-mixed solution, the measurements are likely displayed in the form of gallons. While still a liquid, there is often a higher volume thanks to other materials in the formula.
What Kills Crabgrass Not Grass?
A good weedkiller will target your weeds like crabgrass without killing your grass. How do you make sure to choose the right one, though?
One thing to consider is the distinction between a herbicide and a pesticide. Herbicides disrupt plant growth rather than depending solely on chemicals to kill the plants.
Most crabgrass killers are herbicides. Yet, there are different types of herbicides as you look around.
To make sure that your crabgrass is taken care of while your grass stays pristine, pay attention to labels.
To break down this concept in the simplest form, you’ll want to look for a selective herbicide.
Selective herbicides will take care of the weeds they are designed to kill. If you choose a non-selective option, it will likely kill any plant it comes into contact with.
What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Crabgrass?
The best way to get rid of crabgrass is to find the best formula for your needs. From there, it’s best to use the formula as is recommended.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re actually spraying crabgrass. Spraying other weeds or even plants might not work or might kill something you want to keep.
Crabgrass is a low-lying plant that grows out sideways – perpendicular to the ground. The leafy parts of the plant are spade-like with pointed tips.
Their distinctive design makes these weeds easy to spot. In turn, this makes them easy to target.
Remember, you’ll also want a weed killer that doesn’t kill your turfgrass. This is how you’ll make sure that your crabgrass is gone but your yard is still intact and beautiful.
You won’t see results as soon as you spray the weed killer, though. In fact, the length of time it takes to see results can vary depending on the product that you use.
For most products, you can expect results in about two weeks. Others can take up to around a month or five weeks.
So, how do you know that they’re working? Well, you can look for signs after only a few days.
First, look for violet spots on crabgrass near the stems. This is a good indication that the crabgrass killer is starting to work.
It’s absolutely crucial to remember that when you’re working with a crabgrass killer, you’re using something toxic. You’ll want to make sure that any small children or animals are inside so they don’t accidentally interfere.
When Should I Put a Crabgrass Killer On My Lawn?
First, it’s important to note that there are different types of grass that can grow in your lawn. This is generally broken up into four categories: annual, biennial, and perennial.
Perennial is the description for most turf. This is the grass that continues to grow in your yard constantly, no matter the season.
Weeds and even garden plants fall in other categories. Annual plants last a season and biennial plants have a two-year lifespan.
A good crabgrass killer won’t harm perennial lawns while killing annual crabgrass. When you apply it depends on when the crabgrass grows.
Generally, April and May are when lawns see the most crabgrass growth. Thus, this is the best time to spray your yard to protect it.
It’s also a good idea to spray your lawn before the ground gets too hot and optimizes weed growth.
With the information we’ve provided you with here, you’ll be able to find the best crabgrass killer for your needs.
Remember to pay attention to what your lawn needs and the specifics that the crabgrass killer you’re considering.
No matter what you’re needs are, our favorite products will help you get your lawn crabgrass-free and in top shape.