The Best Crabgrass Weed Killers That Won’t Kill Your Turfgrass

Crabgrass is the perennial nemesis of lawn enthusiasts everywhere. Its relentless growth and invasive nature can quickly turn a once-pristine lawn into a patchwork of greenery and frustration. Thankfully, in the battle against crabgrass, effective weed killers such as Quinclorac 75 DF, Fusilade II, Tenacity, and Prodiamine 65 WG can rid your turf of this persistent weed without harming your turfgrass.

In this article, we explore crabgrass weed killers, focusing on those that stand out for their efficacy and safety in turfgrass management. From post-emergent solutions to preventive measures, we'll explore a range of products designed to suit various lawn types and climates.

So, if you're ready to reclaim your lawn from the clutches of crabgrass and restore its former glory, read on. 

What Is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass (genus: Digitaria) is an annual grassy weed commonly found in lawns, gardens, and other turf areas throughout the United States and many other parts of the world. Known for its rapid growth and prolific seed production, crabgrass can quickly invade and overtake areas of turfgrass, disrupting the appearance and health of lawns.

The most common types of crabgrass are:

  • Large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis): Also known as hairy crabgrass, this species is one of the most widespread and troublesome types of crabgrass. It typically has flat, wide leaves with hairs along the edges and stems.
  • Smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum): Smooth crabgrass is another common species found in lawns and turf areas. It has smoother leaves and stems compared to large crabgrass and can form dense patches in lawns if left unchecked.
  • Southern crabgrass (Digitaria ciliaris): This species is commonly found in warmer regions and tends to be more heat-tolerant than other types of crabgrass. It has similar characteristics to large crabgrass but may have a finer texture.

Key Characteristics

Appearance: Crabgrass typically has spreading, low-growing stems that radiate outward from a central point, forming a circular or star-shaped growth pattern. Its leaves are broad and flat, with a distinct light-green coloration.

Lifecycle: Crabgrass is an annual plant that completes its life cycle within a single growing season. It germinates from seed in the spring when soil temperatures reach around 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 16 degrees Celsius) and thrives in warm, sunny conditions. By late summer or early fall, crabgrass plants produce seeds that can remain dormant in the soil until the following spring.

Reproduction: Crabgrass is a prolific seed producer, with each plant capable of producing thousands of seeds during its lifecycle. These seeds are dispersed by wind, water, animals, and human activity, contributing to the widespread distribution and persistence of crabgrass in turf areas.



Challenges Posed by Crabgrass

Competitive growth: Crabgrass competes with desirable turfgrass species for resources such as water, nutrients, and sunlight, often outcompeting them in weakened or sparse lawn areas.

Aesthetic impact: The presence of crabgrass can detract from the appearance of lawns, giving them a patchy, unkempt appearance and diminishing their overall aesthetic appeal.

Maintenance requirements: Controlling crabgrass can be challenging and often requires a combination of preventive measures, cultural practices, and chemical treatments to achieve effective long-term management.

Management Strategies

Preventive measures: Pre-emergent herbicides applied in early spring can help prevent crabgrass seeds from germinating and establishing in the lawn.

Cultural practices: Maintaining a healthy lawn through practices such as proper mowing, watering, fertilization, and overseeding can help create conditions less conducive to crabgrass growth.

Post-emergent herbicides: Selective herbicides can be applied to actively growing crabgrass to target and control existing infestations while minimizing harm to desirable turfgrass species.

Crabgrass is a common and persistent weed that poses challenges for homeowners and lawn care professionals. By understanding its characteristics and employing effective management strategies, it is possible to control crabgrass and maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn.

Related: The Best Four Products for Killing Weeds Without Killing Grass


Recommended Weed Killers for Crabgrass

1. Quinclorac 75 DF: The All-Season Grass Solution


Crabgrass, with its relentless invasion, can turn a lush green lawn into a battleground. But Quinclorac 75 DF is one of the best weed killers for getting rid of crabgrass without killing your grass.

Quinclorac 75 DF is a post-emergent weed killer formulated to tackle crabgrass in both warm and cold-season lawns, making it a versatile weapon in the war against weeds. For best results, we recommend using a surfactant with Quinclorac DF to help the herbicide stick to the crabgrass leaves. 

A Word of Caution

While Quinclorac 75 DF is a formidable opponent to crabgrass, it's essential to exercise caution when using this product. Certain turfgrass varieties, such as Bahiagrass, Centipede grass, and St. Augustine grass, are sensitive to Quinclorac and will suffer adverse effects if exposed. Therefore, it's crucial to identify your lawn type before application to avoid unintended damage.

Application Tips

To maximize the effectiveness of Quinclorac 75 DF, follow these application tips:

  • Apply when crabgrass is actively growing and add surfactant for optimal absorption.
  • This professional formulation should be applied from a battery-powered 4-gallon sprayer with a TeeJet foliar spray tip. This herbicide is not to be applied via a hose-end sprayer.
  • Avoid mowing for at least 48 hours before and after application to allow the herbicide to penetrate the crabgrass fully.
  • No need to water in after application as Quinclorac DF works via foliar uptake. Simply spray the weeds you're targeting and allow them to dry.
  • We don't recommend spraying your lawn with Quinclorac DF when temperatures exceed 85F, as temporary damage to your grass may occur.

With Quinclorac 75 DF in your arsenal, you can bid farewell to crabgrass and reclaim the beauty of your lawn year-round. Just remember to use it responsibly, and soon, your turf will flourish once more.

2. Fusilade II: Targeted Control for Fescue and Zoysia Grasses


While crabgrass may pose a significant threat to lawns, it's no match for this herbicide. Fusilade II is a potent post-emergent weed killer specifically tailored for Fescue and Zoysia grasses.

Fusilade II is renowned for its ability to selectively target grassy weeds, including crabgrass while leaving desirable turfgrass unharmed. This precision is particularly crucial for lawns dominated by grass varieties such as Zoysia and Fescue. Most weeds begin to yellow within 14 days of application and are dead by day 28.

With Fusilade II as your ally in the fight against crabgrass, you can take decisive action to reclaim your lawn and restore its natural beauty. By embracing targeted control solutions like Fusilade II, you can effectively combat crabgrass while preserving the integrity of their turfgrass.

3. Tenacity Herbicide: Versatile Protection for Cool Season Lawns


In the battle against crabgrass, adaptability is key. Enter Tenacity Herbicide, a versatile pre and post-emergent solution tailored for cool-season lawns. With its unique formulation and broad-spectrum efficacy, Tenacity Herbicide offers a powerful tool to combat crabgrass while safeguarding the health of the turf.

Tenacity Herbicide distinguishes itself with its active ingredient, Mesotrione 40%, which targets a wide range of grassy and broadleaf weeds, including crabgrass. Designed for use on cool-season grasses such as Fescues, Ryes, and Kentucky Bluegrass but is also okay to use on warm-season Centipede and Buffalograss — Tenacity Herbicide provides a comprehensive weed control solution.

Tenacity works by repressing photosynthesis as it is absorbed systemically through roots, leaves, and shoots. 

You can use this product when planting grass on existing lawns or starting from scratch. Within about three weeks of using it, the weeds should begin to die and turn white. Sometimes, the grass might turn white, too, but don't worry — it's temporary and should return to normal within a few weeks.

Grass Species Sensitivities

While Tenacity Herbicide offers broad-spectrum control, certain grass species may be sensitive to its effects. You should exercise caution and avoid using Tenacity on grass varieties such as Bentgrass, Kikuyugrass, Zoysia, Seashore Paspalum, or Bermudagrass, as it may result in unintended damage.

Application Tips for Optimal Results

To harness the full potential of Tenacity Herbicide, consider the following application tips:

  • Use a battery-powered 4-gallon sprayer with a TeeJet foliar spray tip. This herbicide is not to be applied via a hose-end sprayer.
  • Do not apply if temperatures are over 90F. If temperatures are that high, use in the evening when they dip below 90F and elect to spot spray instead of blanket spraying.
  • For best results, use a non-ionic surfactant with Tenacity. Non-ionic surfactants help the herbicide stick better to the weeds. 
  • There is no need to water in after application, as Tenacity works via foliar uptake. Simply spray the weeds you're targeting and allow them to dry.
  • Avoid mowing for at least 48 hours before and after application to allow the herbicide to penetrate the crabgrass fully.

With Tenacity Herbicide as your ally, you can take proactive steps to defend your lawn against crabgrass invasion while preserving the health and vitality of your turfgrass.

4. Prodiamine 65WG: Preventive Power in a Granule

When it comes to combating crabgrass, prevention is often the best strategy. Enter Prodiamine 65WG, a pre-emergent herbicide that offers you a proactive approach to weed control. With its water-dispersible granule formulation, Prodiamine 65WG provides long-lasting protection against crabgrass and other grassy weeds, ensuring a weed-free lawn from the ground up.

Prodiamine 65WG forms a protective barrier in the soil, preventing crabgrass seeds from germinating and establishing roots. This preventive action disrupts the lifecycle of crabgrass, effectively halting its growth before it becomes a nuisance. Unlike post-emergent herbicides that target existing weeds, Prodiamine 65WG offers preemptive control, giving you peace of mind and a head start in the battle against crabgrass.

Convenience in Application

One of the key advantages of Prodiamine 65WG is its ease of application. The water-dispersible granule formulation allows for convenient mixing with fertilizers and other lawn treatments in the tank, streamlining the application process and minimizing the need for additional equipment. Whether applied as a standalone treatment or integrated into a comprehensive lawn care regimen, Prodiamine 65WG offers you flexibility and convenience in weed control. It also has low solubility and volatility, staying in the weed germination zone.

Guidelines for Effective Use

To maximize the effectiveness of Prodiamine 65WG, consider the following guidelines for application:

  • Apply Prodiamine 65WG before crabgrass seeds germinate, typically in early spring, to establish a barrier against weed emergence.
  • WDG stands for Water Dispersible Granule, which means you mix the dry product into water and spray it as a liquid.
  • Water the lawn lightly after application to activate the herbicidal properties of Prodiamine 65WG and facilitate absorption into the soil.

With Prodiamine 65WG as part of your lawn care regime, you can take proactive steps to prevent crabgrass infestation and maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn year-round. By embracing preventive measures like Prodiamine 65WG, you can enjoy the beauty and resilience of your turfgrass without the intrusion of crabgrass and other grassy weeds.

Feed and Weed Fertilizers

Feed and weed fertilizers combine herbicides with fertilizers, allowing you to address both weed control and lawn nutrition in a single application. This convenience simplifies lawn care tasks and promotes overall lawn health while preventing crabgrass and other weed growth.

Dimension 0-0-7 Pre-Emergent with Fertilizer


Granular pre-emergent herbicides containing dithiopyr combined with fertilizers such as Dimension 0-0-7 are essential tools in the fight against invasive weeds and unwanted grasses in lawns. Renowned for their effectiveness, these products offer a dual benefit by preventing weed growth and providing essential nutrients to nourish your grass.

Dithiopyr-based herbicides are particularly effective at targeting common lawn invaders like spurge and crabgrass without harming your grass. Safe for use on both warm and cool-season grasses, these herbicides contain active ingredients that not only prevent the germination of weed seeds but also eradicate young crabgrass plants.

Ideal for application in both spring and fall, Dimension weed and feed offers flexibility in lawn care maintenance. If you've previously applied prodiamine in the spring, dithiopyr is an excellent alternative for continued weed control. This pre-emergent also has the ability to control young crabgrass that has already germinated.

To ensure optimal results, apply the herbicide to a dry lawn and water it into the turf within 48 hours with approximately a quarter inch of irrigation or rainfall.

Prodiamine .38% Pre-Emergent Herbicide with Fertilizer  0-0-7



The Prodiamine pre-emergent herbicide and fertilizer 0-0-7 blend is suitable for all grass types. Application is straightforward: Ensure the lawn is dry before spreading the granular Prodiamine pre-emergent, then water it into the turf within 48 hours, with approximately a quarter inch of irrigation or rainfall. This product stands out as an effective weed killer without harming your grass.

For optimal weed prevention, target crabgrass in the spring and Poa annua (Annual Bluegrass) in the fall. While this pre-emergent also controls or suppresses other weeds, its primary focus remains on these two types. Applying this weed and feed product is hassle-free with a broadcast spreader, offering convenience and ease of use.

Furthermore, the pre-emergent contains 7% potassium, contributing to the overall health and vigor of your lawn, making it an excellent choice for weed prevention and lawn nourishment.


Other Ways to Remove and Prevent Crabgrass

Ways to Remove and Prevent Crabgrass

In addition to the weed killers, there are several other methods you can try to get rid of or prevent crabgrass:

  1. Manual removal: For small infestations, manually pulling out crabgrass by hand or with a tool like a dandelion digger can be effective. Be sure to remove the entire root system to prevent regrowth.
  2. Lawn maintenance: Maintaining a healthy lawn can help prevent crabgrass from taking hold. Practices such as regular mowing, proper watering, and adequate fertilization promote the growth of dense, vigorous turfgrass, making it more difficult for crabgrass to establish itself.
  3. Overseeding Cool-season Lawns: Overseeding involves spreading grass seed over existing turf to fill in bare patches and thicken the lawn. A dense lawn can help choke out crabgrass and other weeds by depriving them of space and resources to grow.
  4. Mulching: Applying a layer of mulch to garden beds and bare soil areas can help suppress weed growth, including crabgrass. Mulch acts as a barrier, blocking sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating.
  5. Corn gluten meal: Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that inhibits weed seed germination. Applying corn gluten meal to the lawn in early spring before crabgrass seeds sprout can help prevent infestation. However, it's essential to follow application instructions carefully for optimal results.
  6. Proper lawn care practices: Implementing proper lawn care practices, such as aerating the soil, dethatching, and addressing soil compaction, can create an environment conducive to healthy turfgrass growth while discouraging weed establishment, including crabgrass.

Combining these methods with the weed killers highlighted above allows you to develop a comprehensive crabgrass control strategy tailored to their specific lawn care needs and preferences.


Related: How to Stop Invasive Grass Taking Over Your Lawn


Get Rid of Crabgrass in a Pinch

Crabgrass may be a persistent foe, but with the right tools and strategies at your disposal, victory is within reach. By incorporating the tips and techniques outlined in this article into your lawn care routine, you can take decisive action to combat crabgrass and enjoy the beauty and resilience of your turfgrass for years to come.

Ready to take back control of your lawn and say goodbye to crabgrass for good? Explore our range of effective weed killers and lawn care products today to start your journey towards a healthier, more vibrant lawn.