Crabgrass is a problematic weed in lawns; dying crabgrass leave behind bare, patchy spots on the lawn, and if left untreated, these bare crabgrass spots will fill up with more crabgrass along with other weeds next autumn when the seeds sprout. This creates a vicious cycle that can be very frustrating.
To prevent crabgrass from damaging your lawn and without using harsh chemicals, work on growing out a thick and healthy lawn that is densely shaded to prevent the crabgrass seeds from germinating. Maintain healthy landscapes by dethatching the lawns regularly, mow the lawn to an appropriate height, and maintaining well-mulched vegetable and flower gardens will keep away crabgrass. Use organic mulches, and carefully remove crabgrass as soon as you spot them.
That said, it’s important to note that the numerous seeds of crabgrass often lurk in and on the soil where they can remain viable for even 3 years, germinating in moist whenever the temperature rises to above 55 degrees, and when the sun shines on the soil. And because crabgrass leaves bare spots behind in the lawn for more seeds to germinate in the spring, you can stop the weed’s germination by keeping the lawn thick and healthy.
Here is a breakdown of the most effective ways of getting rid of crabgrass without any chemicals
How To Get Rid Of Crabgrass Without Chemicals
|Controlling Crabgrass, Per Season|
|Spring||Soil temperature between 55-60 degrees will germinate the crabgrass seeds||Use natural herbicides (pre-emergent), baking soda, vinegar, or sugar|
|Mid-summer to fall||Warm weather encourages crabgrass to flower and produce seeds||Uproot or mow above
|Winter||Cold temperatures, crabgrass seeds dominant||Natural pre-emergent herbicide, vinegar, or yummy sugar|
Reduce seed distribution
One of the most effective ways of getting rid of crabgrass involves the reduction of the seeds’ distribution. Aggressive distribution of seeds will allow the crabgrass to grow and spread faster across a large area, hence complete domination of the lawn. So, if you are to eliminate crabgrass without using chemicals, reduce the distribution of the seeds of tuffgrass or any other type of grass you choose for your lawn. In other words, more desirable grass seeds to choke out crabgrass seeds.
Pulling out crabgrass
This is a rather obvious remedy, but just because pulling out crabgrass works doesn’t mean that you should do it haphazardly. As you hand-pull the patches of crabgrass from the lawn, you must put them in plastic bags then throw them out in the trashcan or landfills. This is a crucial thing to remember because it allows you to contain the crabgrass seeds, preventing their dispersion through the lawn. And if you are going 100% organic, preferring the use of compost and as much organic matter as possible, you should tie up the bags with crabgrass then leave them out in the sun for between 4 and 6 weeks. Doing this ensures that the crabgrass seeds are destroyed by heat and the remnants safe to be added to the compost heap.
Solarizing soil in your lawn
While solarizing the soil can be done in pretty much any session, it’s a lot more effective when done in the hotter months. Soil solarisation can be defined as one of the most environmentally-friendly methods of using the power of the sun as a way of controlling and deterring pests like weeds, insects, and bacteria present in the soil. It is effective in keeping crabgrass away.
To solarize the soil, you first need to mow the lawn to a short length, the water the mowed area generously to deeply saturate the soil and grass. Cover the saturated ground using a transparent plastic bag/ sheet that will let in the maximum possible amount of sunlight.
Seal the edges of the bag by burying the bag’s perimeters in the ground. Now, leave the plastic covering for a maximum of 6 weeks. During this time, the sun’s heat and humidity will kill the seeds and weeds. It is safe to remove the bag once the steam/ humidified air reduces. Be careful not to puncture the transparent sheet of paper.
Also, you should only re-seed the ground after solarizing.
Stop crabgrass from germinating.
You should consider getting rid of crabgrass by stopping the germination of the seeds. Since crabgrass is an aggressive weed that germinates quickly, especially when your lawn isn’t shaded densely, you can stop crabgrass from germinating by keeping your lawn thick and healthy. For this to happen, plant the lawn in the fall to have healthy grass, and make sure that you overseed the thin areas of the lawn. This is an effective strategy that prevents germination of crabgrass because in the colder months, when it’s freezing, crabgrass seedlings will die out. Your lawn growing out in the fall is also an effective strategy because crabgrass will be killed by frost in winter.
And if you have a thin lawn, consider spreading (fertilizing the lawn) corn gluten in the spring or even before the start of the rainy season. The corn gluten will inhibit the germination of the crabgrass seeds by breaking down the seeds rapidly, which leaves out nitrogen to feed the established, weed-free lawn/ tuff grass.
Water the yard infrequently.
You can keep crabgrass from germinating by irrigating the yard deeply but also infrequently. While turfgrass gets to bounce back fast from brief periods of drought, crabgrass can’t survive dry soil, which makes this one of the most effective ways of eliminating crabgrass. You may also like the deep but infrequent lawn watering because it will not cause long-term damage to the lawn.
Lawn above the recommended height range
You could also use the lawnmower as a way of ridding your lawn of crabgrass. Setting the height of the lawnmower above the recommended height range for specific types of grass might work well for you because crabgrass will have a tough time outgrowing the lawn tuff grass, eventually choking out the weed.
Use natural herbicides
If the crabgrass in your lawn is in large patches, and you are thinking of pulling them out, it might be a good idea to also use a natural herbicide to further get rid of the herbicide. Some of the best herbicides are formulated with citric acid and clove oil, which are powerful crabgrass killers.
A healthy, thick lawn is the most effective way of keeping crabgrass out of the lawn, but it isn’t the only remedy, with soil solarisation, crabgrass seed reduction, and suppression of germination being some of the things that will keep crabgrass out of your lawn.
What is crabgrass?
It is an annual weed that grows from seeds annually. It thrives in hot, dry weather and takes advantage of bare patches on the lawn.
Does burning kill crabgrass?
In case of extreme crabgrass spread across the lawn, you may have to burn this weed using a heat gun, a weed burner, or a blow torch. Since crabgrass doesn’t spread through the underground stolons and they cannot manufacture food when burned, this might be a great remedy for you.