The Best Crabgrass Killers (Recommendations for 2023)

Crabgrass troubles? I’ve been there. To bid farewell to crabgrass once and for all, I found that the best way is to tackle it before it starts showing off its flowers and dropping seeds.

Not all weed killers are your lawn’s best friend though. Some can be a bit too enthusiastic, taking out not just the weeds but your precious grass too. To kick crabgrass to the curb permanently, you need the right weed killer and perfect timing.

Here’s the lowdown on the best crabgrass killers and preventers that I’ve personally put to the test over the years. Now, the products on my list aren’t just random picks. They are products and formulas I personally tested and trusted.

I included a handy buyer’s guide. It breaks down the chemicals and features, making your journey to a crabgrass-free lawn a breeze. Let’s dive in!

My Top Pick

BEST FOR COOL SEASON GRASSES
Tenacity Turf Herbicide - 8 ounces (Packaging may vary)
BEST FOR BERMUDA, ZOYSIA
BASF Drive XLR8 Crabgrass Herbicide (1/2 Gallon, 64 OZ.)
BEST FOR ST. AUGUSTINE & CENTIPEDE
Celcius WG Herbicide
Syngenta Tenacity Turf Herbicide
Drive XLR8 Herbicide
Celsius
  • Pre and post-emergent crabgrass killer.
  • Kills a lot of other tough grass weeds too
  • Destroys weeds to the root.
Be sure to also use a Surfactant and Blue Dye in the mix for best results.
  • Most effective selective crabgrass killer.
  • Rainproof within 24 hour
  • See results in 7 days.
Be sure to also use a Surfactant and Blue Dye in the mix for best results.
  • Kills crabgrass to the root
  • Kills dozens of other weeds as well.
  • Does not affect lawn grass.
Be sure to also use a Surfactant and Blue Dye in the mix for best results.
BEST FOR COOL SEASON GRASSES
Tenacity Turf Herbicide - 8 ounces (Packaging may vary)
Syngenta Tenacity Turf Herbicide
  • Pre and post-emergent crabgrass killer.
  • Kills a lot of other tough grass weeds too
  • Destroys weeds to the root.
Be sure to also use a Surfactant and Blue Dye in the mix for best results.
Check it Out
BEST FOR BERMUDA, ZOYSIA
BASF Drive XLR8 Crabgrass Herbicide (1/2 Gallon, 64 OZ.)
Drive XLR8 Herbicide
  • Most effective selective crabgrass killer.
  • Rainproof within 24 hour
  • See results in 7 days.
Be sure to also use a Surfactant and Blue Dye in the mix for best results.
Check it Out
BEST FOR ST. AUGUSTINE & CENTIPEDE
Celcius WG Herbicide
Celsius
  • Kills crabgrass to the root
  • Kills dozens of other weeds as well.
  • Does not affect lawn grass.
Be sure to also use a Surfactant and Blue Dye in the mix for best results.
Check it Out

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Affiliate Disclaimer: My content may contain links to products I use. As an Amazon Associate and participant in various other affiliate programs, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you from qualifying purchases.

10 Best Crabgrass Killers (Reviews)

1. Syngenta Tenacity Turf Herbicide + Surfactant + Lazer Blue Dye

2-IN1 PREVENTER + KILLER
FOR COOL-SEASON GRASSES SUCH AS:
Buffalograss, Centipedegrass, Fine & Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial ryegrass.

Tenacity, Surfactant, Lazer Blue Dye - The Ultimate Crabgrass Buster Bundle

In my opinion and testing, this is one of the most effective crabgrass killers and preventers when used together. Adding to this, it won’t kill grass in your lawn, so you can apply it before spring to prevent grass weeds from germinating, or even afterward in the summer to kill full-grown weeds.

This is the lowest price I have found to date (Don’t forget to add Surfactant and Lazer Blue or Green and any sprayer you like to the cart too, for best results 🙂

Why Tenacity?

  • 2 in 1 formula: pre-emergent and post-emergent
  • Kills crabgrass effectively but won’t kill lawn grass (For Bermuda, only use while dormant)
  • Effective on other tough turf weeds too.
  • A systemic herbicide that kills crabgrass to the root

Why use Surfactant with Tenacity?

Surfactant is basically a binder or glue which when mixed with tenacity will stick the herbicide to the grass leaves when applied. If not used, then Tenacity will soak into the soil and become less effective.

Why use Lazer Blue Dye with Tenacity & Surfactant?

This product just makes it easier to see what you have applied so you do add too much to certain areas. It’s optional but the low cost to add it is well worth it.

Formula to use to make 1 gallon of Tenacity (ready to use):

  • 1 teaspoon of Tenacity
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of Surfactant
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of Lazer (Blue or Green)

Directions:

Safety first. Use gloves, and goggles, and wear a long-sleeve shirt to avoid getting the Tenacity on your skin or eyes. I typically like to mix all 3 of these together in a smaller bottle first and then add to my 1-gallon sprayer and then fill the rest with water.

This is the lowest price I have found to date (Don’t forget to add Surfactant and Lazer Blue or Green and any sprayer you like to the cart too, for best results 🙂

Controls More than Just Crabgrass. Tenacity can kill:

  • Barnyardgrass,
  • Carpetweed,
  • Yellow Nutsedge,
  • Clover,
  • All types of crabgrass,
  • Dandelion,
  • Foxtail,
  • Chickweed,
  • Purslane,
  • Goosegrass,
  • Henbit,
  • Thistle,
  • Wild Carrot,
  • and many more.
Kill Weeds Crabgrass + 40 more & NOT your Grass with Tenacity - DIY

I always prefer buying a strong weed killer and keeping it in my store. Over the years, Syngenta’s solution to weeds has been one of the best liquid weed killers for many homeowners.

Tenacity turf herbicide can kill over 40 different types of broadleaf and grass weeds including some of the weeds shown above. Here’s how to maximize the effectiveness of tenacity.

Selective Weed Killer for Crabgrass

Tenacity Turf Herbicide is formulated using the active ingredient called Mesotrione 40%. Read more about mesotrione. It is a liquid crabgrass preventer and killer, so you can mix a small amount and kill single instances of grass weeds in your lawn if you don’t want to spray the entire yard for some reason.

Being a selective herbicide, Tenacity won’t kill grass that you planted, so you can apply it on your lawn without worrying. For Bermuda lawns, only apply while dormant.

tenacity killing crabgrass

Verdict – Rating 4.9/5

From my own reviews and tests, this herbicide is one of the best crabgrass killers when used with Surfactant and Lazer Dye, meaning it does great as a post-emergent application. It is also effective as a pre-emergent, although you may need to apply a slightly higher concentration to get the best results or repeat application if necessary.

This is the lowest price I have found to date (Don’t forget to add Surfactant and Lazer Blue or Green and any sprayer you like to the cart too, for best results 🙂


2. Select Source Quinclorac 75 DF Herbicide

POST-EMERGENT
BEST FOR WARM-SEASON GRASSES:
Bermuda, Zoysia, Buffalograss, Fine and Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass

For destroying tough grass weeds, Quinclorac is rated highly on just about every other online store. The active ingredient, Quinclorac together with methylated seed oil can produce excellent results in post-emergence crabgrass control.

  • A selective herbicide that won’t harm your lawn
  • Kills crabgrass to the root.
  • Just as effective as Drive XLR8 at a much cheaper price
  • Controls both broadleaf and grass weeds effectively.

List of weeds Quinclorac controls:

  • Crabgrass (smooth and large),
  • Foxtail,
  • Kikuyugrass,
  • Signal grass,
  • Broadleaf torpedo grass,
  • Barnyardgrass,
  • All types of clover,
  • Dandelion,
  • Dollarweed,
  • Wild violets,
  • Daisy
  • and more.

By the way, the DF in the name stands for Dry Formula, so you’ll mix it with water before spraying it on weeds.

PRO TIP

If you have centipede and St. Augustine lawns, do not use herbicides with quinclorac to control crabgrass and other weeds. While it is one of the best crabgrass killers, it can easily damage your lawn. If you want to use it on these types of turfgrasses, ensure you spot-treat and prepare to reseed.

Quinclorac 75DF Crabgrass Herbicide (Solutions Stores)

The not-so-good about quinclorac

The only issue I encountered with this herbicide is its strength. While it gets rid of crabgrass and a few other grass weeds in the lawn such as yellow foxtail and nutsedge, complete crabgrass removal required me to apply it twice. Did you know quinclorac is an organic salt?

Real review and comment

I had expected the same after one of our testers and reviewers wrote this when we sent him a sample to try on his weed-laden lawn:

Quinclorac is killing those weedy little suckers! The plantains are wilting and there are nice patches of clear dirt where clover had taken over. There are some spots where it looks like I didn’t even spray …But it’s possible I missed it or didn’t get enough chemical onto that area w my pump sprayer but you can definitely see it IS killing stuff (but not the good stuff).

So, I can confirm it works well on clover and plantain; however, I’m still not sure about the crabgrass. I haven’t seen enough of it die off yet to make an impression. We’ll see what happens after the 2nd application.”


3. Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer

CRABGRASS PREVENTER

Best crabgrass preventer and killer - Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer
  • Most effective crabgrass preventer.
  • Also prevents lawn moss in the fall.
  • Provides season-long broadleaf + grassy weeds control.
  • Can be applied in any weather (rain, snow, or freezing)
  • Really affordable compared to other top crabgrass preventers
  • It just works – stops grassy weeds effectively before germination
  • If seeding, please use the Scotts Turf Builder Starter as this product has pendimethalin and cannot be used when seeding

While many of the products I have selected are directed at weeding out multiple weeds on your lawn, the Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer is directed at preventing and killing crabgrass before germination. 

The product is completely weatherproof and will keep your lawn free from weeds for the entire season.

I used it on two sizes of lawns: a large lawn, and a small lawn. It worked really well for a small lawn and the results at controlling weeds on a larger lawn were satisfactory. I noticed very few – weeds had germinated.

That wasn’t a big deal, so it should be very effective for any type of lawn – smaller lawns or on your pavement when concentrated in a specific area.

While the product works effectively, Scotts tries to make sure you use their products all season long, such as their spreader.

Fortunately, Scotts Crabgrass and Grassy Weeds Preventer is really affordable and you should not have any problem when you apply many of the other Scotts products. I would definitely recommend this product for anyone who would like to prevent the growth of crabgrass.

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4. Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer

CRABGRASS POST-EMERGENT

Field King Professional backpack sprayer

The first product on our list is backed by a stellar reputation. The Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer comes in a massive one-gallon bottle and the simple spray cap allows you to easily apply it on different spots of larger areas.

With the composition of the chemicals, it will only focus on getting rid of weeds such as crabgrass in your lawn.

As per the manufacturer, Ortho Weed B Gon Crabgrass Control can kill up to 190 different weeds and help protect the rest of your lawn. It also works in wet weather conditions and it should be able to help you kill the weeds for up to 1 hour in rainy conditions.

Since it kills all the way from the top to the bottom, you only need to apply it to the top end of the weed.

The killing cycle is not that long and this means you will have to constantly apply the Ortho Weed B Gon Crabgrass Control if you have a lot of problems. It will certainly rid your lawn of all the crabgrass, and I did not notice it preventing the grass weed from growing back.

The best recommended time for you to use Ortho Weed B Gon Crabgrass Control herbicide is in the spring months.

Ortho WEED B GON After One Week - Does it Work???

The inexpensive herbicide comes in various sizes for you to use and the spray cap will make the application much easier.

I have tested and I know this is one of the top products to help you kill crabgrass. However, it is not the best idea for you to use it when you want to prevent crabgrass, for which it’s best to use a pre-emergent herbicide.

Pros:

  • Highly rated killer
  • Does not kill any other plants
  • Rainproof for up to 1 hour
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Does not prevent crabgrass from growing. It only works as a post-emergent herbicide.
Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer for Lawns Ready-To-Use2 with Comfort...
1,974 Reviews
Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer for Lawns Ready-To-Use2 with Comfort...
  • Lawn-friendly weed control
  • Won’t harm the lawn (when used as directed)
  • Kills weeds to the root

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5. Green Light 7462 Wipe-Out Crabgrass Killer

POST-EMERGENT

  • Kills the leaves as well as the roots
  • Kills over 250 weeds that are commonly found in lawns
  • It helps grass develop strong roots to compete with weeds
  • It is the best solution for spot-treating grass weeds

Green Light’s formula is one of the toughest control products for crabgrass and several other lawn weeds. It contains 2,4-d, dimethylamine salt, quinclorac, and dicamba, all of which are very effective ingredients for killing stubborn perennial grassy weeds.

When I tested this weed killer, I spot-treated the areas that had crabgrass and within 24 hours, most of the weed had turned yellow. This indicated that the herbicide was working.

Within 48 hours, the results were tremendous, and by the end of the week, all the crabgrass had been killed already.

The only downside to this is the application process. You don’t want to apply Green Light Crabgrass Killer on your good grass if you want to kill the weed without killing lawn grass.

Spot treatment usually works for small areas of infestation as opposed to large patches. If you have large patches, you’ll be forced to overseed your lawn soon or plant new sod to cover the damaged areas.

Pros:

  • Highly reputable brand
  • Prevent crabgrass for up to 4-months
  • Really affordable
  • Works immediately

Cons:

  • Rainproof in only 10-minutes

No products found.


6. QuinKill Max Crabgrass and Weed Killer

POST-EMERGENT

QuinKill Max Crabgrass and Weed Killer

The QuinKill Max Crabgrass and Weed Killer is a relatively new product in the market, but I definitely like the design of the bottle and some of its active ingredients.

With a very small measuring cup that has been included, you can easily find the ideal quantity. QuinKill Max Crabgrass and Weed Killer is highly concentrated and you will need to ensure that it is diluted with a little water.

One of these bottles will easily help you treat an area of around 20,000 square feet. This will be more than enough for most average lawns in homes.

Since QuinKill Max Crabgrass and Weed Killer is relatively new, you might not really trust it as of yet. However, I have found it to be effective for killing crabgrass and the results seem to be really fast.

In terms of price, it is one of the more affordable products on the market today. I definitely believe you will also have excellent results that could potentially help you take back control of your garden.

None of the ingredients will pose any real risk to your animals, but the product is not really waterproof in wet weather conditions.

Pros:

  • Really affordable
  • Covers a massive area for such a small bottle
  • Includes a measuring cup
  • For us, it worked really fast

Cons:

  • The brand is relatively new

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7. Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer

POST-EMERGENT

Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer

If you are still having trouble with choosing the right product, you should definitely choose something like the Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass killer.

It is not only designed to rid your lawn of crabgrass but will get rid of many other weeds as well. The manufacturer claims it can kill up to 200 different weeds.

It is a concentrated substance that you will need to mix with water. However, with the large 32-ounce bottle, you should be able to make a couple of gallons.

I had my own sprayer and this makes the application process much easier as well. It also won’t harm any of your plants and flowers as many people may think.

While it might kill most weeds with just one simple and effective application, the Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass killer does take a little longer to kill many of the crabgrass weeds.

As one of the cheapest crabgrass killers I have seen, you’ll find no harm in trying it out in spot-treating your lawn. It will certainly help you achieve the desired results you are looking for.

I personally used this at one stage but would have loved if the product had included a decent sprayer.

Pros:

  • Really affordable
  • Makes many gallons of the killer
  • Effectively kills crabgrass
  • Kills many other weeds as well

Cons:

  • It takes a little longer to clear out the crabgrass
Deal
All-In-1 Weed Killer
110 Reviews
All-In-1 Weed Killer
  • BioAdvanced 704140A Crabgrass and Weed Killer
  • All-in-1 weed killer for lawns selectively kills weeds in the lawn but won't harm the lawn itself.
  • Features a blend of proven weed killers designed to kill broadfleaf weeds such as dandelion, clover, chickweed, and grassy weeds such as crabgrass and nutgrass/nutsedge

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8. Bayer Advanced Ready-To-Spray All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer

POST-EMERGENT

Bayer Advanced Ready-To-Spray All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer

Next, we have another amazing product from Bayer. The Bayer Advanced All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer is designed for every type of lawn or weed that you might have.

It can kill up to 200 different types of weeds and grass, giving you great multi-functionality and value for your money.

The bottle is ready to use. Since it does not require you to mix the concentrated formula with any water, you can simply apply the product directly onto the grassy weeds.

This design also enables you to apply on smaller spots (spot-treating crabgrass) and avoid potentially putting your flowers at risk. It also helps to prevent the crabgrass from growing back for quite some time.

My only concern was the small 32-ounce bottle. If this was a liquid concentrate formula, it would have been much better. However, with the small bottle, you frequently need to refill the bottle.

The price seems a little steep and the product also needs to be used quite often. If you can buy the other Bayer products that are concentrated, you might find this product to be really beneficial when applying.

I would definitely recommend it for smaller yards that do not have such a massive problem with too many crabgrass weeds.

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Kills more than 200 different weeds
  • Does not harm any of your plants
  • The bottle can be reused

Cons:

  • Quite pricey
Deal
BioAdvanced 704115A Crabgrass Lawns with Weed Killer, 32 oz,...
282 Reviews
BioAdvanced 704115A Crabgrass Lawns with Weed Killer, 32 oz,...
  • CRABGRASS KILLER: Crabgrass Killer for Lawns kills crabgrass and other listed grass weeds -- to the root
  • EASY APPLICATION: The convenient sprayer connects to a garden hose and automatically dispenses the crabgrass killer
  • USE ON: Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass & Fescue lawns. Does not harm your lawn.

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-12-09


9. Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns And Crabgrass Killer

POST-EMERGENT

Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns And Crabgrass Killer

Spectracide is one of those multifunctional brands that have been known for designing products that will help deter any pests.

However, the Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns And Crabgrass Killer is the ideal combination of a weed preventer and pesticide. This product is small and handy and since it has been concentrated, it can make a lot of this potent poison.

However, I do not recommend using this close to any of your crops or foods that you want to eat.

This Spectracide Weed Killer also kills up to 200 different weeds to keep your yard looking great and ensure you do get the best possible results.

The only real downside that you need to keep in mind is that the product is restricted in certain states. It is really important to check the label and find out if you are actually allowed to use it.

Pros:

  • Really potent killer
  • Easy to apply with the spray head
  • Removes pests as well
  • Kills up to 200 different weeds
  • Really affordable

Cons:

  • Might be restricted in your state
Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns 32 Ounces, Ready to Use, Kills...
687 Reviews
Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns 32 Ounces, Ready to Use, Kills...
  • KILLS WEEDS, NOT THE LAWN: Won’t harm lawns when used as directed – kills more than 200 types of weeds as listed
  • CONTROLS MAJOR BROADLEAF WEEDS: Controls dandelion, chickweed and clover, and also kills poison ivy, poison oak, blackberry and kudzu (see product label for complete list)
  • KILLS THE ROOT: See results in hours

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10. Primesource Quinclorac 1.5L Select (Drive XLR8) Liquid Crabgrass Killer

STRONG POST-EMERGENT

Primesource Quinclorac 1.5L Select (Drive XLR8) Liquid Crabgrass Killer

Last but certainly not least, we have the Primesource Quinclorac 1.5L Select (Drive XLR8) Liquid Crabgrass Killer and this product also came highly recommended.

As with many of the others, it has also been concentrated, which means you will need to mix it with water before applying it to your lawn.

What I like is that some of the ingredients will allow you to rid your yard of any stubborn grassy weeds.

It can easily be applied with a decent sprayer, you can easily cover large areas of your lawn. The herbicide also remains rainproof for up to 2-hours, allowing you to use it in the rainy season as well. It is recommended that you apply the herbicide every 21-days.

As much as Quinclorac Liquid Herbicide is really effective at killing stubborn weeds, I got a little frustrated with the weeds growing back. Using this in conjunction with an effective weed preventer should work wonders for you.

As many of these larger bottles, they are generally affordable for the quantity that you will be receiving. I personally think this will be the ideal grassy weed killer for commercial grade jobs, ensuring that your garden is always weed-free.

I definitely recommend it for larger lawns and not near any of your edible crops to be on the safe side of things.

Pros:

  • Really affordable
  • Easy to mix and to use
  • Effectively kills most weeds
  • 2-hours rainproof

Cons:

  • Does not really prevent the crabgrass from growing back
Primesource Quinclorac 1.5L Select Liquid Crabgrass Killer (64...
651 Reviews
Primesource Quinclorac 1.5L Select Liquid Crabgrass Killer (64...
  • KEY FEATURE: Selective, post-emergent herbicide that can be safely applied to many types of turf to control a variety of broadleaf and grassy weeds
  • USE SITES: Residential Turfgrass & Non-Residential Turfgrass
  • EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Crabgrass (large & smooth), Foxtail (giant, green & yellow), Kikuyugrass, Signalgrass (broadleaf), Torpedograss, Bindweed (field), Clover (hop, red & white), Daisy (english), Dandelion, Dollarweed, Geranium (Carolina), Morningglory spp., Speedwell (common, slender & thymeleaf)

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Application Tips

A good crabgrass post-emergent will get rid of the weed, but don’t spray all over your lawn because it may also damage your good grass. 

Simply spot spray the areas with crabgrass. If you don’t have a good application sprayer, I have done some reviews on the Top 5 sprayers that you might like.

If you’re overseeding your lawn to fill in the bare spots, you can continue to spot-spray crabgrass with a crabgrass weed killer to give your new grass a chance to thrive.

In the spring use a pre-emergent to stop crabgrass from germinating.

Pre-emergent vs Post-emergent Herbicide for Crabgrass

crabgrass pre-emergent vs. post-emergent

Before you buy a weed killer for different types of weeds in your yard, it is important to decide whether it is the time to do a pre-emergent or a post-emergent application.

Pre-Emergent

Pre-emergent weed killers act before the seeds germinate. This means that you need to know the cycle of weeds in your lawn. For example, if you’re dealing with crabgrass invasion, a pre-emergent herbicide is best applied early enough in spring. I have written this detailed article on the best time to apply crabgrass pre-emergent.

Post-Emergent

Post-emergent, on the other hand, is a herbicide you apply when you already have weeds that have grown in your yard. Whether in the lawn or along the pave-ways, a good post-emergent crabgrass killer should be able to get rid of crabgrass if you apply it correctly.

Remember, even with the best crabgrass herbicide, timing is crucial. Also, make sure to check your type of grass before applying any herbicide to ensure that the herbicide you select won’t harm your lawn’s grass as well.

Natural Crabgrass Killer

Some people do not like using these herbicide chemicals. Other measures of controlling these weeds may include natural options. I’ve tried using baking soda and vinegar to kill crabgrass, and it worked well for small areas of crabgrass invasion. You can check out my article on how to kill crabgrass naturally.

Best Crabgrass Killers That Won’t Kill Grass

Apart from Tenacity (only in the conditions mentioned above), and selective herbicides (used reasonably), the aforementioned crabgrass killers work well to get rid of crabgrass and other grassy weeds but can also kill the surrounding grass they come in contact with especially when overused.

If you don’t want to risk damaging your grass, here are a few crabgrass killers that won’t harm your grass.

Hand Pulling

This is one of the most obvious solutions to killing crabgrass and not your grass. However, I should mention that it’s a daunting task that does take a while to complete depending on the extent of the weed invasion.

Hand pulling is best performed in the crabgrass development stage, which is also a good time to encourage healthy grass to grow.

For easy crabgrass removal using the hand-pulling technique, soak the crabgrass with water for roughly 30 minutes to moisten the soil.

Next, use a pitchfork or weeding tool to remove the crabgrass at its roots. Lastly, make sure you dispose of the crabgrass properly to prevent it from growing back.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water over crabgrass is a great way to eliminate the weeds and is an easier and quicker process compared to pulling weeds by hand.

However, the downside to using boiling water is that it will only kill the portion of the plant it comes in contact with, which doesn’t include crabgrass roots. It is most effective on young, newly emerged crabgrass weeds.

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is an all-natural method of killing crabgrass without harming turfgrass. But take note that vinegar will burn the grass blades but will not kill the grass permanently.

Simply spray vinegar on the crabgrass until its drenched and a repeat application may be needed depending on the results of the initial application.

Corn Gluten

Corn gluten was originally used as a supplement in hog feed but today is also used as a common organic alternative to synthetic chemical herbicides.

It works as a pre-emergent herbicide to control crabgrass and other lawn weeds and is high in protein content, making it an excellent natural, slow-release fertilizer for your lawn.


See also my article on how to kill weeds and not the grass.


Crabgrass Killer Buying Guide

crabgrass killer buyer guide

In most of my articles, I like to discuss some of the things you need to look at before you buy the product.

This will help you choose a different product if you don’t feel that any of these meet your requirements. Here are the most important things to keep in mind before buying a crabgrass killer for your lawn:

Does The Product Prevent or Kill?

It is really hard for you to find a product that will do both of these things. However, you should try and determine how often you are available to apply the product. If you are looking for something that will kill and prevent the crabgrass from growing back, you should keep in mind how expensive this endeavor can become.

Selective vs. Nonselective Crabgrass Killer

When trying to decide on the best crabgrass killer, it is important to pay attention to whether it is a selective or non-selective product.

To explain briefly, a selective crabgrass killer will kill weeds but will not kill valuable plants and grass.

These types of herbicides are generally used near fences, in building projects, and in driveways. Non-selective herbicides will kill any plants and vegetation they come in contact with. Selective herbicide work by targeting certain enzymes in the weed that aren’t found in grass.

Liquid vs. Granular Crabgrass Killer

Just like liquid and granular fertilizers, there are liquid and granular crabgrass killers to choose from. Liquid crabgrass killers are just that – they come in a liquid form and granular in a solid form.

Liquid crabgrass killers are first dissolved in water before spraying them with a garden hose, broadcast sprayer or similar tool.

Granular crabgrass killers are small pellets coated with herbicide. They are applied using broadcast spreaders or hand spreaders and don’t require any mixing before application. Both types of crabgrass weed killers can be very effective but liquid weed killers are a much much more versatile option because they can be applied when the weeds are wet or dry.

Warm vs. Cold Season Grass

The best crabgrass killers for cool-season grasses are quinclorac (Drive XLR8) or fenoxaprop-ethyl (Acclaim Extra), whereas Quinclorac (Drive XLR8, Quinclorac 75DF, others) are great for crabgrass control in warm-season grasses.

Area To Be Treated

If you have a sprawling lawn, you’re best bet is to use a liquid crabgrass killer. But if you have a small area to treat a granular or liquid crabgrass killer is an efficient option.

Will There Be Any Edible Plants Nearby?

Some of the manufacturers do enable you to choose a product that will not have any real influence on your edibles.

However, I like to play it safe and to keep these products away from them. If you need to find an herbal product that keeps the food organic, you should consider finding something else. However, these products are more directed at crabgrass. If it kills other weeds, that is a real bonus.

Additional Features

As I have just mentioned, many of these products will give you the ability to kill other weeds as well. However, you don’t need to always focus on this.

If you have a dandelion problem and a crabgrass problem, you should look for something that is versatile enough. Additionally, this versatility will be quite expensive, and you need to keep in mind as well.

Another excellent feature I always try to look for is if the product will be weatherproof. If your product can be rainproof for around 1-hour, this will make it effective to be used during that wet season as well. As we all know, the rain does fall quite heavily in the summer months in certain areas, making it harder to prevent these weeds from growing.

Is The Product Restricted?

If you are living in an open environment or a large state with large open spaces, you might find the products to be fairly common. However, these products might lead to allergies in sensitive people and this means they may have been banned in densely populated areas. Before you buy any product that kills crabgrass, you should check to see if it is not restricted in your specific area.

Brand

Last but certainly not least, it will be wise of you to keep the brand in mind as well. There are many knock-off brands on the market today and this will make it hard for you to find a good quality product. People like me have decided to crack down on many fake products and I rather show the more reliable products to help them build their brand and grow their company.


FAQs

What Kills Crabgrass Permanently?

If applied properly, glyphosate or another similar broad-spectrum herbicide will kill crabgrass permanently. However, don’t allow the spray to drift as the herbicide will also kill desirable turfgrasses.

What Is the Best Way to Kill Crabgrass?

Even though there are several ways to kill crabgrass permanently, the best way is with a chemical herbicide or crabgrass preventer. These solutions eliminate crabgrass down to their roots so the chances of reemergence are minimal.

When Should I Put Crabgrass Killer on My Lawn?

The best time to apply a crabgrass killer during late winter or during the early spring of the next year.
Application during these times will prevent any crabgrass seeds from sprouting at the next opportunity. Do not use any crabgrass chemical control products if you’re lawn is already plagued with crabgrass or you’ve just sod.

How Do You Apply a Crabgrass Killer?

Regardless of whether you’re applying liquid crabgrass killers or granular killers, make sure you apply the best crabgrass preventer uniformly across your lawn. If you have a newly-seeded lawn, wait until you cut the lawn a few times before applying a post-emergent crabgrass killer.

How Long Does It Take for Crabgrass Killer to Work?

The answer depends on whether you’re applying a granular or liquid weed killer spray. Liquid fertilizers work quicker than granular fertilizers but you can expect to see results roughly 2 weeks after herbicide application.

Is It Too Late to Put Down Crabgrass Killer?

It is best to treat crabgrass in early and mid-summer but post-emergent applications are not as effective in the late summer or fall even with the best crabgrass pre-emergent or weed killer for lawns.

Can You Apply Crabgrass Killer and Fertilizer at the Same Time?

You shouldn’t apply crabgrass killer and fertilizer at the same time. I recommend waiting for between 4 and 6 weeks after applying a crabgrass control product.


Final Thoughts

There are several ways to kill crabgrass including Tenacity or Spectracide weed stop for lawns and the best solution is one that you’re comfortable with using. If you have a few crabgrass weeds in your lawn, you can hand-pull them or apply a liquid crabgrass killer.


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21 thoughts on “The Best Crabgrass Killers (Recommendations for 2023)”

  1. Very interesting comments and I am impressed in the research you have done to cover a wide area for part time gardeners. I only question why you did not cover the use of 10 to 20% Vinegar solutions or Baking Soda which are available in some areas for couch/quack grass. I am reluctant to use Roundup because of the health side effects of this chemical except in unusual times when Poison Ivy is a threat.

      • Hi Alex, I have an established line that has different types of crab grass and weed grasses. I have used a pre-emergent for two years but I now need to kill the crabgrass and weed grasses that are in my lawn and then reseed. I’m not sure what I should use first to kill the grasses and then be able to reseed. Help! I have read lots of your articles and think you’re the one that could help me. I would appreciate any information. Thank you, I DB

  2. Why won’t it die ??

    What do you guys think … Is Q4Plus just not working for me? Do you think I’m not spraying it correctly? Or is this how crabgrass dies … slowly?

    It’s been 2 weeks since the first application so I can do another, but I’m wondering if it’s even worth it. Maybe I should switch products?

    • Thank you very much for this article. I wish I had read it prior to applying crab grass killer to my lawn. It’s been 1 week since I applied Ortho Weed be gone Weed Killer to my st Augustine and it did nothing for the crab grass and actually harmed my lawn. There are large sections of st Augustine turned yellow and not growing 🙁 I applied as recommended so not sure why this happened.
      Do you recommend using Green Light to spot treat the crab grass remaining? Any suggestions on how to help my lawn bounce back? Thank you for any suggestions.
      Heather

  3. Environmental conditions such as drought stress, heat stress, etc. can hinder herbicide efficacy in plants. Also, mature crabgrass that has already begun to develop seedheads will not show much effect from the treatment. Works better on young plants.

  4. I use blindside. Usually do two applications. I know a lot of people like tenacity. Both are “expensive” but i have gotten a lot of gallons out of my blindside, so I think the price is worth it.
    ALSO, crabgrass once it dies will be a big clump of death… it will take the entire summer/fall/early spring for it to decay and be gone. I tore a lot out with a rake and overseeded. I’m in Pennsylvania and have been fighting crabgrass for about 4 years with my house. Good luck

    • Good product. While it is expensive it is worth it for many. But ya, be sure to pull up the crabgrass a few days after spraying so you don’t have to deal with the brown mess that is coming.

  5. My brother invited me and has posted on here a few times in the past, and I’ve read some of the comments from his posts but I think I have a little different problem with my lawn.
    My soil is very very clay-like, and the grass is very patchy. It seems I have several types of grass (or some might be weeds I guess crabgrass and orchard grass) in my yard, and many spots that look dry and brown.
    I followed the scotts application since spring which had me put down turf builder halts crabgrass preventer with lawn food, grub ex, turf builder weed and feed, and lawn food. It doesn’t seem to be working that well so far based on its current state.

    Any suggestions on what to do either this year or next to help?

    • How does it look now in the Summer Michael? I would think if you put all that down in the right amounts that it should have taken off in the spring.

  6. I used AgraLawn Crabgrass killer applied after the rain and works great kill the crabgrass but my bermudagrass still live, and is organic and safe for persons and animals, I used different other products that you evaluated here but any of this works as this for CrabGrass.

    • How much bermuda grass do you have that you want to get rid of? What grass do you want to grow or take over?

  7. I have Bermuda grass. What is best to use for crabgrass that is already growing? Also how short should I keep the lawn? I would like it to stay green after mowing.

    • Hey Terry, thanks for commenting. I use Tenacity all the time for crabgrass. Works great. As for the length you need to look at where the green starts on your blades now. Don’t try to cut below where it starts. If you want to keep it shorter, try early in the season to keep it short so it grows more laterally and then you can maintain a short cut. But as a general rule, never cut more than 1/3rd of the blade to keep it healthy.

  8. I used the Ortho Weed B Gon with Crabgrass control as pictured. I applied on a 90 degree sunny day. There has been no rain. It’s 24 hours later and the crabgrass looks exactly the same. I covered it very well with the spray. Some nearby clover I sprayed has already turned brown and dried up. Is it possible this crab grass is resistant to Weed B Gon? Does the product take longer on crab grass. I’m surprised that there has been zero change in the appearance of the crabgrass.

    • Hey Mike, I sometimes have issues with the Ortho product. Crabgrass is pretty stubborn. I mainly like to use Tenacity https://www.crabgrasslawn.com/tenacity first as it usually does the trick, especially with the pesky ones. It costs a bit more than Ortho but it also goes a lot further.

  9. Thank You so much Alex for sharing your knowledge. Very Genuine! I have a Crabgrass
    / Barn grass in my newly seeded new lawn. I seeded the front yard last fall with no weed problems. I seeded the back yard this spring (2020) which is the problem area. We love the Micro Clover Lawn. I have been digging out mostly the Barn Grass and try to catch it before it grows back. After the grass & clover seem to be choking out the weeds. I was looking for a post emergent spray to assist until the lawn filled in some spots when I thankfully came across your article and feel a tiny bit more enlightened. I welcome any suggestions Alex but understand if you don’t respond back. Respectfully John L.

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