Dallisgrass vs Crabgrass – Differences [With Pictures]

For most homeowners, nothing is more thrilling than getting a good lawn. Sometimes they go to the extent of mowing it frequently, applying fertilizers, watering occasionally or just aerating the yard during spring or fall.

It’s quite a daunting task to maintain a lawn, and if you have tried doing it, you may have encountered dallisgrass or crabgrass.

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How to tell the difference

Dallisgrass is a more tenacious weed than crabgrass because it can grow back from the root system each year.Crabgrass only springs forth from seeds each year.
Dallisgrass has a coarse texture and grows as a solid, circular clump.Crabgrass spreads up in a pattern similar to a star.
Dallisgrass grows rapidly under nitrogenous fertilizers.Thick lawns suppress the growth of crabgrass hence applying fertilizer to speed up the growth of other grasses is effective.
Dallisgrass produces short rhizomes – a continuously growing underground stem.It grows incessantly forming a thick mat of weed, clumped together with a lot of side branches.

Crabgrass identification

Crabgrass - Identification

Before buying an effective crabgrass killer herbicide, it is important to identify the weed positively. A common question that is always lingering in the minds of most homeowners is, “How does crabgrass look like?”

This is because the weed is so invasive and troublesome to eliminate that just the thought of it growing in your lawn is enough to send chills down your spine. All the more why you should be well aware of its presence when it starts sprouting.

Its identification is somewhat difficult because it is able to adapt to a variety of circumstances surrounding its growth.

While you may have seen the picture of crabgrass from either the internet or posters, crabgrass can take on a different appearance which is in no way similar to the norm. There are different types of crabgrass.

Here is a breakdown on how to identify crabgrass:

The seedling of crabgrass resembles a small corn plant. That is:

  • The leaf blades are about the size of a pencil and ¼ centimeters wide. This contrasts the usual thin blade of sprouting lawn grass or a common grassy weed.
  • The blades of crabgrass usually angle out from the stem and grow continuously as new blades appear.
  • As growth progresses, the seedlings develop side shoots which eventually grow as separate branches.

Unlike many weeds and grasses whose blades originate from a central point, the blades of crabgrass appear further apart. Eventually, the stems and branches get larger and fall to the ground where they start growing in a pattern reminiscent of stars.

The center of the grass is left exposed. This image is unique to the crabgrass and is what identifies it among other grasses.

Unless it is mowed, it grows incessantly forming a thick mat of weed, clumped together with a lot of side branches.

Depending on the variety of in your lawn and how frequently you apply fertilizers, crabgrass can take different colors and growth patterns.

When growth conditions are favorable, it may spring forth like other grasses and will escape your eyes until it gets older to the point of stretching out in a mat-like fashion.

See also my article comparing crabgrass vs Bermuda grass

Dallisgrass identification

this is what Dallisgras looks like

Dallisgrass is a perennial grass that produces seeds as it blooms. It can be identified by its characteristic seed head that usually escapes the mower reel. It also exhibits a bunch-type growth, has a coarse texture, and grows rapidly in a vertical fashion.

Unlike most bunch-type grasses of its kind, dallisgrass does produce short rhizomes – a continuously growing underground stem, which potentially increases the overall diameter of the plant.

dallisgrass identification

Besides sending forth lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals, rhizomes also store carbohydrates. This well-organized carbohydrate reserve makes the control of dallisgrass extremely difficult because it perpetuates incessant growth and proliferation.

Their ability to grow under the influence of carbohydrate stores has greatly antagonized the effectiveness of some powerful herbicide applications.

It germinates mainly in the spring and summer months but goes dormant in winter. It thrives more in either clay or sandy soil and grows quicker than any other grass type. Learn about the soil composition across the United States.

One other way to tell the two apart is via the coloring of the leaf blades. Dallisgrass will be a darker shade of green and a matte type look, where crabgrass is a lighter green and has a light shine to it.

Dallisgrass vs. Crabgrass Coloring

How To Control and Kill Dallisgrass

The fastest way to control both Dalllisgrass and Crabgrass may as well be the fastest way to kill your good lawn grass. Although most lawn grasses are able to withstand the chemical against crabgrass and dallisgrass, not all grasses are safe.

The most common chemical used to manage these weeds is the monosodium acid methane arsonate. Quite a variety of methane arsonate are available. You can find out more about ways to kill crabgrass in your lawn here.

Some of the products you can use for control of both Dallilsgrass and Crabgrass include:


This product is very effective, though it has been met with a lot of negative product reviews. This could be a case of user error. Nevertheless, it is a common chemical that sufficiently controls weeds, especially crabgrass. Learn more about Quinclorac herbicide.

Get it here

Tenacity turf herbicide

This is a powerful herbicide that should be used with care. It is very important that you read the instructions carefully because when used incorrectly, this product can kill other grasses in the lawn. Did you know that tenacity can be used as both a pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicide?

Get it here

Sulfonylurea herbicides – tribute total, revolver, celsius, monument

These are herbicides specifically for dallisgrass control. Tribute total is labeled for dallisgrass control while revolver. Celsius and monument suppress its growth.

Additional tips for Dallisgrass Control

Do not mow your lawn prior to applying chemicals because you want more leaves of the weeds to get soaked by the chemicals. Besides, do not water your lawn within 24 hours after spraying. When rainy weather is forecast, you need to wait and spray only after the rain is passed.

Besides using herbicides, you can dig up the weeds or call a professional to help you manage your lawn. Being that most weeds are able to withstand harsh conditions, maintain your lawn in conditions appropriate for your lawn grasses so that these weeds may not get a chance to proliferate.

You can do this by deep watering your lawn, repairing lawn damages to eliminate bare spots that encourage the growth of crabgrass, as well as feeding your lawn regularly with fertilizers to boost the thickness of your lawn.

Check out more lawn care tips and guides.


10 thoughts on “Dallisgrass vs Crabgrass – Differences [With Pictures]”

  1. What is your recommendation for getting rid of dallisgrass?? Is using Round up the only solution to this irritating weed? I was pulling up the weed—but now it’s taking over.
    The information on this site is great.

  2. Hi thank you so much for offering your help M y yard is infested with weeds Dallis grass crab grass even weeds that has no name. Please recommend something for me thank you


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