How to Get Rid of Crabgrass in the Summer

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass in the Summer

Lush, green lawns are a summertime staple. We spread fall fertilizer and sprinkle lots of grass seeds in anticipation of thick and healthy turf. 

But some things that help our lawns look pristine can fall through the cracks—like the all-important pre-emergent herbicide.

If you didn’t apply pre-emergent in spring, your lawn can become overrun by crabgrass. While it is best to stop crabgrass before it sprouts, you can try to get rid of it in summer with these steps!

How to Kill Crabgrass in Summer (With and Without Chemicals)

What does crabgrass look like?  

Crabgrass is a course, clumpy weed that looks like yellow or green grass blades. Not only is it unattractive, but it’s also bad for your lawn’s health.

Why is crabgrass bad?

Crabgrass has a way of taking over turf and making it harder for healthy grass to grow. That’s because the weed outcompetes grass for limited nutrients.

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass Without Chemicals

Crabgrass dies on its own each year in fall. If you can wait it out, the weed will be gone by winter, and crabgrass won’t return if you apply a pre-emergent next spring.

Or you can pull out small crabgrass infestations by hand. Then, follow it up with healthy lawn care habits to lessen its chances of returning.

Here’s how: 

  1. Pull the crabgrass up—roots and all. If it’s difficult to remove, water the lawn to loosen the soil.

  2. Seed the lawn to fill bare areas. If you recently used a weed killer on your lawn, wait at least a month before reseeding.

  3. Deeply water your lawn one or two times per week.

  4. When mowing, keep the grass at about three inches tall. Then, leave grass clippings behind to add natural nutrients and shade for the soil.

  5. Next spring, apply a pre-emergent around the time your flowers and trees bloom.

Killing Crabgrass with a Post-Emergent

If crabgrass is taking over your lawn, a chemical treatment is likely the better option. It would take forever to hand pull all those weeds!

But, some states restrict this option to licensed professionals. Be sure to check local regulations and call in a local arborist, accordingly.

Keep in mind, too, that applying a post-emergent on your own can be tricky. Some herbicides can harm your grass if used incorrectly, and you must use a treatment made for the specific turf you have for best results. Plus, once crabgrass is bigger than a shoot or two , timing your post-emergent applications is difficult.

Want us to rid your yard of crabgrass? Click here for help!


  • The Tree Doctor July 23, 2018 >Hi David, You can try a spot application of Quinclorac herbicide to the weed only. If the area of crabgrass is large, you may want to consider reseeding or resodding in spring. Hopefully, this helps. Best of luck to you, David.
  • David Henderson July 20, 2018 >I've had some Bermuda grass sod laid in April and now we are in the hot time of the year and I can't put anything down to kill or control the crabgrass that's been coming up, so what do I need to do, just wait it out till fall time and then put down a post-emergent down? I try pulling some of it up by hand but it's just so hard and even after a good rain when the soil is real moist. Your advice would be apricated. Thanks
  • The Tree Doctor June 25, 2018 >Hi Joyce, There are spray-on, post-emergence crabgrass control options available at your local garden center, hardware, or big box store. Check with the staff there. They should be able to help you. You would also have the option of contacting a local lawn service to make the applications if desired. Here if you have any more questions, Joyce
  • Joyce Granville June 19, 2018 >Hello; I have bad crabgrass and due to the high temperatures where I live in Northern California, it's starting to grow again. I did not use a re-emergent on it in time in the spring. Is there anything I can do to slow it down without harming the grass? Thanks!
  • The Tree Doctor September 12, 2017 >Hi Stepney. We recommend using Tenacity weed control for your weeds. You can find this at most home improvement stores. To apply correctly, you can either apply Tenacity at the time you reseed, or reseed and then wait two mowing’s or four weeks after the seeds emerge and then apply the Tenacity. Hope this helps, Stepney.
  • Thomas Price September 3, 2017 >Great help
  • Stepney Ron September 3, 2017 >I want to kill fall weeds,but i also want to reseed. What should i do?
  • The Tree Doctor August 2, 2017 >Hi there Bob! We know how much of a nuisance crabgrass can be. Try using a product with the active ingredient fenoxaprop-p-ethyl, like Acclaim Extra Herbicide, to control crabgrass now. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully for best results. Your best bet to prevent crabgrass next year is by applying a pre-emergent. More info on spring control and the ideal treatment windows here: Here if you need anything else, Bob!
  • Bob Barrall July 31, 2017 >What can I use now in the summer to kill crab grass but not hurt my lawn grass. And how can I prevent crab grass next year? Thanks Bob
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