The 8 Best Crabgrass Killers

Updated February 14, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

8 Best Crabgrass Killers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Crabgrass can spread quickly and overtake your beautiful lawn within a short amount of time. This list contains the best pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides on the market today to help fight the battle against a host of pesky invaders and successfully restore your lush landscaping. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best crabgrass killer on Amazon.

8. Spectracide HG-96393

Spectracide HG-96393 is a great value at under $10 for knocking out broadleaf and grass weeds, including yellow nutsedge, dandelions and white clovers. This selective herbicide doesn't seem to be as strong as some other brands, though, and is better at spot treatments.
  • allows plants to thrive
  • can apply in a wide range of temps
  • restricted in new york and hawaii
Brand Spectracide
Model 96393
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Bayer Advanced All-in-One

Bayer Advanced All-in-One can bring back your garden's natural beauty as long as you have a little patience. It is best to apply when weeds are actively growing, but multiple treatments are most likely necessary for complete elimination.
  • pet safe when used as directed
  • works well with a dial-tank sprayer
  • not for use on bahia or carpet grass
Brand Bayer Advanced
Model 704140A
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max

Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max offers a cost-effective way to literally get to the root of the problem on over 225 strong-willed breeds. It's great for use when the problem is still small and is amazingly rain-proof within an hour of application.
  • available in two sizes
  • guaranteed to not harm the lawn
  • results take some time
Brand Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Espoma Organic Preventer

If harsh chemicals scare you, Espoma Organic Preventer is an ideal natural alternative. It not only does a great job of killing weeds, but nourishes your lawn with essential nutrients for healthy growth. Also, your kids can play safely on the lawn immediately after use.
  • granulated formula is easy to spread
  • made from corn gluten meal
  • designed for use twice a year
Brand Espoma
Model CGP25
Weight 25.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Bonafide Duraturf

If pesky crabgrass has taken over your yard, look to Bonafide Duraturf to help you gain back control. This tough product can be applied in the spring or from late summer through early fall on up to 5,000 square feet of land.
  • can use with multiple spreader types
  • easy to follow instructions
  • provides four months of control
Brand Bonide
Model pending
Weight 17 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Ornamec Over-The-Top

Ornamec Over-The-Top appears to be a bit on the expensive side, but a small amount of concentrate goes a long way. It is safe to use around most shrubs, trees and ground covers, though you should read the label carefully to ensure it won't damage your particular plants.
  • treats over 500 species
  • works best on young grass
  • helps to stop growth within 48 hours
Brand Southern Ag. Insecticid
Model 2217-728
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Tenacity Turf Herbicide

Tenacity Turf Herbicide does wonders to curb crabgrass and many other dicot and monocot species. Its proprietary ingredient, called mesotrione, makes it useful as both a pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicide. Once applied, you can see results within a couple of weeks.
  • safe on newly seeded turf
  • helps create a uniform look
  • effectively controls bentgrass
Brand Tenacity
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Drive XLR8

Drive XLR8 is a proprietary, water-based formula that offers unmatched post-emergent crabgrass control in residential and commercial areas. This 64oz. bottle can effectively treat an acre of infested land in the quickest, most efficient manner.
  • controls mature stage crabgrass
  • lasts up to 45 days
  • ideal for sports fields
Brand BASF
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Why Is Crabgrass Such A Problem?

Crabgrass. The name even sounds ugly. If you've ever had it in your lawn, then you know how quickly it can take over, and how hard it is to get rid of. But have you ever wondered why it's considered so bad, anyway?

Crabgrass is what's known as an opportunistic annual grass, and if that phrase conjures up images of sleazy salesmen looking to rip you off, it should. That's basically how crabgrass operates — it sees its opportunity and moves in with a vengeance, spreading like wildfire over any available terrain.

An important thing to know about this plant, however, is that it's not actually harmful. It won't crowd out your existing grass, and it's not considered a weed. So, if you're fine with how it looks, there's no reason to worry about it taking over.

People who are especially proud of their lawns will argue that it's extremely ugly, though, and that's hard to dispute. By the late summer, a yard overrun by crabgrass will look pretty ragged, especially if it's mixed in with more attractive species.

It will die off in the winter, but before it does so it will disperse seeds all over your lawn. In fact, a single crabgrass plant can produce 150,000 seeds each year. If my math is correct, that is a lot of seeds. This is why it's so important to be proactive about controlling crabgrass if you're not a fan of how it looks, because it can easily get out of hand.

Simple Ways To Supplement Your Crabgrass-Killing Efforts

While a dedicated crabgrass killer is a good way to keep the plant at bay, there are simple lawn maintenance techniques you can use to ensure that your herbicide is as effective as possible.

An easy way to keep it controlled is by simply letting your lawn grow a little longer than usual. If you allow your grass to grow to about four inches, it can help prevent sunlight from reaching the shorter crabgrass, choking it out. This is also why it's important to fill in any bare spots in your lawn, because an open spot of soil is like sending crabgrass an engraved invitation.

Also, whenever you do mow, leave the clippings on the lawn. This will simultaneously nourish the soil while helping to block light from reaching the crabgrass.

Keeping your lawn fertilized is another great way to prevent the pest from gaining a foothold. When your soil is well-nourished, it's better able to resist unwanted growth. Mixing fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring is a sound strategy for nipping the problem in the bud, so to speak. If you're trying to stay as organic as possible, corn gluten meal can help as well.

Consider changing the way you water as well. Turning the sprinklers on for a few minutes every day provides the crabgrass with more opportunities to germinate, which just means that it will spread faster. Consider watering for a longer period of time, but less often, such as 20 minutes twice a week. You want to give the water a chance to penetrate deep into the soil, giving grasses with stronger root systems a better ability to dig in.

How To Keep It Away Once It's Gone

Getting your lawn crabgrass-free is only half the battle — now you have to keep it that way. Luckily, most of the best strategies for preventing its reemergence are the same ones you used to eliminate it before, so this shouldn't require a drastic lifestyle change. There are a few small changes you'll have to make, however.

First off, you have to immediately remove any new crabgrass as soon as you see it. Pull it up by the roots, if possible. It's much easier to prevent it from taking hold then it is to remove it once it's taken over, so don't be lazy if you spy new growth.

After removing it, mulch the soil where it was growing. This helps prevent any seeds from germinating, so you don't have to worry about angry crabgrass children coming back for revenge. Again, this is about depriving the bad grass of light, so you're literally trying to bury it alive here.

Your timing is critical when doing any of this. You need to start your offensive in the early spring, after the temperatures have started clearing 55 degrees. This is when the plant will start germinating, and this is when you must show it who's boss. Apply fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide to any spots where it's been a problem before, and do your best to bring your bare spots to life.

Ultimately, the most powerful weapon against crabgrass is a healthy lawn. Letting your yard go is a great way to invite weeds and other pests, and crabgrass can quickly become the least of your problems. If your grass is lush and healthy, however, it's significantly harder for invasive species to gain a foothold.

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Last updated on February 14, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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