How to Get Rid of Crabgrass

lawnsavers how to kill crabgrass in yards

What’s in This Guide on Dealing With Crabgrass:

  1. What Does Crabgrass Look Like?
  2. How Does Crabgrass Spread?
  3. Looking for a Crabgrass Killer in Canada?
  4. How To Get Rid of Crabgrass: Removal & Prevention

🌱 What Does Crabgrass Look Like?

Crabgrass is an annual strain of wild grass (a new plant will grow from seed each year).  Seeds travel on the wind and are transported by animals. Once in the ground, the seeds lie dormant until conditions are right for germination.  Summers like 2020 had ideal conditions to create a bumper crop of crabgrass which can be hard to get rid of!

There are two varieties of crab grass commonly found in Ontario, Canada that lawn experts have to deal with. Large, or hairy crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) and small, or smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum). Both are recognizable by their broad, pointed leaves that grow from a common stem.

Crabgrass germinates when soil temperatures are above an average 12.8°C consistently. Typically in the Greater Toronto Area, we encounter most crabgrass growth from July through September. Because of the need of warmth, and the way the seed spreads by blowing along hard surfaces; crabgrass typically first appears along the edges of driveways and other paved areas.

🌱 How Does Crabgrass Spread?

Crabgrass seeds have been known to remain in soil for easily up to 15 years and normally blow down along the street resting near curbs and driveways until the seed has the right amount of soil contact, heat, and water.

🌱 Looking for a Crabgrass Killer in Canada?

There is not currently any effective, selective treatment for actively controlling growing crabgrass. Because it is a type of grass, it is difficult to develop a treatment product that would work well as a crabgrass killer but does not also affect desirable varieties.

However, there are several things that can be done to reduce the amount of crabgrass you get in the future.

As an “Annual” plant, crabgrass dies at the end of the year after frost, and a new plant grows from seed the next year. But before the crabgrass plant dies, each plant, depending on its size, can drop a  minimum of 150-125,000 seeds which can lie dormant for years. So getting rid of crabgrass is all about preventing as much seed from developing, and growing on the lawn as possible.

crabgrass weed control lawnsavers

Note the overlapping blades on the right. Crabgrass is known for growing in bare patches at the edge of a lawn.



How To Get Rid of Crabgrass: Removal & Prevention

Here are some tips from the grass experts at LawnSavers for preventing the spread of crabgrass:

  • Manually pull as much crabgrass as possible before seed heads develop and mature
  • Crabgrass growing on hard surfaces like interlock or between stones can be destroyed with horticultural vinegar
  • Mow frequently and bag all clippings to capture seeds. Raking prostrate crabgrass tillers before mowing to stand them up will improve results
  • Rake out dead plants along the edge of driveways early in spring to prepare for seeding with desirable grasses varieties
  • Thicken the lawn with Liquid Aeration and OverSeeding to reduce thin or bare areas to crowd out the crabgrass
  • Let the lawn grow to two and a half or three inches tall to shade the soil and reduce the amount of sunlight and warmth that reaches dormant crab grass seeds
  • Water deeply, at least once a week, to strengthen desired grass and minimize surface moisture that crabgrass seeds need to germinate
  • If you are not planning to seed the lawn, apply corn gluten meal in the spring.  It can help, but will not eliminate crabgrass development (it is a good fertilizer also)

Corn gluten meal can be used to create a barrier on the surface of the grass which helps to limit seed establishment. If you are considering this treatment, be aware of false claims that it will completely kill crabgrass, know its limitations and be patient. Corn gluten meal (in best case scenarios) can prevent up to 40% of crabgrass germination but will have the same effect on desirable grass seeds, and will take up to three years for protein levels to become established in the soil.

Why Choose Us To Help You Deal With Crabgrass in Your Yard?

Looking for assistance with crabgrass control? Wanting to get rid of crabgrass on your lawn?  Here is what David Lam had to say about our service on Google:

“Last season, I made the smart decision of having LawnSavers care for my yards. After spending the last couple of seasons caring for my own yards, I realized that I spent a lot more time and money compared to what LawnSavers provided me. Not only did I save money, my grass looked wonderful, had almost no crabgrass and noticed very few weeds. Also, the time I gained back was beneficial. Watering and mowing the lawn was all I had to do! I’m looking forward to my 2015 visits. Oh, I forgot to mention how friendly their staff is, both administrative and field crew. Great prices, great staff and lush green grass! You can’t go wrong!”

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Date: 2015-08-23

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  • Opening up – Let’s get outside together and Grow Healthy Lawns and Trees. updated: 04/27/22

    Hi Everyone, 

    LawnSavers persevered through the pandemic with the loyal partnership and support of our clients.  We are extremely grateful to our loyal customers. AND we are thrilled to learn we were the only lawn care company in the GTA awarded the first BEST OF THE BEST Award from

    We are fully open and alredy performing lawn and pest control services in all our GTA service areas.

    Please note with many people still working from home, our service is experiencing a higher demand and volume of calls.
    We know how much everyone hates being left on hold, so please feel free to  leave us a message,  or email and we will get back to you in less than 24 hours.  (you can also text us at 905-707-9994)

    Please be patient with us, we will get back to you as fast as we can and will do
    our very best to help you.

    You can also sign up for all services on our website by clicking here.

    2021 is now behind us.  Together with our customers, we embrace opening up as a community-minded local small family business and are extremely grateful to be able to survive and keep all of our loyal employees working hard with us through it all.

    2020-21 important turf and tree high (and low) lights:

      • Nine days of snow, ice and wintry weather in May 2020,
        2021 was the driest April, May, and June in 51 years See Actual GTA daily weather records by clicking here.
      • One of the hottest, driest summers on record in 2020 with long spells of grass-killing heat and drought. Read more here in our 2020 summary blog.
        2021 carried on this trend with only a few days of rain in July and August, with extreme dryness and heat.
      • A bumper crop of crabgrass that germinated in the perfect (rainless) storm. As expected, even more arrived this past summer in 2021!
      • Chinch Bug numbers in 2020 were record breaking and persisted through the dry heat they love, secretly killing lawns while dormant! We can help with Chinch bug damage  Expect even more this summer!
      • Fall of 2021 provided excellent conditions for lawn that were treated through the summer with our recovery amendments to bounce back and regain their vigour. (thanks for the positive feedback!)
    • We put together an easy to read lawn care service timeline that you can use to know when to expect us for each scheduled service in your package. 

    Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our employees and customers.  Safety, Integrity and doing the right thing are som of our most important Core Values.  We will continue to follow strict safety guidelines that ensure “low/no touch”.  We will not let our guard down on exercising our safety protocols!

    Thank you all for your understanding and extra patience during these challenging times. Our team works hard, so if you are met with our exceptional service from our technicians or office team members- please give them a thumbs up to make them smile or let me know through a quick email to

    We thank you for supporting our local, family-owned business of 32 years.
     genuinely appreciate you and promise that we will do our part to ensure our mutual safety.

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle Tobin
    Chief Environmental Officer