Still Battling Crabgrass?
Sean Breckin, AOLCP

Still battling crabgrass? Want to get rid of it organically?


This warm season annual grass shows up in your lawn in two varieties – smooth crabgrass or hairy crabgrass. It thrives when turf is mowed too low, when turf stands are weak or thinning, when turf species are less competitive during summer (i.e. rye grass dominant lawn). It dominates surfaces next to sidewalks and driveways and on top of septic tanks where soil is shallow and poor.

Crabgrass species are highly adaptive and can reproduce at mowing heights as low as ½. Additionally, crabgrass proliferates when soils are low in calcium and pH and are highly compacted. A single plant can produce 150,000 seeds – which can lay dormant for 15-20 years. This makes crabgrass nearly impossible to eradicate. Fear not, there are still things you can do…

Practical Approach

In an All-Natural Organic turf care program, the best method of management is addressing the underlying soil conditions and utilizing appropriate cultural practices. Therefore, establish a consistent product application schedule. Product keeps fertility high and food sources available for soil biology. This is critical to maintaining a healthy soil ecosystem. Late summer aerations and overseeds are essential for relieving compaction and introducing more turf species diversity. Proper watering methods relieve compaction and encourage root depth, seed germination and turf stand resilience. See our 1-2-3-2-1 method for watering specifics. Higher summer mowing heights between 3 and 4 from May to July create a tall canopy that shades out unwanted weeds and creates a denser turf stand.

Proven Products

We say “It’s one thing to kill a weed, it’s another to get good grass to grow”—take a soil test and let us interpret the results. From your results, we give your program the specific products and application rates you need to address: pH, fertility, organic matter, Ca:Mg ratio, and CEC. We often encourage applying Charge-S3 with aerations and overseeds, as it gets essential organic matter directly into the root zone and supplies soil biology with an active food source. This converts nutrients for established turf and germinating seedlings.

Turf diversity helps with the success of any program, especially an All-Natural Organic program. If you have a high ryegrass population, look to overseed with a 70/20/10 or 80/10/10 TTTF/KB/RYE for your later summer overseed. Turf type tall fescue looks great throughout the summer and competes with unwanted weeds when other species are dormant. Visit our grass seed blog for more info on specific grass seed varieties.

Start your turf recovery plan now—reach out!