Best Crabgrass Killer [4 Unbiased Recommendations 2023]

best crabgrass killer

Crabgrass is a very tenacious grassy weed that can easily take over and destroy your lawn.

If you have found that crabgrass has infiltrated your precious garden, you need to buy a specialized crabgrass killer to help solve this issue.

The four products we recommend as the best crabgrass killer are Tenacity Herbicide, Drive XLR8 Herbicide, Preen Lawn’s Crabgrass Control, and Agralawn’s Crabgrass Killer.

There are so many weed killers on the market it can be hard to decide which one to go for, especially if you don’t want to kill your lawn at the same time. Never fear; we are here to help you figure out precisely what you need to rid your garden of crabgrass.

This article is going to explore what exactly crabgrass is and why you need to get rid of it. We will also recommend our top three products for handling this pesky plant.

Grow Your Yard Fact
Even though crabgrass is a hassle for home gardeners, it’s a hit with cows! This weed is a very nutrient-rich foraging crop that is good for cattle and welcome in fields and pastures.

What is Crabgrass?

Before we get into it, let’s look at the basics:

Family Poaceae
Genus Digitaria
Climate Tropical to cooler temperate regions
Occurrence Annual

Crabgrass is a common name for a genus of grass-like weeds. It is light green and grows in clumps with a star pattern at the very center. They can be divided into hairy crabgrass and smooth crabgrass, which look slightly different but behave similarly.

Their scientific name, Digitaria, comes from the Latin meaning ‘finger,’ which refers to the long stalks containing the seeds that grow from the grassy clumps. If you are trying to tell the difference between regular grass and crabgrass, look for these seed-laden stalks.

It is commonly found on unhealthy lawns and growing in the gaps in paving or sidewalks, proving that it is very hardy and can handle some light trampling.

The reason crabgrass can become such an issue for a lawn is that it can grow in inhospitable environments. If your lawn is underwatered and you forget to fertilize regularly, crabgrass is bound to pop up. It can tolerate drought and a lack of water with ease, which makes it challenging to get rid of.

However, with a little extra knowledge about this weed and some handy herbicides, you should be able to gain control over it.

Grow Your Yard Fact
Crabgrass doesn’t spread in the same way as some other grasses because it doesn’t have a rhizome. Instead, it grows from one central point and spreads out in a circular shape that can be up to 30cm in diameter.

Why Do You Need to Kill Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is a very tenacious weed that can easily take over and kill your lawn if it is left to grow. This is why it is essential to nip this issue in the bud as quickly as possible.

The tricky thing about crabgrass is how easily they spread their seeds. Each plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds in a season, which will lie dormant and germinate the following season. This is how crabgrass grows at such an alarming rate.

It doesn’t take over by creeping but instead popping up individual plants across the lawn that eventually take over.

Due to this, it is important to handle both fully emerged plants and the seeds that may have been spread into the soil to control the problem. If the seeds and the plants themselves are not dealt with, this will be a problem that you will have to handle every year, so it is important to get on top of the issue.

As with most weed control, one of the most significant factors in dealing with crabgrass is killing the weed without damaging your lawn. This is why you need to be careful what weed killer you use, but don’t worry; we are here to help you make that decision. There are a lot of targeted weed killers on the market, and we have sifted through them to find the best ones for you.

Grow Your Yard Fact
The seeds of this pesky weed are actually edible, which makes it popular with foragers. Once collected, the seeds can be made into porridge or fermented to make beer.

Best Crabgrass Killers

As you can see, crabgrass can be a real pain to deal with, but there are some great crabgrass killers on the market that can help you deal with this issue.

We first need to explain two terms to understand how these crabgrass killers work.

Pre-emergent herbicide– This killer prevents the weed from growing before it can germinate. It will also kill off any seeds that have been spread.

Post-emergent herbicide– These herbicides kill the seedlings or fully grown weeds once they have already popped out and become visible.


Ok, now that we know what we are looking for, these are our top 4 recommendations for crabgrass killers:

Best Crabgrass Pre Emergent: Tenacity Turf Herbicide

If you’ve been around here before, you probably know that we are big fans of the Tenacity Herbicide. It’s efficient, easy, and super effective; you really can’t go wrong.

This weed killer comes in a concentrate, which is diluted with water and sprayed across the entirety of the lawn. It is created to target the weeds and stop them from photosynthesizing, eventually killing them.

It is very economical and cost-effective because of how little you use with each application.

Tenacity Turf Herbicide is a pre and post-emergent product, which means it can be applied to existing plants and kill the seeds that have been distributed beneath their surface. This is a great way to ensure that the crabgrass doesn’t re-emerge the following year.

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for weed control that lasts, Tenacity is the choice for you.

  • Needs to be diluted
  • Requires a sprayer
  • May need to be repeated for stubborn weeds
Tenacity Herbicide
  • Tenacity is a systemic pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicide for the...
  • When applied as a pre-emergent, weeds absorb Tenacity during emergence from...
  • Target pests: Barnyardgrass, Carpetweed, Chickweed, Clover, Crabgrass...
  • Active Ingredient: Mesotrione 40%
  • Date printed on bottle is Manufacture Date, not expiration. Shelf Life: 5-8...

Seeing as Tenacity really is the best crabgrass preventer, we’ve completed a full review of it here.

Drive XLR8 Crabgrass Herbicide

Drive XLR8 herbicide is lauded as being the fastest way to get rid of crabgrass. If you need a solution as soon as possible, then this might be the right one to go for.

This water-based herbicide is diluted in water and then sprayed across the lawn using a sprayer. It controls a large number of weeds, as well as crabgrass and is one of the best crabgrass killer for lawns.

Drive XLR8 will control crabgrass growth for 30-45 days after application. However, it is only a post emergent crabgrass killer, so it will not stop the spreading of the seeds for the next season.

Although it doesn’t address the seed problem, we suggest using Drive XLR8 Herbicide Crabgrass killer if you have a really bad case that you need to fix as soon as possible. Once you have control of the situation, you can apply another herbicide in the early spring to prevent the seeds from germinating.

  • Pet safe once applied and dried
  • Fast acting
  • Needs to be diluted
  • Only a post-emergent herbicide
  • Requires a sprayer

Preen Lawn Crabgrass Control

If you prefer a granulated solution, then Preen Lawn’s Crabgrass Control might be for you.

This weed killer comes in a bag that can cover up to 5000 square ft, which can be spread using a rotary spreader or by hand. Applying it by hand will be more labor intensive, but it will save you money on applicators if you are on a tight budget.

This is both a pre and post emergent crabgrass killer that will prevent crabgrass growth for up to four months after application. If applied to pre-existing weeds, it can kill seedlings up to four weeks after germination if applied to pre-existing weeds.

Preen is also the cheapest option out of all four, especially if you look at the cost per square foot of coverage. If you are on a budget and don’t mind making extra effort to apply it, then Preen is a great choice.

For the best results, we recommend avoiding mowing for a few days after application and giving it a good water to let it sink into the soil.

  • Affordable
  • Kills up to 40 weeds, including crabgrass
  • No dilution needed
  • Harder to spread
  • Doesn’t require extra equipment
Preen Lawn Crabgrass Control
  • Don't choose between killing and preventing - Get Both!
  • Prevents crabgrass all season, even up to 4 weeks after new crabgrass...
  • Provides control or suppression of other listed weeds when applied prior to...
  • Can be applied later in the Spring to provide season-long weed control for...
  • Apply this product only to established lawns and ornamentals

Agralawn Crabgrass Killer

If you want an organic solution to your crabgrass issue, then we suggest the Agralawn Crabgrass Killer.

This product is a powder that comes in an easy-pour container. Since this is not a practical solution for large areas, we suggest using this crabgrass killer as a spot treatment rather than an all-over lawn preventative.

This is only a post-emergent product, so it will not deal with the seeds that have already been spread. These can be addressed by intensifying your lawn care, so your grass is strong enough to fight off this frustrating weed the following season.

This should be applied in the morning when the grass is wet with dew as it needs water to activate.

Conversely, you can water the area before application.

To apply, sprinkle over the crabgrass and watch the powder turn from white to yellow; this will indicate that the grass is wet enough. You should see results in three to five days.

To prevent it from washing away, we suggest checking the weather forecast before you apply it to ensure that rain will not interrupt your plans.

  • All natural
  • Pet safe
  • Good spot treatment
  • Labor intensive to spread
  • Only post-emergent crabgrass killer
Agralawn Crabgrass Killer
  • Safe to Use On: St. Augustine, Common Bermuda, Bahia and Centipede Grasses....
  • This product qualifies for exemption from EPA registration under the...
  • Does Not Harm St Augustine Grass
  • Post-Emergent

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I have so much crabgrass?

There are a few factors that could be causing crabgrass to flourish across your lawn:

  • Underwatering
  • Lack of fertilizer
  • Poor drainage

While the crabgrass killers we have recommended here are great for getting rid of the problem quickly if you want a long-term solution, you need to improve the overall health of your lawn. This can be done by setting up a complete watering schedule, assessing your drainage systems, making adjustments, and regularly applying fertilizer.

Healthy grass will easily take over crabgrass, so as long as your lawn is lush and healthy, crabgrass will be a thing of the past.

Should you pull out crabgrass?

Yes, we recommend pulling out crabgrass from the center if you spot it. This will stop it from spreading its seeds and exacerbating the problem in the seasons to come. We advise against adding them to your compost, as this will spread the seeds differently.

Unfortunately, crabgrass grows very low to the ground, so it escapes the mower very easily. This is why we must resort to hand pulling and herbicides to help contain the issue.

Combining herbicides with manual weed pulling and good lawn care is just the arsenal you need to ensure you never have to deal with crabgrass again.

What is the best fertilizer to kill crabgrass?

If you are using one of the crabgrass killers we have recommended, then we don’t recommend any specific fertilizer.

As we mentioned earlier, a well fertilized and well-watered lawn will stop crabgrass from growing, so as long as you are fertilizing your lawn appropriately, you should be in the clear.

Does preen kill crabgrass?

Preen is a weed preventer, so it will not kill existing crabgrass plants. However, it will help to prevent new crabgrass seeds from germinating and growing. For best results, be sure to apply Preen before crabgrass seedlings emerge in spring.


And there you have it, our three top picks for getting that pesky crabgrass out of your life!

All in all, our top pick is the Tenacity Herbicide. It may be a little more expensive as an initial investment, especially if you buy a sprayer, but you get a lot of bang for your buck once it is diluted. It is also the least strenuous to apply, making it the most accessible for any kind of gardener. If you want to kill crabgrass now and prevent it from spreading in the future, then you can’t go wrong with Tenacity.

We hope this has helped you solve your crabgrass issue once and for all, and your lawn grows lush and strong in no time.

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