How to Kill Crabgrass in Bermuda Grass: Ways That Are Safe & Efficient

You may be wondering how you can kill crabgrass without killing your Bermuda grass as well. The reality of the matter is that Bermuda grass has a naturally high tolerance to herbicides such as those used to kill crabgrass.

What kills lawn weed will also kill Bermuda grass if sprayed directly onto the Bermuda, but sparingly spraying around the Bermuda’s perimeter will not have much of an effect on the Bermuda grass at all.

It is also important to note that Bermuda grass and crabgrass are both cool-season grasses, so applying these herbicides in a timely manner is a benefit as well.

If crabgrass reaches full maturity before it dies from being sprayed with one of those crabgrass herbicides, Bermuda won’t be affected since crabgrass doesn’t reduce Bermuda’s sunlight exposure the way Bermuda might reduce crabgrass’ light exposure if Bermuda shades crabgrass.

Another thing to consider when comparing Bermuda grass and crabgrass is that Bermuda grass stays green year-round but turns brown after winter months, whereas crabgrass goes dormant in the winter months.

Common Bermuda grass weeds include crabgrass, goosegrass and annual bluegrass. The Bermuda grass weed cycle consists of seed germination in spring, root growth during summer and seed production in fall. Once bermudagrass has been infested with invasive weeds, control must take place throughout the entire Bermuda grass weed cycle or else re-infestation will occur in a multi-year cycle.

If you have Bermuda grass and are wondering how to kill crabgrass without making damage to Bermuda, then this article is for you. Keep reading to learn more about how to kill crabgrass in Bermuda grass.

How to Kill Crabgrass in Bermuda Grass
Crabgrass in Bermuda Grass

Just keep in mind that Bermuda grass has a high tolerance to herbicides used for killing crabgrass, so careful application of these solutions is key to avoiding Bermuda damage.

What Kills Crabgrass in Bermuda Grass?

The most effective ways when it comes to killing Crabgrass safely in Bermuda grass are Bermuda grass-safe weed killer sprays. The most common Bermuda grass types, such as Tifway or Tifgreen Bermuda grasses, look similar to zoysia grass.

How to Kill Crabgrass on the lawn
Crabgrass on the lawn

This makes it easy to tell the difference between Bermuda and Zoysia grasses though: Bermuda grass has a coarse texture with many fibers coming off each blade of grass.

Also, Bermuda is much thicker than zoysia — sometimes twice as thick! The soil should be moist but not soaked before you spray bermudagrass killers onto your lawn.

What Kills Crabgrass, Not Grass?

Spectracide Weed Killers for Lawns

Spectracide Weed Killers for Lawns is a weed killer that goes on brown, not green. Though Bermuda grass will still turn brown if you apply this directly to it, Bermuda’s roots and shoots will survive the treatment.

Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns can be bought at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and works for up to four months after application depending on rainfall.  

Bayer Advanced Season Long Crabgrass Control

Bayer Advanced Season Long Crabgrass Control can also be bought from your local home improvement stores for between $30-40 dollars as a ready-to-spray bottle as well as in concentrated refill packs so you can refill your own spray bottle. 

Scotts Halts Crabgrass and Grassy Weed Preventer

Scotts Halts is another Bermuda grass-safe crabgrass killer that can also be bought in either a ready-to-spray bottle or concentrate refill pack depending on the store you choose to shop at. This product, just like Bayer Advanced Season Long Crabgrass Control, works for up to four months after application so rain won’t wash it away too soon.

For more information about how to kill crabgrass using Bermuda grass-friendly methods, visit your local home improvement store and speak with one of their employees in the lawn care section. They should have great knowledge about Bermuda grass’ tolerance in regard to herbicides used for killing crabgrass.

Furthermore, they should have Bermuda grass-tolerant crabgrass killers on hand as well as Bermuda grass information pamphlets you can take home and read.

More generally speaking, Bermuda grass is a very hearty plant that does not need much water or sunlight to thrive. Bermuda will do just fine in full shade, partial shade, or full sun. Just keep in mind that Bermuda won’t be affected by normal doses of herbicides used for killing crabgrass but may show Bermuda damage if overapplied.

In the end, though, Bermuda must be treated with some sort of herbicide whether it’s Bermuda-safe or not since no one wants an entire lawn filled with crabgrass!

Will Bermuda Choke Out Crabgrass?

Even though Bermuda is a fast-growing lawn grass kind, it’s not likely to kill crabgrass. Crabgrass is an annual plant that germinates (emerges from the soil) in the spring, then dies during the summer months.

This means that bermudagrass would need to germinate before crabgrass and spread so rapidly as to smother and kill off other vegetation.

However, bermudagrass does not germinate until early June at the earliest and only under ideal conditions. Furthermore, bermudagrass is not known for rapid germination, nor is it effective at killing vegetation.

What is the Best Crabgrass Remover for Bermuda Grass?

When Bermuda lawn grass is grown with crabgrass it requires an extra amount of time, money and effort to maintain a Bermuda grass lawn free from crabgrass so having a crabgrass killer for Bermuda grass is an important factor in maintaining a healthy Bermuda lawn grass.

Effective products for eliminating crabgrass within Bermuda Grass include weed control sprays that contain Quinclorac. The herbicide can be used on Bermuda grass, however, it destroys crabgrass from the root. Make sure to water your lawn for at least 24 hours prior to the time you intend to spray the herbicide.

Next, pick a quiet day that has temperatures lower than 90 degrees (32) in order to apply the spray of the crabgrass. Spray the crabgrass well and don’t water the lawn for 24 to 48 hours following spraying. The weedkiller will wipe out the crabgrass in about 1-2 weeks, but won’t hurt the Bermuda grass.

This active ingredient targets growing crabgrass but doesn’t hurt Bermuda Grass when used as directed.

16 Simple Steps to Kill Crabgrass That Work Well for Bermuda Lawns

The best tool in your fight to eliminate crabgrass can be an herbicide that is pre-emergence (also known as the crabgrass preventer). Apply it in spring, before the crabgrass seeds grow. The herbicide is granular and works in forming a protective chemical layer near the soil’s surface. When the seeds begin to germinate they absorb the herbicide and then die.

If you’re suffering from a problematic crabgrass problem, a single application each season might not suffice. The crabgrass is likely to grow and then appear late in summer.

Pre-emergence herbicides can last for a period of 50 days or more after the application (check the label for details; longevity varies). When the chemical barrier is broken down and the inactive plants of crabgrass that are viable for a long time, can develop into seedlings. Even if you have successfully cleared all crabgrass on your land should your lawn come up with a property that has an active crabgrass plant? You can bet that thousands of seeds will fly into your lawn at the time your herbicide is ready to call to end the battle.

There is no need to apply herbicide over your entire backyard. Focus your efforts on places where crabgrass thrives including those around the edge of your driveways or paths for walking. These areas are likely to take in more heat which warms the soil, providing the ideal habitat for crabgrass.

Step 1. Wait For Your Second Spring Mowing

Let the growth of the lawn determine the ideal time for applying pre-emergence herbicide to get the crabgrass out of your lawn. Apply it immediately following your second mow in spring.

Step 2. Apply Pre-Emergence Herbicide

Apply crabgrass pre-emergence granules using a spreader, particularly on walks and driveways, as well as along the neighbor’s crabgrass-infested lawn.

Step 3. Use Fertilizer that has Crabgrass Preventer In It

  • Utilize a fertilizer with a crabgrass preventer included to cut down on time. These combo products are accessible in spring and cost around $20 for a 5,000-sq.-ft. bags at gardening centers.
  • The crabgrass preservative and fertilizer combination prior to the rainy season begins to mix the herbicide and fertilizer in the ground. The fertilizer can help to thicken the turf. A thicker turf helps remove crabgrass plants that are missed by herbicides.
  • It is important to make sure to apply it at the correct moment, which is between the third and second mows in the year and when the soil is at around fifty degrees F. Don’t apply the product too soon and microorganisms as well as natural processes that occur in soil breakdown the herbicide. When it’s time to apply it’s likely that the product’s effectiveness has diminished. If you apply too late, you’ve missed the initial stage of germination, when the herbicide is effective.

Step 4. Check the Key Ingredients in Crabgrass Preventers

  • Take a close look at the ingredient panel for prodiamine, dithiopyr or pendimethalin, to figure out how to eliminate crabgrass. This active ingredient, available by various brands, such for Dimension, Barricade and Scotts Halts can kill crabgrass in the majority of regions of the nation as well as in various types varieties of grass.
  • Contact your local extension office what are the most effective crabgrass killers for your region as well as turf types.
  • Don’t plant if you have treated your lawn with an early-emergent. Herbicides that can kill crabgrass be able to kill other desirable grasses like fescue, bluegrass, ryegrass, etc.
  • You can manage crabgrass in spring and seed in late summer or in early autumn, but be sure you keep the two chores at minimum eight weeks apart. There are several herbicides that are pre-emergent, like Tupersan which is compatible with seeds that are newly planted However, they’re expensive and difficult to locate.

Step 5. Recognize and Remove Crabgrass Early

  • Take out the crabgrass as quickly as you notice it. The young plants will leave tiny holes in your turf. This is something that popular grass varieties will rapidly fill.
  • Find lighter green grass blades that have thickened the Kentucky Blue once your lawn’s been growing for several months. If you think your lawn is enjoying an outstanding season, consider over it and realize that it could have young crabgrass.
  • Take care to pull out the small crabgrass shoots. The early stage of pulling is an extremely effective method to rid your garden of crabgrass. Young crabgrass plants ideal for pulling will have up to four sets of leaves, but they don’t have seeds that are splayed. However, if the perennial weeds are been pushing up three or more lines of foliage, look at it closely before you grab it.

Step 6. Look For Immature Crabgrass Seed Heads

  • Check your yard for thin, green seed heads that have not yet been shut and folded against the leaf edges of your plant.
  • Make sure you pull them out as well. The crabgrass that is growing in maturity has small and inexperienced seed heads. They are more difficult to get rid of However, it’s perfectly acceptable to remove them.

Step 7. Mature Crabgrass Seed Heads

  • Keep an eye on seeds that are spread like a fork. let them be. The mature crabgrass will have splayed seeds in a spherical pattern. If you don’t, you’ll scatter lots of seeds in that large hole that you’ve created by cutting off the mature plant. It’s like trying to grow new crabgrass! The pulling process will create a large gap in your lawn. It can also spread up to five thousand seeds for each plant.
  • Let the plant go to seed in the autumn. Then spray the area the following spring with granules for pre-emergence to prevent seeds from sprouting. By following good lawn care techniques You’ll soon see a lot of the crabgrass seeds that have fallen.

Step 8. Spray Stubborn Patches of Crabgrass

Spray the post-emergence herbicide on the crabgrass after it has begun to grow. Pulling is equally efficient, but if your roots are deeply buried in the lawn it might be difficult to remove them without pulling grass pieces, as well. It’s not worthwhile to spray a post-emergence herbicide on crabgrass that is already going to seed. It takes around 2 weeks to allow the herbicide to take effect and that’s about the time it takes for the plant to complete its seeding. If the plant has already gone to seed, it’s better off waiting until next spring to apply the pre-emergence products then.

Post-emergence herbicides are the most efficient in soil that is damp as well as the plant is not saline. Read the post-emergent crabgrass killer label for precise directions. It is typically applied using the aid of a hand pump sprayer. It’s recommended to apply it during the summer months in the absence of winds. If temperatures aren’t high enough and the product isn’t working, it may not work. If the crabgrass isn’t fresh, you’ll need to apply the post-emergent crabgrass killer within a couple of days (according to the instructions on the label) to destroy the plant.

After the post-emergence application(s) Make sure to keep watch over the area that was treated. In extremely dry conditions, you should water the area 2 days after application to help with absorption. If your grass in the vicinity of the area that was treated is turning brown, it’s likely that you were too heavy-handed. The affected area should be soaked in water to disperse the chemical and limit the possibility of further destruction. Also, keep a watch for any new growths of crabgrass. They’ll require another herbicide, or, if there aren’t many, you can simply take them off. It is important to cover these areas with seeds in the fall.

The crabgrass is in autumn. Don’t waste your money on a post-emergence herbicide in the fall, as a method for killing crabgrass, especially when temperatures are dropping. The herbicide won’t work and the plant will eventually end up dying anyway.

Step 9. Kill Immature Crabgrass Patches With Herbicide

  • Lightly mist the immature crabgrass using the post-emergence herbicide. Most of the crabgrass patches are too deep to pull, without pulling a lot of your favorite grass.

Step 10. Fight Crabgrass With a Healthy Lawn

  • You can fight crabgrass with the greatest effectiveness by shading it out using the lush healthy, lush lawn. A well-groomed lawn will provide an opaque canopy of grass blades that cover the seeds, ensuring they don’t grow. Use these best practices for maintaining your grass.
  • Make sure to water your lawn thoroughly each week in order to stimulate the grass’s roots to grow deeper and make the lawn stronger and more climate-tolerant. Avoid frequent, short irrigations. These “sips” will promote weak, shallow roots in your lawn.
  • Make sure your lawn is cut to an average of two up to 3 inches. If you cut it shorter than inches can reduce grass’s energy and allow weeds to grow. Make sure you maintain your lawn mower’s blades razor-sharp to avoid damaging the grass. Leave grass clippings on your lawn to act as a natural fertilizer.
  • Reduce compaction. The growth of weeds is enhanced in soil that is compacted. Compaction hinders grass roots from getting the air and circulation they require. If your lawn is susceptible to compaction, lease the space and run an Aerator over it each year, especially if the soil is primarily clay.
  • Beware of products for lawn care that state “quick green-up” on the label. They contain a lot of nitrogen which can weaken your lawn in time, and make it more prone to weeds. Choose a that has 50% of its nitrogen contained in a slow-release type. For the equivalent of a 1,000-sq.-ft. yard, you should use less than 3 lbs. of nitrogen per year.
  • Re-seed as required. The areas with a lot of other weeds or that are thin need to be planted (sometimes called “overseeded”) in the autumn when the weather is warm and the nights cool, and there is dew in the mornings.

Step 11. Apply a Double Dose of Herbicide to Crabgrass Hotspots

  • Stop the growth of crabgrass on areas such as driveways, sidewalks and curbs as well as on banks facing south by using the targeted double treatment whenever required. These areas take in plenty of heat in the summer, making them more prone to the growth of crabgrass.
  • After you’ve treated the entire lawn, come back to make another run, approximately 6-8 feet in width and along with hotspots (and be sure to remove it from hard surfaces afterward). This will stop crabgrass from establishing itself.

Step 12. If All Else Fails, Kill Everything and Start Over

  • Be honest with yourself when you realize that your lawn has only 30 to 40 percent of desirable grass remaining in an area, and the remainder is ruined by the crabgrass and other plants. If you’ve tried everything for killing crabgrass, but haven’t succeeded you’re ready to start again.
  • Start by eliminating all plants. If you are having a day with low winds put down a nonselective herbicide that is approved for use on lawns. Follow the directions on the label exactly. Based on the type of product, grass and weeds will go away and dry in the five to 14 days after application. After that, rebuilding your lawn is able to continue.

Step 13. Expose Bare Soil

  • Remove lawn patches with nonselective herbicides in the fall when more than half of the lawn is covered with weeds.
  • When you’re able to replant (check the label of the herbicide) make sure to soak the area thoroughly so that your new grass has its best chance to get off to the best beginning.
  • Examine the watering depth by putting a spade in the ground, then pulling it back to gain an in-depth view of the soil. When the ground is wet to an extent of 6-8 inches, then you’re in the right place.
  • Remove the dead vegetation and then thatch and bare the soil.

Step 14. Furrow the Dirt

  • Make use of a spade to seed patches of bare and turf-free areas that are up to 8 feet square. It’s efficient, but it could be slow and boring in areas that are bigger.
  • Clean up dead vegetation using the rake. Then, using spades, make 1/4-in.-deep furrows that are about 2 inches apart with an elongated shovel. This gives your seeds a greater chance to get a foothold in the soil.

Step 15. Seed

  • Send your grass seed out, and then flip the rake upside down and put the seeds in the furrows. The furrows will ensure that the seeds get good contact with the soil. they also provide a moisture-retention shelter too.
  • Keep the soil and seeds damp until the grass grows.
  • Baby your grass until it has had the first time it has been mowed.
  • Cut the grass after it’s 3 1/2- to 4 inches. high. Avoid applying crabgrass stopper to newly planted areas.

Step 16. Consider Chemical-Free Crabgrass Control Methods

Pre-emergent herbicides are an efficient and affordable method to manage crabgrass. If you prefer not to employ herbicides, attempt hand-weeding the individual crabgrass plants in the late spring before they grow too large. They will pull easily in soft soil after rain.

The corn gluten meal (CGM ), a byproduct of corn is a different method to manage broadleaf and other weeds, such as dandelions or clover. CGM releases proteins that reduces the growth of the weed’s seedling roots and protects lawn grasses. 

It can prevent crabgrass from spreading. CGM requires a high application rate (20 pounds. per 1,000 sq. feet.) This makes it extremely cumbersome to use as well as costly. It is priced at around $30 for 25 pounds. at garden centers.

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