Is Crabgrass Bad for the Earth?

Maintaining a beautiful lawn is a way to take pride in where you live. It makes your home more beautiful and inviting, but not if your grass gets invaded by strange weeds. Crabgrass often tricks people into thinking that it’s a harmless part of your lawn when it isn’t. Read everything you need to know about crabgrass, if it’s bad for the earth and how you can solve an infestation.

What Is Crabgrass?

Just like other types of plants, weeds can prefer to grow in specific regions. Crabgrass thrives in warmer climates, although it can grow in the northern U.S. if the weather stays warm long enough. It’s a weed with long blades that sprout from a central root, making it easy to identify.

Regular grass spreads across your yard in a million tiny green blades. Crabgrass looks more like a blooming flower of grass or a bouquet of stems. Once you see one type of this weed, you’ll probably have many more around your property.

Where Does It Come From?

Imagine a cluster of crabgrass growing in your neighbor’s lawn. They might not think twice about letting it grow if they aren’t meticulous about their landscaping. When the crabgrass grows large enough, it can produce 700-1,500 tiny seeds that travel by wind when they’re ready to fly.

Wild animals can also unknowingly collect the seeds on their fur and deposit them in your yard while wandering around. Either way, the plant grows quickly once the seeds land on healthy soil.

Is Crabgrass Bad for the Earth?

Crabgrass has a bad reputation, but not because it’s bad for the earth. It’s just an invasive weed. The bad reputation comes from people who don’t like the clustered appearance. It’s also challenging to rip out of your lawn. The roots are dense and reach far into the soil, so you can’t rip it out with your hands while weeding the rest of your property.

Otherwise, it doesn’t harm surrounding vegetation. At worst, crabgrass will grow over most of your lawn, but the grass you originally planted will continue to grow.

What Are the Types of Crabgrass?

It may seem easy to identify a crabgrass infestation, but many people don’t know how to recognize the two types — hairy and smooth crabgrass.

The hairy variety forms grass clusters that have blades and seeds growing off of each stem. Smooth crabgrass looks like a bouquet of blades but doesn’t have jagged edges and pointed tips. You can end an infestation with the right approach, no matter which type of crabgrass appears on your lawn.

How Do You Get Rid of It?  

There are numerous ways to get rid of crabgrass infestations. Think about your landscaping preferences to sort through the following options and find the best one for your yard.

Spray an Herbicide Solution

The first choice for many homeowners is to get an herbicide and spray away. It works quickly and efficiently, but it may not be your preferred choice if you don’t want to use chemicals in your backyard.

Boil Some Water

The next option is to kill each weed with boiling water by pouring it slowly over them. The hot water cooks the plant’s cells so it dies almost immediately. The downside to this option is that it will likely kill the grass surrounding the weed too.

Grab a Shovel

You can also use a shovel to dig each cluster out of your yard. It will leave soil pockets behind when you finish, but it’s an immediate solution for anyone with a shovel. Just keep an eye on your yard for the following few weeks since each cluster may have already produced seeds that spread.

Use a Bucket

Plants can’t grow without sunlight, so a bucket could become your next landscaping tool. Place it over individual crabgrass clumps if they’re separate from each other. It’s a budget-friendly way to get one or two crabgrass clusters under control before they spread even more.

Make a Vinegar Spray

Vinegar is naturally acidic, so you can spray it on crabgrass to kill infestations. It won’t work immediately, so plan on creating a new landscaping routine until they’re gone. You’ll have to spray each cluster with vinegar until they’re drenched and repeat that every day.

The routine may last a few days or weeks, depending on the intensity of your weed problem. Check them every day and carefully remove the entire root system when the weed has decayed enough to loosen from the soil.

How Do You Prevent Crabgrass Growth?

There are a few tips you can use to prevent a crabgrass infestation. Start by setting your lawnmower to a specific height so your grass grows higher than usual. The height will catch seeds before they can reach the soil.

You might also add a weekly lawn inspection to your schedule. Crabgrass looks different than most grass types, so it’s easy to spot right away. Pull them out while they’re small to avoid having a significant weed problem.

Make Your Lawn Healthier Today

Is crabgrass bad for the earth? Not necessarily. It can be a pain to remove from your property, but it won’t harm your plants. Use these tips to stop any current weed problem and prevent it from returning.

Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.