While the best way to kill crabgrass is with preemergent herbicides, the best way to control it is by having a healthy lawn. Here are some ways to promote lawn health, at the expense of crabgrass:
1) Fertilize (compost is fine) more heavily in autumn than spring. By autumn, frosts will have already killed any crabgrass.
2) Don’t let bare spots remain uncovered for long, else opportunistic crabgrass will take root. In the fall, fill in those bare spots by overseeding.
3) When irrigating the lawn, water more deeply and less frequently. Crabgrass is a notoriously shallow weed.
4) Mow “high”, leaving the lawn grass at a height of 2 1/2″-3″. This will allow the lawn grass to “protect its own turf” better, depriving crabgrass seeds of the light they need to germinate.
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