How to control and prevent crabgrass

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How to control and prevent crabgrass

What is crabgrass, and how to identify it?

If you have ever spent any time in your garden or mowed the grass in your yard here in Montreal or anywhere in Quebec for that matter, chances are you have had an unfavourable encounter with crabgrass. This vigorous weed can quickly take over your lawn and garden beds in no time if left unchecked.

Crabgrass can spread rapidly. To put it into perspective, just one plant can produce over 150,000 seeds! The first frost kills the plants, but the seeds remain dormant through the winter. These seeds can stick around for years, germinating in spring once the winter season is over, and moisture from the melting snow and spring rainfall reaches them. If left unattended, you will face an uncontrollable, widespread outbreak all over your property and have your beautiful lawn infested with these weeds.

What are the best ways to get rid of crabgrass?

First and foremost, the best preventative against crabgrass is a healthy lawn. Unwanted weeds like crabgrass can not thrive in a robust stand of grass here in Vaudreuil -Dorion, Montreal and surrounding areas in Quebec. Although having a shortcut lawn is often the preference of some homeowners, you really should consider and tolerate longer grass for the sake of your yard’s health. Crabgrass thrives on light and moisture, and when longer grass shades it, it merely chokes out the invasive weeds.

    • Mowing your lawn on a weekly basis is vital to keep your grass at a consistent length. We at Grovia Landscaping West Island highly recommended mowing heights between 3 and 3 1/2 inches high or roughly 7 1/2 centimetres high. Crabgrass requires plenty of light to germinate, so keeping your grass as thick and long as possible will create shade near the soil surface. Mowing your lawn too short will allow patches where crabgrass and other weeds can germinate.
    • Only one-third of the grass blade should be removed at a time when mowing. Removing more allows light to reach weeds and will damage your grass.
    • Fertilize your grass at least once a year, (we recommend four times) to ensure a durable, healthy lawn.
    • Sometimes the best method to handle crabgrass in the yard is to prevent it from growing in the first place. Take time to cultivate a healthy, full lawn. Since crabgrass is so attracted to bald spots, you can often keep it from sprouting by paying particular attention to the trouble areas of your yard.

Prevent Seed Spread.

Since crabgrass is so easily spread, you should always take measures to ensure that the seeds from your weed pulling efforts are contained. You should adequately bag and dispose of all your weeds immediately. Avoid putting weeds in any compost bins as this can lead to seed distribution issues.

 Mulch your Garden Beds.

Crabgrass is very vociferous, but it’s not that robust. When the conditions on your property are not favourable, crabgrass, in most circumstances, usually gives up.  The seeds do not germinate, and the weed dies out. Merely adding a two or 3-inch layer of mulch with a layer of weed barrier in your garden beds is very useful.


Using boiling water.

Pouring boiling water in certain areas affected by crabgrass could be useful; however, keep in mind that this method generally kills everything in the area. Not just crabgrass, but the plants or lawn in the area also. We recommend testing this method on a small area of your affected property first. This may be suitable for isolated infested areas of crabgrass on your lawn and areas like decorative rock gardens as well.

Using homemade remedies.

Some customers are completely against pesticides and chemicals with a simple reason, mostly concerned for children, pets and, of course, the environment. Although all pre-emergents containing pesticide 2,4-D are banned here in Quebec Canada, some over the counter solutions are still available at some of the big box stores and garden centres.

Most of the DIY remedies I found online were quite similar.  There was one in particular that we’ve tried on a small controlled area of a property we worked on in Vaudreuil-Dorion that seemed to work and has taken care of the problem thus far.

One gallon of white vinegar 

One cup of lemon juice 

One cup of iodized salt 

One tablespoon of dish soap

A garden sprayer

  • Please note,  this method did work in a small controlled area of crabgrass infesting a decorative rock garden in Vaudreuil-Dorion Quebec. However, Paysagement Grovia Landscaping does not endorse, suggest, nor guarantee this method for killing crabgrass. This was a special customer request that was approved and signed for by the customer before application, and the results worked for this specific case. We want to share the positive experience in this particular case and maybe help others out along the way who have similar problems involving crabgrass. We also made sure the conditions were favourable (sunny, 25 Celsius+ and dry) and monitored the results on our regular weekly schedule.

Professional lawn care treatments.

Contacting a certified professional is always your best bet. If you want to quickly and efficiently remove unwanted crabgrass, hire someone you can trust to do the best job.  Pricing in Quebec varies, but a typical treatment of 4 or so applications for a small property will cost around you 150$

Your Last resort

Completely Starting Over

This is the least desired method, mainly due to cost. If your crabgrass infestation has reached an uncontrollable level and has taken over more than half of your lawn and all of your weed-prevention and control methods have failed miserably,  you may have no other choice other than completely starting over,  ripping out & re-sodding your property.

If you have exhausted all other methods and are ready for a complete overhaul, you will either have to spray your entire lawn with an organic, legal Quebec approved herbicide.  The best time to install sod is early to late fall as the best results for freshly laid down sod is right before it goes dormant to ensure strong rooting in the spring with proper watering and care. It is also highly recommended to overseed fresh grass in the spring to provide the best possible results for a healthy, thick, lush green lawn as this is the best time for successful reseeding.  This is also an excellent time to properly maintain your lawn or hire a professional lawn care service provider near me to manage and take care of your investment as well as making sure that you are implementing all crabgrass prevention procedures from this point forward to avoid any more crabgrass infestation issues.

Our professionals at Paysagement Grovia Landscaping offer a variety of packages to suit all of your lawn care needs. Our business model is built on customer satisfaction, dedication and service. Our emission-free lawn care service is available in the West Island and all surrounding areas, including Ile Perrot, Vaudreuil-Dorion, NDIP, Point Des Cascades, Hudson, Baie Durfé, Beaconsfield, Senneville and many more.


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